The Nissan Serena is a five-door minivan manufactured by Nissan Motor Company, joining the slightly larger Nissan Vanette. The car was engineered by Nissan's Aichi Manufacturing Division and launched in 1991 as compact passenger van, and it grew larger with each generation over the years. Earlier versions were front engine, rear-wheel drive layout with a live axle mounted on leaf springs.
Later versions had a multilink independent rear suspension, and were front-wheel drive or 4WD. The most popular version was the 2.3 diesel engine version and it was unusual in that it had eight seats instead of the expected seven.
It is a "junior" model to the Nissan Elgrand in Japan; it name is from the Latin word "serēnus", meaning "clear, tranquil, pleasant" and offers a minivan approach in comparison to the Nissan Lafesta which is an MPV.
Models were manufactured in Japan from 1991 onwards, and many were imported into Australasia and the United Kingdom. Nissan produced many different trim levels - FX, SX etc. Full-Auto (full-time) 4WD versions were also produced providing greater stability and better handling. The naturally aspirated 2.3 diesel was never manufactured for the Japanese market and its seating arrangement and interior fittings are not the same as the 2.0 petrol (SR20DE), 2.0 Diesel CD20 and Turbo Diesel CD20T models manufactured in Japan for the local market. It was exclusive to Japanese Nissan dealerships called Nissan Bluebird Store.
Throughout its production the C23 model underwent several facelifts although the interior design and body largely remained unchanged, for example, addition of air bags and bench seats for the second and third rows. Each facelift model can be identified by front grill design which was updated in 1994 and 1997.
In European markets, the C23 Serena had 1.6 or 2.0 L petrols, or 2.3 L diesel engines LD23. Trim levels were LX, SLX, SGX and SGXi. Auto Express once named the Serena as the slowest passenger car in the benchmark 0-60 mph (now 62 mph) test, with the 2.3 diesel version (added in the mid 1990s) taking 27.8 seconds to reach that speed.
Until around 2002, the standard petrol engine was an SR20DE. A variety of other engines were used over the years, including diesels specifically the CD20 (for the commercial van version), CD20T 1,973 cc Diesel Turbo and CD20ET.
The Nissan Vanette was a series of small vans manufactured in Spain by Nissan Motors alongside the European market Serena models. The van was produced in two versions, the Vanette E, which shared the basic body shell with the Nissan Serena people carrier, differing only in not having rear windows and passenger seats, and the Vanette Cargo, which was longer and had a higher roof line from behind the front seats.
In June 1998, LDV Limited entered into an agreement with Nissan, to sell a rebranded version of the Vanette Cargo. This was named the LDV Cub, alongside the Vanette, it was sold in Britain. The model was discontinued in 2001, and replaced by a re badged version of the Opel Vivaro/Renault Trafic, called the Nissan Primastar, which is produced in Luton, England and Barcelona, Spain.
The Nissan Serena Mk1 is said to have an image problem by some, in particular Fifth Gear presenter Quentin Willson, who remarked in 1997 Top Gear episode that "...the Nissan Serena was about as seductive as a skip and as desirable as an old shoe."
By 2001, the Nissan Serena was described as the worst new car sale on Britain, by Top Gear's Buyers Guide, with "absolutely nothing to recommend it for".
Although the Nissan Serena handles better than most people expect it to (due to its mid-mounted engine), its power-to-weight ratio is particularly poor, as shown by the 0–100 km/h averages listed below. The only models with marginally acceptable acceleration are powered by the SR20DE engine.
Largo was the model name used for a Nissan passenger van based on the C23 Serena between 1992 and 1998.
Unlike the previous Largo, which was essentially a widened C22 Nissan Vanette, the C23 Largo was a totally rebodied, wider Serena with more equipment such as four-wheel-drive. It was exclusive to Nissan Satio Store locations as a large load carrying vehicle next to the Sunny. The Largo was available with either a 2.4-litre petrol, or a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel, both mid engined (under the front seats).
The second-generation Serena was launched in Japan in July 1999. These versions had a facelift with a wider variety of engines and colours. From September 2002 onwards (the time of the facelift) the Serena used the QR20DE and QR25DE. The pre-facelift C24 Serenas all have a 2.0 L engine, with the optional 2.5 L engine becoming available from 2002.
In Taiwan a lengthened version of the Serena C24 has been manufactured by Yulon under the Nissan label. The Taiwanese Serena is 141 mm (5.6 in) longer than the original, all behind the C-pillar. The Taiwanese version is still in production (2012) and is only available with the 160 PS (118 kW) 2.5 liter QR25DE engine joined to a four-speed automatic. The Nissan C24 was also manufactured by Edaran Tan Chong Motor Sdn Bhd in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Indonesian-market cars use the 2.0 L QR20DE inline-four petrol engine. The trims available in Indonesia are Comfort Touring, Highway Star, and Autech. The Comfort Touring trim-level doesn't come equipped with electric sliding door and reverse camera, while the Highway Star and the Autech do. In the People's Republic of China, the Serena Mk. II got the name Dongfeng Yumsun and is produced by their subsidiary Zhengzhou Nissan Automobile. Later in 2013, Dongfeng Yumsun sold in Indonesia by Xarrina Motor Indonesia as ZNA Succe.
Nissan Serena C25 was debuted in Japan in May 2005. This model was only sold in Japan home markets, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Brunei.
In 2007, 2008 and 2009, the Serena C25 was the best selling minivan in Japan.
This model was also sold as the Suzuki Landy in Japan, a practice that is continued with the fourth generation Serena.
The third generation was discontinued in Japan in late 2010 but for export markets continued until 2011.
The 2011 Nissan Serena was released in late November 2010 to the Japanese market, equipped with a new 2.0 litre MR20DD direct injection inline-four gasoline engine. This model is currently sold in Japan, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Indonesia. In addition, Nissan Serena C26 would start production in China and Indonesia in the year 2013.
In August 2012, Nissan added their newly developed simple hybrid system called Smart Simple Hybrid or S-HYBRID. The Nissan Serena C26 S-HYBRID has its regeneration capacity and output power of the Eco Motor, which is an alternator that is used for Nissan's Serena having an idling stop mechanism and capable of restarting an engine, upgraded. They've even added a lead sub-battery in the engine room for extended energy regeneration capacity. With all that technology, it has a fuel economy of 15.2 km/L (approx 35.8mpg) under the JC08 test mode. In Malaysia, Tan Chong launched Nissan Serena S-Hybrid in July 2013.
Nissan unveiled the fifth generation Serena on 6 July 2016, and sales began in Japan on 24 August 2016. The all-new Serena received the ProPILOT technology. The system is designed for highway use, and will only be used in single-lane traffic as a means to keep a car between the lines of a lane on the highway. Nissan’s system is operational at speeds between 30 km/h (18 mph) and 100 km/h (62 mph), and is designed to hold the vehicle in the middle of a lane by reading markers and controlling steering. ProPilot can follow curves, and it automatically controls the distance between the vehicle ahead.
The all-new Serena will also debuted in Indonesia on 27 April 2017 at the 2017 Indonesia International Motor Show.