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A Quick Review of 2012 – 2020 Nissan Serena in Australia

with Konstantin Alatortsev

Did you know that Nissan Elgrand had a smaller sibling?
They have only started showing up in Australian cities just recently.
The name of this people mover comes from the Latin word "serēnus", meaning "clear, tranquil, pleasant".
Australia, meet the Nissan Serena: a hybrid addition to a very popular Nissan Elgrand!
Let’s give a quick review of a 2012 – 2020 Nissan Serena in Australia.

The Nissan Serena minivan has 7 or 8 seats with two rear sliding doors.
It had few older generations which do not interest us here so let’s check out the two most recent ones:

1. The previous generation (C26) was released in 2010. In August 2012, Nissan added their newly developed simple hybrid system called Smart Simple Hybrid or S-HYBRID. The Serena S-Hybrid is commonly referred to as a “soft-hybrid” or “mild hybrid”. Unlike a regular hybrid, soft hybrids feature a larger starter motor which functions as a torque assist motor to aid the petrol engine during take-off and also functions as an electric power generator to send power back to the secondary battery. Nissan claims the Serena S-Hybrid delivers the fuel economy of slightly more than 7L / 100km.


Coupled with the energy efficient engine is an XTRONIC CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) with Adaptive Shift Control (ASC).

This new transmission is a big improvement over the last CVT transmission with less noise and a little more resistance from the belt.

The facelift version of the C26 Serena was launched in 2014.


  • Length: 4,685 – 4,770 mm
  • Width: 1,695 – 1,735 mm
  • Height: 1,865 – 1875 mm

2. The current generation (C27) was unveiled in 2016. This Serena received the first in its class ProPilot technology, which does lane centering. The system is designed for highway use, is operational at speeds between 50 km/h and 100 km/h, 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 also automatically controls the distance between the vehicle ahead.


The C27 Serena received a facelift in Japan in 2019.

This generation Nissan Serena also has a modification called Serena e-Power which went on sale in 2018. The e-Power is Nissan’s transition stage towards fully electric vehicles. It is powered by the straight-three engine combined with a range extender with no plug-in socket.

The Serena e-Power can achieve a fantastic number of 3.81 L / 100 km!

And when your car is able to do approx. 1,500 km on a single 60L tank of fuel, it is easy to forget what petrol stations actually look like :)

The petrol-electric hybrid system of Serena e-Power has no plug for recharging, and offers electric car performance and exceptional fuel economy without compromising long-distance driving.

The e-Power system is classified as a “series hybrid” as it pairs the electric motor with a small 1.2L engine acting as a generator for the battery. Compared to a conventional “parallel hybrid” which uses the engine to drive the wheels, the e-Power’s engine only charges the battery while the wheels are always electrically driven. So the Nissan Serena e-Power is silent on start-up and like any EV, initial acceleration is instant thanks to the electric propulsion system.

The small engine runs at constant rpm, so only produces a low background engine noise.

Allowed for import are Nissan Serena versions with a 2L petrol engine (S-Hybrid system) as well as a e-Power Hybrid electric version (C27 only).


  • Length: 4,685 – 4,770 mm
  • Width: 1,695 – 1,740 mm
  • Height: 1,865 mm

The Nissan Serena uses similar model designations as the Elgrand (e.g. Highway Star, Rider, Autech) – however is a little more compact than the latter so retails in Japan for 20% less than the Elgrand so is cheaper to import to Australia too.

Let’s sum up why Nissan Serena is although smaller but bolder than its elder sibling:

    The main attraction of this car is its absolutely unbelievable fuel economy. With numbers like 3.81L / 100 km (Serena e-Power) it will take you from Brisbane to Melbourne on a single tank of petrol!!

  2. SPACE
    Like all JDM (Japanese Domestic Market) minivans, Nissan Serena can take your whole tribe on very long road trips without any worries at all.

    Although the previous generation of Nissan Serena were not quite popular in Japan (due to the S-Hybrid system being quite far from perfection), they improved the current generation a lot (we are talking about the e-Power one now).

    With adaptive cruise control handling stop-and-go traffic (if stopped for less than 4 seconds) ProPilot, which uses range of cameras and sensors, not only makes a Nissan Serena extremely safe but you can also relax while driving it.


Although a Toyota Alphard is number one in sales of large people movers in Japan, but a Nissan Serena is number one in sales of minivans – that’s the fact you should definitely consider when choosing your next best car for moving your big family not only in suburbs but also in that road trip you have been planning for the time being!

Happy Road Trips!

P.S. You can view our current stock on Nissan Serena here.

Photo credit: Wikipedia and personal archive

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