# Monday, 16 September 2013

I got a new car!! It's a Nissan Serena S-Hybrid... as if the title didn't already give it away.


This not being a auto enthusiast site, and me not even REMOTELY qualified to talk about a car's stats let's not talk about stuff like that. I'll just mention a few things that should be interesting to people.

First of all is the Hybridness of the Serena S-Hybrid, while it has two batteries. Orange arrow is pointing to the main battery and the blue arrow is pointing at the secondary battery.


(For the pic above I wanted to remove the air filter to take a shot of the batteries, but it's a bitch to remove and it felt like I was gonna break something while doing it, Heck I'm wondering if I even reattached it properly!?) The secondary battery is used to power the main electronics like the radio, air conditioning and the sliding doors. Unlike other hybrid cars, the secondary battery isn't a slab or what not, but rather your normal deep charge capable battery.

The secondary battery will also be used to give the engine a slight push when coming back from idle stop. This is how the Serena's primary method of saving fuel. The engine stops when you stop the car at traffic lights, or traffic jams. And the moment you start moving again the engine start back up quickly. They even include a nice display of how long you've been stopping during the current trip.


While it's a nice and interesting way of saving gas, one of my friends remarked about the long term viability of such idle stop mechanisms... hmmm... interesting. There is one caveat in the idle stop system though. You must have the brakes applied FIRMLY for it to work, the moment you let it loose to a point where the car feels like it's going to move the engine starts back up, with practice I should be able to feel where's the sweet spot so I don't need to jam my foot down on the brakes in extending traffic jams. It will go into idle stop if you apply the parking brake though. Another thing to note is that the power steering motor is also killed in idle stop and fidgeting with your steering will cause the engine to start back up again.

Now let's talk about the auto doors, the rear doors are powered so they open and close with a simple push of a button. When it was neat and all, I totally forgot the question to ask until my wife actually asked me "What if someone gets caught in the door as it is closing?" That's a good question!! It's time FOR SCIENCE!!!

Ok, so the door doesn't actually have a dump sensor like on elevators, it's more a force detector, if it feels like it needs more force to push the door in one direction it'll go in the opposite direction. The door isn't going to squash your kid into pulp but you probably want to make sure that everyone's clear of the doors before it closes or opens.

Let's talk about the passenger cabin, the 2nd and 3rd row seats are on tracks and you can shuffle them around like you usually can on MPVs. And there's the problem, the tracks look like this.


On a closer inspection, there's quite a gap between the rubber flaps which attempt to block little things from getting into it.


When I first picked up the car I thought to myself.. I better get something to cover those tracks up lest some crumbs or stuff drop in and jam the tracks, but it can wait. Then at night when my wife got in for the first ride in the new car, since she needed to strap in WH in the child seat she threw her purse on the neighbouring chair and it's coin pouch promptly EXPLODED, SPRINKLING COINS EVERYWHERE!!! I think I managed to find all the dropped coins..

Like most van like vehicles, you get very little trunk space in the Serena, but one neat thing which they provided was a little luggage compartment which you can access by lifting up the the flooring.


It's big enough to fit a medium sized adult body but you might need to hack the legs a little... don't ask how i figured out this out :P

But one thing you might be wondering, if there's a giant rear compartment at the back, then where's the spare tyre then? Well... that's because it DOESN'T come with a spare tyre! Instead, you're provided with an emergency tyre repair kit which consists of an air pump and a bottle of sealant... Lets hope i never need to figure out how well those work, or get caught in a situation where I NEED an actual spare wheel!

And finally, we come to the in dash entertainment center.


It *seems* to be an Android based device which does what you expect it to do

  • Radio
  • Rear view camera
  • GPS with some format that's not supported by MalSingMaps
  • Media Player

Regarding the media player, this is what I'd call Ye Typical Media Playing Appliance, which means from a video point of view. You get to play most WESTERN media fine, H.264 works, MP4 and MKV containers work. But as is typical of appliances like this, it can't play RMVB files, it can't handle H.264 Hi10P video streams, and it has spotty subtitle support for soft subs.

And.. I guess that's it, the all important gas milage question will be answered after I go through a few tanks of gas.

Here's the follow up post regarding gas mileage.

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