Car review – Nissan Grand Livina

Posted: 23rd February 2008 by Jacky Yong in Cars
Tags: , ,

Seems that the year of the Rat brings a lot of new cars into my family. My other brother-in-law, my wife’s sister’s husband, also bought a new car this year. The 2008 Nissan Grand Livina.

One first look at the Grand Livina and the Nissan Murano comes to mind, thanks to the unmistakable front grille.


The car is the 1.6 litre version, 4-speed automatic transmission. The car really looks big on the outside.


The exterior looks great for a 7 seater, very much akin to the Toyota’s Wish and Honda’s Stream, albeit at a much lower price, below the RM100K price tag. (Both the Toyota and Honda cost above RM100K)


How does it look on the inside? In short, PLASTIC GALORE! Although everything looks clean and well-designed, the use of plastic was very obvious.


Ahem… that’s my legs there.


The dials were clean and straight-to-the-point. No fancy lights or digital speed indicator. In short: boring.


Actually the cabin is very small for a car this big. Bear in mind that this car is targeted at the mid-sized family that should consist of a few kids. So a car of this size is really not considered big enough, IMHO.


Air-cond for the back passenger! Standard accessories for all 7 seaters, the absence of which will result in my ultimate ridicule! However I would prefer that the air blows from above instead of this position. Hot air travel upwards, so the air-cond blowing from underneath will only defeat its purpose. Pity also for those skirt-wearing lady passengers who happen to sit right in front of the air-cond vent! Ahem…. 😛

Edit: There is actually air-cond vent from the ceiling, where you can control the fan speed. Not the temperature though. (At least that’s how I remember it, please correct me if I’m wrong)

Edit: Actually there is no air-con vent from the ceiling, my bro-in-law installed it himself! The back occupants actually feel really stuffy in the 3rd row! You might want to consider this point before you make a purchase, I know this is a deal-breaker for a lot of people.


Great looking door handle on the inside. Modern looking interior that has its obvious roots from the recently launched Nissan Latio.


If you have noticed, it has a slightly sloping rear end and high ground clearance that results in a lower headroom for the rear passenger. I have personally climbed on board the back row, and let me tell you, it was nightmare! The place was very clearly designed as an after-thought where form takes precedence over function. The ride at the back is bumpy, and the floor board is too tall for a full-grown adult like myself. I do not have long legs, among Asian men, I am not considered tall. Even at that height, I can feel how cramped that place is. 🙁

However all is not lost. The Nissan’s saving grace seem to be from the spirited drive from the small-but-able engine that could.


The front engine compartment seems too small to accommodate such a powerful engine, but it would have seem that the engineers at Nissan has done a great job in this aspect. On paper, the aluminum engine can produce 116 ps and 166.9 Nm of torque, better than the 1.5 litre Toyota Avanza or the Rush. And in real life performace, the engine proves to be preppy and light on the pedal. One little jab on the accelerator and it lifted off obligingly. Truly a job well done! Note that this is only true if you were to drive with few occupants.

So how does the Grand Livina compare against the other competitors? It’s definitely targeted to counter Toyota’s advance in the sub RM100K 7 seater segment, the Avanza and the new Rush. However I do not think that it will be able to beat these vehicles. Different story though once Proton comes out with its own 7 seater next year. That we’ll have to see.

  1. libelly says:

    aiyer…..hairy legs…. kakakaka

    “Pity also for those skirt-wearing lady passengers who happen to sit right in front of the air-cond” ===> kakaka…. u are still the same jacky…. no difference

    i like this car becoz it looks like my dream car Murano…

    still considering whether to buy this car … will have to see what new car coming up during the 2nd half of the year

  2. iskandar says:

    Hi dude,
    agree your leg abit hairy 🙂
    Regarding GL. How’s pickup for your 1.6A? considering to buy one… sick and tired with underpowered gen2 auto

  3. Jacky Yong says:

    The pickup is good, provided that the car is not too heavily loaded. It is, after all, still a 1.6 litre engine. With 5 adults, the acceleration is decent. My sister-in-law complaint that the car refused to budge when there were 6 adults and 4 children on board!

    Better than a 1.5 litre Avanza, I would presume.

  4. rob bin hud says:

    allo.. you told us that g.llivina 1.6 still bumpy at the rear.. how bumpy is it..cause me also consider to buy one.. already went to the dealer but cant test drive that 1.6 vehicle.. out of stock.. they told … and from the tiny news i’ve heard, this vehicle was shaking.. i’m still not sure about that.. is it true that matter or it just a rumors?

