9 February 2018

The Nissan Serena Autech Sports Spec is mild people mover insanity

By Tom WhiteTom White

Japan's thirst for hot vans never ceases to surprise.

Recently we ran a few stories on this odd obsession with tuned Elgrands or engine-swapped HiAces, but for the Japanese Domestic Market some manufacturers will, at least try to sell a hotted van right from the get go.

Here's the recently released Serena Autech Sports Spec.

School run at 3, JDM meet at 5. School run at 3, JDM meet at 5.

Of course, you'll know Autech as Nissan's - mainly domestic - subsidiary tuner responsible for some of the fastest Nissan cars to ever ship new.

But these days Autech isn't quite what it used to be. The 'regular' Autech Serena, for example, seems to be just bits of bespoke trim, unqiue alloys and some cynical 'Autech' logos stiched around the place. Sad.

There is a regular 'Autech' version that just has the trim bits. But you NEED the chassis and suspension! There is a regular 'Autech' version that just has the trim bits. But you NEED the chassis and suspension!

Not the Sports Spec though...

Like a trapped beast that wants to reclaim lost glory, Autech lashed out uneccessarily on this thing. It gets a unique ECU tune, tweaked power steering, new suspension and perhaps most surprisingly it gets body rigidity upgrades. But not just a sway bar. They've reinforced nine... NINE points on the chassis. In a front drive people mover...

Bet that 2.0-litre engine will have trouble warping the chassis now! Bet that 2.0-litre engine will have trouble warping the chassis now!

This thing is begging for an engine swap. The Serena packs a 2.0-litre MR20DD engine paired with a CVT that we get here in the Nissan Qashqai... For the Japanese Domestic Market the engine puts out just 110kW and 210Nm of torque. Somewhat inexplicably, the Sports Spec is only available as a 2WD, given the rest of the Serena range can be had in 4WD.

Speaking of the rest of the range, to further prove Japan's love for these vans the Serena Autech Sports spec joins a line-up of twenty-four (24) variants. For comparison, the Tarago sold in Australia comes in a whopping five variants.

What. Who needs to choose from 24 grades of people mover? What. Who needs to choose from 24 grades of people mover?

How much does it cost to have the ability to terrify your entire family at once in the corners? That'll be the equivalent of AU$42,217 thanks. It's the most expensive Serena variant by a decent margin.

You can't have one yet. But given Nissan people movers are one of the top grey imports into Australia, never say never.

The Serena Autech. What engine would you swap into it? Tell us what you think in the comments.