Minivans aren’t the most exciting cars, but no other body style can match the level of functionality offered by a square and straight vehicle. In a world obsessed with SUVs, Nissan insists there’s still room for an honest-to-god family hauler, hence the sixth-generation Serena. The nameplate introduced in the early 1990s continues for a more sophisticated minivan with the latest technology and an even roomier cabin that seats eight.
Shaped like a brick on wheels to maximize interior space, the 2023 Serena has a modern front fascia with headlights that blend into the large grille. Nissan claims to have installed the widest windshield in the segment to improve outward visibility, further enhanced by the expansive greenhouse with massive side windows. The passenger side sliding door has self-opening hands-free operation while all lights use LEDs.
The driver gets an extra 120 millimeters (4.7 inches) of legroom over the outgoing minivan inside a revised cabin debuting a new switch-style shifter. Parents with lots of kids will be happy to know that water-repellent seat padding is included, as is a plethora of USB and Wi-Fi ports for charging portable media devices to keep them busy on long drives. All passengers have their own air conditioning controls, as well as AC pre-cooling functionality.
Depending on trim level, the Nissan Serena is 4,690 mm (184.6 in) or 4,765 mm (187.5 in) long and 1,695 mm (66.7 in) or 1,715 mm (67.5 in ) wide. The height also depends on the variant as some are 1870 mm (73.6 in) while others are 1885 mm (74.2 in) or 1895 mm (74.6 in). As for the wheelbase, it is either 3,135 mm (123.4 inches) or 3,145 mm (123.8 inches). Depending on the specifications, the weight ranges from 2,110 to 2,235 kilograms (4,652 to 4,927 pounds).
The gasoline version uses a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter engine developing 150 horsepower (110 kilowatts) and 200 Newton-meters (148 pound-feet) of torque offered with or without all-wheel drive and a CVT. There’s also an e-Power (2WD only) hybrid model with a new, quieter 1.4-litre engine producing 98 hp (72 kW) and 123 Nm (91 lb-ft). Combined with the electric motor, the total system output is 163 hp (120 kW) and 315 Nm (232 lb-ft).
A prominent feature is ProPilot 2.0 enabling hands-free single-lane highway driving at speeds of 40kph (25mph) and more for the top-spec Luxion trim level with e-Power. The flagship also gets ProPilot Park, which registers and recognizes parking space lines for the first time on a Nissan model. Go hybrid and optional power source to power electrical devices in the same vein that EVs offer two-way charging.
Pricing starts at 2,768,700 yen (about $20,000) for the base gas model and goes up to 4,798,200 yen ($34,700) for the e-Power Luxion. The first to go on sale will be the conventionally powered Serena this winter, with the hybrid to follow in the spring of 2023.