The $20,000 Nissan Serena Puts The Mini Back In Minivan

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We'd love to have access to some of these smaller vans in the USA.

For our readers who live in Japan, Nissan has revealed a new version of its Serena minivan, and it looks like a genuinely cool, spacious, and affordable way to transport a family.

It's been six years since the Nissan Quest minivan was discontinued in the US market, and Nissan has not felt the need to replace it. Though the segment has expanded with new entrants like the Kia Carnival, only four minivans are available now, and none live up to the "mini" part of their respective names.

Let's start with size because the Serena puts the mini back in minivan. It ranges from 184.6 to 187.6 inches long, making it significantly shorter than US market vans stretching well over 200 inches. It's about 10 inches narrower too.

No, the Serena is not the prettiest vehicle Nissan builds, but those unique LED headlights and V-Motion grille are inarguably cool.

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A minivan is more about what's inside, and just like any of the larger options sold in the US, the Serena can carry seven or eight passengers with a multi-function second-row seat.

Up front, the driver and front passenger are treated to a large central touchscreen, a digital gauge cluster, and a flat floor. Many clever storage areas are spread around the cabin, including smartphone/wallet pockets on every seat, a tissue box area, and rear tray tables.

Power comes from a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine producing 148 horsepower and 148 lb-ft of torque. The power is sent to a front- or all-wheel-drive system via Nissan's well-known CVT transmission. There's also an e-Power hybrid version with a 1.3-liter three-cylinder engine paired with an electric motor. The combined power output is 161 hp and 232 lb-ft, and it's available exclusively in FWD.

That may be less powerful than the V6-powered North American market minivans, but the Serena is much smaller and likely far more efficient.

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The Serena is available with Nissan's ProPILOT Assist 2.0 on the top Luxion grade, meaning it can drive hands-free at speeds of under 25 mph. For all other trims, the standard ProPILOT is included.

Pricing starts at 2,768,700 yen (approximately $19,992.78) for the non-hybrid and tops out at 4,798,200 ($34,647.80) for the e-Power Luxion model. To put that into perspective, even the most expensive Serena is cheaper than the base Honda Odyssey.

We would love to see Nissan offer such an affordable family vehicle here in the US, but the company has no plans to bring the Serena stateside. Several excellent minivans have been revealed this year, including the stylish Hyundai Stargazer, pocket-sized Toyota Sienta, and 536-horsepower electric Zeekr 009.

These products prove that minivans can be cool; we just need access to them.

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