  5. Jacky Yong says:

    Hi Rob, well, suffice to say that the back is not a place where you would want to sit for very long. I have sit on the back row of a Toyota Unser before, and the Unser is a much more comfortable creature. However I have not heard of the Grand Livina shaking before. I heard it’s made in Malaysia …. so …. *ahem ahem*.

  6. tiger says:

    Does anyone know what is the safe load capacity of Grand Lavina 1.8A? I wish to use it to carry about 350KG one a while (less than 5 a year)

  7. Jacky Yong says:

    Hmmm …. interesting. To give an example of carrying full loads of adults, 7 adults, each averaging 70 kilos, that would be almost 500 kilograms already. If you carry 350 KG, and you drive alone, I’m quite sure you could safely carry the load, even if you were to do it more often than once every 5 years.

    Anybody else has any thoughts on this?

  8. Kromox says:

    Hello jacky……….GL looks funny without skirting….is it true mr jacky…….however i am still considering to buy this car becoz for the time being all the cars interest almost same……..nothing different with others car like stream, wish abd etc…

  9. Jacky Yong says:

    Hi Kromox,

    It’s a personal preference really. How much is the GL with the additional body kit? Yes, to be honest, the GL does look more manly and macho with the skirting and all, especially the set tuned by IMPUL; it rocks!! Just see for yourself whether the price justifies the looks. You may be able to get a similar (if not same) look with a cheaper aftermarket kit.

  10. C.Y says:

    I consider to buy Grand Livina 1.6L. In view of power, fuel consumption and resale value ( the SA told me that the resale value for manual is low as the future trend is automatic ), should i go for manual or automatic ?

    Any better suggestion ?

  11. Jacky Yong says:

    It’s all a matter of personal preference I think. But you heard right, nowadays automatic is the way to go. With current technologies, automatic cars nowadays can be as good as, or even better than manual cars in terms of fuel efficiency and power. In terms of resale value, an automatic car will definitely fetch a higher price. But if I were to buy this Grand Livina, I would definitely choose an automatic car. But that’s just me, I stay and work in the Klang Valley, so traffic jam is a major factor to consider.

  12. Yas says:

    VERY interested in one. better design than avanza but see…

    plz help, is it a common problem or its just an unusual one.
    if other owners have same problem plz voice out thynx

  13. Jacky Yong says:

    Very interesting Yas. Neither myself nor my brother-in-law has ever personally encountered the problem that the reader highlighted before. Looking at the absurdly high number of defects that the reader mentioned, it sounds like a very isolated case. Coming from Nissan, I would expect a much better build quality.

    Any readers out there would like to add to the comment?

  14. Mohasrim says:

    Hi Jacky,

    Thanks for y0ur inf0 here. My wife wanted this car, but im n0t. So we had a little arguement. But after reading y0ur reviews, still my mind havent change. Ha ha ha! G0od review. Thanks!

  15. Jacky Yong says:

    HAHAHAHA!!!! Mohasrim, you so bad! But I like you!! HAHAHAHA!!!!

    Yes, my wife also said that the GL is a good car. Since it was my wife’s sister who drives the car, I dare not offend any of them, but errmmm ….. I share you view too! BWUAAHAHAA!!!

  16. kwong says:

    go for the auto, more resale value

    1.8L is better, not much price difference
    more powerful & can carry the max no. of people.

    good value for money compared to Honda & Innova (2L) a bit clumpsy & “big & squarish” at the rear

    not really bumpy at the rear seats unless the roads are lousy

    nicer than avanza (square at its rear) & smaller than Innova. quite right for me. a bit lower than Innnova, need to “climb” a bit to get in.!

  17. lim says:

    how do i choose whether to buy 1.6 or 1.8 grand livina?

    appreciate advise on the
    1) comparison town use/ long distance travelling fuel saving
    2) resale value
    3) any additional comment from your end?

  18. rahman says:

    hi lim,what is your budget?i ordered 1.6 as budget tight. my wife at first wanted wish.but after look at the price + see GL….she decide to take GL auto….

  19. hisham says:

    hello are u???:)

    ho w about your GL now??
    jus want to ask u something about nissan any problem about the ground clearance???actually im on my research about the ground clearance about this appreciate if u can comment and give some recommended regarding my research..

