A Photoseries For Sunday

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.

2008 Nissan Teana interior

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.

2008 Nissan Teana interior

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.

2008 Nissan Teana interior

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?):

2003 Nissan Teana: source

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:

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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:

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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.

2008 Nissan Teana: that bootlid is BMW-inspired, no doubt.

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.

2008 Nissan Teana

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.

2008 Nissan Teana: a real rear quarterlight. Note the join in the brightwork.

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?

Slideshow credits 2008: Renault Laguna; Ford Mondeo; Opel Insignia; Mazda 6; Teana

Slideshow credits 2003: Ford Mondeo; Opel Vectra; Renault Laguna; Audi A4.

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

13 thoughts on “A Photoseries For Sunday”

  1. An interesting article, and a lovely interior for all the reasons you say. Two observations popped into my head. When I saw your first picture I too thought of Citroen C5 in the cabin / glass shapes that I saw. Secondly all of those interior shots show interiors in a fabulous range of different colours. How refreshing!

  2. As it’s early, when I saw the green studio car, I thought it WAS a Citroën C6. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen one of these on the street. Or if I have, it blended in akin to last nights curry…

  3. I’ve seen a good few grey imports of this car around but I’ve always known it as the Cefiro. Judging by the reg plate this car has been relatively recently imported. I never really looked closely at it before but will look closer next time I see one. I always thought of it as a nearly second gen GS300 that you might have gone for if you couldn’t quite stretch to the Lexus.

  4. At first glance, near enough the third generation Nissan Altima made and sold in the USA. Just checked and Wikipedia agrees. It’s a step below the Maxima.


    This car competed(s) against the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, and the latest sixth generation has just been introduced. It is fairly unremarkable and inexpensive, selling third behind the above-mentioned two in the US. All Canadian ones henceforth have AWD, except just FWD for the much more powerful top model with the Infiniti variable compression ratio 2.0t. Too torquey for the AWD gubbins.

    All cars in this segment have generous rear legroom.

  5. Door trims that get ever more complicated and voluminous are a result of side impact regulations and fixation with stars in NCAP crash tests. For good results you need a car interior with lateral gaps between door, seat frame and centre console as narrow as possible on both sides of the car as well door trim and centre console reaching up as far as possible to provide lateral support for passengers’ hips in case of a side impact. Small wonder modern car interiors feel cramped and complicated.

    The Mondeo B4Y/B5Y’s interior looked good (to my eyes this version of the Mondeo is by far the best looking inside and out, at least before the horrible facelift) as long as you didn’t look too closely and didn’t touch anything. Material quality was mostly iffy and the lack of attention to detail was shocking. They insisted on using the same centre console panel for cars with manual heaters and for fully automated climate control where the latter had the same circular cutouts housing rectangular buttons and displays which as a result looked horribly cheap. That’s something you wouldn’t have found in a contemporary Passat.

    1. Having sat in the 2000-2007 Mondeo, I can say I didn’t find anything unacceptable. The finer plastics were used where needed. Scuffable and non-contact areas got more robust plastics. Overall, I’d call it a very good balance of material, function and price.

    2. I am sorry, but a centre console arrangement looking like this is enough to prevent me from buying the car:

      It got much better after the otherwise horrible facelift.

  6. these were sold in Australia as the Maxima, this particular model
    with the wood veneer known as the ST-L J31. one of my brothers
    has one, circa 2005. I drove it when he bought it about seven years
    ago, and was much impressed. I’ve been driving 205 Pugs for the
    last eleven years, addicted to their size, interior amiability and
    driveability; so driving anything “big” and at all newish, with auto box,
    has no attraction. but I really enjoyed it, the cockpit, the view out, the
    controls, and put it down to the Renault influence…

  7. If you’ve found one that looks even vaguely acceptable, I’ve got a feeling you’ll love the Nissan. I worked on them for a while, and realized why they’re so unloved: they are set up 100% for comfort, not even vaguely for speed. Of course, it was often difficult to decide whether or not one had dents on its panels…

    Have you driven a last-model Fusion/Mondeo? The front and rear feel like they’re from different cars.

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