Now this is interesting: a futuristic interior which is exactly like how I imagine a modern Lancia should really look. Or perhaps it could be a Citroën.
This car is almost perfect. Get a load of these statistics: 4.7 metres long, a 3.5 litre V6 and a 70 litre fuel tank. It weighs in at 1290 kg too. That is rather excellent, no? All you need to do now before finding out the car’s identity is to see the astonishing leg-room in the rear. So please just study this photo below.
I just can’t see anything wrong with this 2003 Nissan Teana interior. The door is simple in a good way. I suspect they were making a point of having a very flat panel and a bolt-on armrest. Today there are more forms on a rear passenger door skin than in all of a 1990 Ford Fiesta. That’s too much aesthetics – it’s numbing. This Teana has enough styling on that door for one to take it in and to realise it has been styled – a bit, enough, not too much.
We are looking at a 2003-2008 Nissan Teana which in some markets could be found with a Cefiro nameplate. Nissan saw this as a near-luxury upper mid-sized car. The giveaways are the well-done wood veneers, the leather and the availability of a V6. Autoevolution presents a short history of car here: “Powering the Teana was either a 2.0-liter, or a 2.3-liter four cylinder belonging to the QR family or the 3.5-liter VQ35 V6.”
You can look at that nice site before wandering down the warren of nameplate changes and swaps at your own risk. Having skimmed that I can only report a kaleidoscopic mess of Maximas and Cefiras and Teanas in different markets. I really don’t want to sort that out so much as to say this car, here, is a Nissan Teana, as exported grey to grey Ireland, where I saw it. It may also be known by other names in other parts of the world.
Speaking of grey, the car’s colour and the wierdly unhelpful Irish light yielded a not very good photo of the car’s exterior. A more flattering studio shot looks like this (is there some Citroën there too?):
Now, if we clamber from the back and struggle between the two-front seats we can return to the front end of the car interior and resume discussing the car’s Innenraum. Notice the zig-zag of the gear selector and a few holes for the gear positions. Not much else. It takes courage to draw something like that because it makes for a boring sketch. Only a full-size rendering can really capture the appeal of the simplicity, carried by the good craftsmanship (which this vehicle has).
I have selected this set of contemporary car interiors for unfavourable comparison (and included the Teana). The first four may have looked good as drawings. Alas, they are verging on the nauseating as realised forms:
Guess which one I like best. But my fave is pretty much as complex and as over-stuffed as all the others, truth be told.
Now, I can hear readers saying, those interiors are from 2008 and the Teana first appeared in 2003. The Teana’s designers most probably finished drawing in 2000. That’s true though it doesn’t undermine my claim that by 2008 car interiors had got too busy and this is a 2008 car, though it might be on the run-out.
To be fair to the others then, let’s dial the clock back and see what was actually on sale in 2003:
That’s what the 2003 Teana might have competed against. It seems the A4 led the way in terms of having as many extra bits of trim as possible. The others are sane, cool and appropriate.
Am I alone in fancying the Opel’s warm ambience? Probably. The Ford and Opel seem to be out of the same package (I haven’t shown their inspiration, the 1997 Passat though).
If the difference between the Teana and the other 2003 cars is not as great as with 2008, the difference is still clear. Nissan allowed their team to do something rather daring and it epitomises a good, effective and appealing Modernist interior.
The exterior of the car deserves some praise. If there is a touch of BMW 7-series about the boot one must note that the similarly-handled E65 came out only in 2001, giving Nissan about ninety three minutes to copy it and build it so as to launch it in 2003. The front lacks finesse. Not bad yet almost coarse.
Could this car have been a proper Euro-market car? Granted the Teana has an odd name so the badges needed to be re-done. New brochures had to be printed too to make the brochures consistent with the badges. Not much more though. Was the business case for this car so horrible it could not have replaced the QX/Maxima? It might even have been a better bet than the Primera (P12) which ran from 2001 to 2007.
The trouble there is that the Primera is also a nicely expressed Modern car, especially the interior. It would be unfair to swap that for this. No, the Teana would probably have been a nice, niche player in the C-D class, an alternative for people not considering Peugeot 607s, Honda Legends, Lancia Thesis Renault VelSatises and Citroën C6s to also consider not buying.
I can only suggest that a group test of those cars would be a super idea for a print-magazine to plan and carry out. As they won’t we will have to guess which car would come out tops. Can we? Does the DTW readership have any opionions about a multi-way mudfight between Nissan, Honda, Renault, Lancia, Peugeot and Citroën?
It’s dawned on me that I have compared this car to vehicles from the Mondeo class and also the class above. It’s an in-betweeny car. that’s why. The test would then hinge on the engines. If we did a 4-cylinder test, we’d have to match the Teana against upper-spec four-pot Mondeos et al. If we use the V6 Teana we’d have to match it against the D-class cars. Where would it fare best? Do you plural even like this car as much as I do?