  20. Jacky Yong says:

    Hi there Hisham,

    Unfortunately I do not own this car, it belonged to my sister-in-law. But from my experience driving it, the clearance is rather tall, taller than my Wira for sure, and almost taller than most other sedans. I cannot give an exact measurement though. Anybody would like to comment as well?

  21. Kelly says:

    I bought a GL 1.6 AT in Nov 2008, after half a year on the road, it started to have a very annoying brake noise. Whenever I brake, there is a creaking noise coming from the rear wheel (I guess), I can even hear it in the car. Everytime mechanic also told me it’s common problem for drum brake (coz it traps dirt inside not like disc brake), what they can do is to clean the dirt (that’s it!). Right before the next service, I guarantee you the sound will be back again. Do you encounter this problem? Any idea how to fix this (long term solution)?

  22. Jacky Yong says:

    Hi there Kelly,

    Unfortunately due to the basic design of a drum brake, brake dust and dirt gets trapped easily inside the component and over time, noise develop. This is an inherent problem with drum brakes, I’m afraid. Sometimes the noise is desirable; it lets you know that it is time to service your brake! What you can do is to go easy on the brake, or you may want to use a better brake shoe material. But then again, if there is no brake dust at all, you should be worried, because it means that your brake is not giving enough friction! Unless you modify it to a disc brake, it is unlikely that this problem will go away.

  23. Sun says:

    Hi Jacky. Did u have any information bout livina engine and gearbox problem? i got a nissan sentra b14 model. i change the engine twice. Both problem is same.Engine head crack. Radiator fuild flow into engine. Burn my pocket a big hole. Thank you.

  24. Jacky Yong says:

    Hi Sun,

    The Grand Livina 1.6 uses the HR16DE engine, similar with the Nissan Latio, but without the variable valve timing. A search through Google does not reveal any major problems with this engine, but maybe because this engine is still relatively new among Nissan’s stable. However I would say that this engine is still considered much more reliable compared to your old B14

  25. DW Wong says:

    Hello , Jacky, how are you? I intend to buy a GL1.8 next Jan, so far any update from your sis in law with regard to the GL’s performnce,on the road driving, etc. ETC salesman told me there was no major problem reported since launching 2 years ago…

  26. Jacky Yong says:

    Hi Wong, so far there is nothing major about the GL. She has the 1.6 version, and she claimed she can even go to Genting with 7 people on board! The only thing is that she need to install air-con vent for the 3rd row.

  27. khalillah says:

    After read your review, i confirm going to order GL today… Somemore get better offer from SA… Free V-Kool, Leather Seat, Impul Bodykit… yeahhhhh… Thanks Jacky

  28. Jacky Yong says:

    Glad that I was able to help! Jeez, Nissan should really consider giving me a commission for this!

  29. Richard says:

    Hi Jacky,

    Intend to get GL1.6A very soon. Can tell me which branch can get the better offer like free V-Kool, Leather Seat, Impul Bodykit….. I am situated at Klang Valley. Thanks

  30. kijay says:

    Any promotion or discount given for new 1.8 auto Grand Livina?
    I was told 3k discount, no free gift. If I accept 2010 made GL, they can give further discount, any disadvantage to get 2010 car?

  31. MEAKU says:

    Hi Jacky,

    Thanks for the great review !!! How much did your sister in law spend to get the air cond vent installed at the back? did it void any warranty? Does it change the performance?

    HI Kijay,

    Do let me know if you have gotten yourself a GL because i am planning to get one my self as well. abt a year back, i wanted to go ahead with GL, but due to finance problem, i stopped and cancelled my order. Now everything is ok, i am planning to proceed. But now i have 2 options TOYOTA rush or GL but im more keen to GL 1.8. Let me know whether u went for 2011 built or 2010 built.

    Thanks 🙂

  32. jo_ana says:

    Hi Meaku & kijay,

    i’m just booked my 1.8GL made 2011 with the same disc with kijay. Now is waiting it to come out… so exicted… I quite sactify the SA service as well. If u r interested, i can recommanded to u all.

  33. Kijay says:

    Got GL for 1 month anniversay, tinted V-kool and installed Impul Aerokit. GL car handling is better than my old sedan, good pick up power and fuel consumption, about the same to my wife’s Myvi. Has been clcoked 1700km+, average 12.7km/l. Planning to get leather seats outside, if can get cheaper than RM2300 as offerred by Nissan.

  34. Bad mood says:

    I just got my GL 1.8 impul for two week time and the gearbox was leaking now, so sad. I dont know what to say because you will always get the same answer from the sale advisor : ” sent to workshop lah, it’s cover by warranty ” how do you feel if you heard that??

  35. loh ye yang says:

    I ‘m not sure to buy the mpv either Avanza, GL 1.6 OR 1.8 OR ALZA ? Cpould somebody
    advise me which to go . But aside the $$$$ , whihc car is better .A lot of people said never buy ALZA as there is no safety and hae failed impact test ? How true ????

    For GL never buy 1.6 bcos if is under power and in consumed high petrol .Can someone advise me .tq

  36. Martin Yap says:

    I’m using a Livina 1.6A since April’11 – i was looking for a 5+2, with 2 airbags, with good air-conditioning for all 7 occupants, and i go easy on the pedal – i’m quite happy with the car.

    I was a bit worried about Livina air-conditioning, so i spent RM2k on tinting – right now i’m waiting to see if there’s any complaints from occupants – but its definitely great for driver & front passenger, and no complaints from 2nd row passengers.

    When choosing the car, i test drove Toyota Rush – it had excellent air-conditioning, but 2nd row & 3rd row passengers complaint of body roll with spirited urban driving, it’ll probably be fine with careful driving. I felt the SUV look was working for the Rush as well. In the end, Livina 1.6 was considerably cheaper (esp. with their lower interest rate).

  37. lawrence says:

    Hi Jacky. i’m actually on a crossroad between GL and Toyota Innova. Therefore looking on any reviews on both cars. Just to let you know your review helps a lot. Thanks man, and keep up the good work.

  38. Ann says:

    Hi, i m using GL 1.8cvtc. perfomance is just good, can tapau exora or avanza easily..hehe but need to work hard with toyota wish. i also worried about aircond, need to half blast and high cooling temp to cool down the cabin.. fuel comp is so good, same to myVi. if anyone have an interes to buying GL, i suggest you to grab 1.8cvtc. so smooth and powerfull…1.6 version is underpower, engine so noise and suspension too soft compared to 1.8…tq

  39. David says:

    Guys, I read a few replies mentioning the Fuel Comsuption is equivalent with MyVI. May I know how much is that? I heard my friend having 1.8 model but the fuel consumption is about 0.23 cent. thanks.

  40. mc says:

    hi all, i just bought the GL 1.8auto 2 weeks ago, so far FC is about 0.18 cents/km, is it considered economic and normal for this model? thanks

  41. Betty says:

    Hi, I m considering between Rush & 1.6 GL. After considering the ABS, twin airbag and lower interest rate offered by GL, I have the feeling GL is more worth it. But a bit doubtful abt d Fuel consumption of GL. Why David n MC have different fuel consumptn calculation for 1.8 model? and btw is 1.6 underpowered? Tq Jacky.

  42. jacklew says:


    I’m considering GL & Innova, can someone tell me which one is better?

    For GL, i worry abt the air’cond.

  43. theva says:

    i need to do same modification on air cond system for my livina?
    any idea to make more cooling on the 3rd row……?
    Please advice …..

  44. Sethu says:

    I am planning to buy uplifted just released nissia grand livina 1.8

    Let me have the advice of users mine is a small family I may rarely use the third row


  45. Jacky Yong says:

    For a small family I guess the Livina makes sense. The new G Livina has everything new, but they kept the transmission and the engine. No big issue here, as the engine is very good, even for a 1.6 (comparing to the Exora). I tested the older G Livina just a month back, I still like how the engine is smooth and the ride very quiet and well behaved. However I have 3 daughters who are always fighting for more space. Therefore an Estima makes more sense to me. =)

  46. sethubalajirao says:

    Thanking you for the response. My family is small family only three member including me – driver, my parents may join that make the family of five a possibility, some times seldom two people may join that is say once in a year or so. I selected this car for five with lot of boot space otherwise can be used for seven seat. Five seat with long travel require boot space so this perfectly well.

    I am going for Nissian Multi media system having Navigation + DVD + blue tooth etc. I want to know how is the Nissian Navigation and how it is updated? Please share the info and experience. I do have Garmin Navi but without 3D way map window. I prefer MIS since it has DVD and other things too