The Nissan Fuga Vs Toyota Mark X, which is better?
If you still don’t have a large family and are looking for something to buy other than the normal station wagons all your neighbors drive, then there is a good chance you will be looking to buy an executive saloon. In most cases you will also want to buy something with a bit more grunt other than the bald efficient shopping trolleys that are small-engine Toyotas, Nissans and Mazdas. Given the limited number of popular cars here in Kenya you may just end up considering a German sedan like the BMW 3 SERIES or the Mercedes C class however, what if you want something not German? What if everything Japanese makes that slight chill of excitement go down your spine? Then you will be thinking about buying the Toyota Crown, Nissan Fuga, Nissan Skyline or the Toyota Mark so between the Nissan Fuga and the Toyota Mark X, which is better?
Since I have not managed to test the 2009 Crown I will not refer to it much during this review and since the Skyline needs a full page to itself I will write about it later on. This review will focus on the Nissan Fuga 2009 and the Toyota Mark X 2009 onwards which have remained largely the same to date, both are in their second generation hence they will be fair comparators.
The Nissan Fuga
Lets begin with the less known car in this discussion. The Fuga was made as an attempt by Nissan to compete favorably with the horde of executive sedans from the West i.e. The German BMW 3 series , the Mercedes C Class, the Lexus GS/ Mark x and the Jaguar S Type. As a result anything that you will expect to enjoy from these more premium cars you should expect from the Nissan in one form or the other and a cheaper price point. Nissan is a very generous manufacturer and that is why when you compare the equipment levels in the Nissan to the other cars you will notice how much more functionality you get from a much humbler package. This car combines all the good bits from its predecessors the Nissan Cedric,Gloria, Cima (F50) and the Nissan President.
The Mark X
Much better looking than its ancestor the Mark II, this Toyota shouts business unusual. Its conservative looks and great ride give it that boyish speed ride charm that comes from performance-oriented design. This car sports a magnificent V6 engine with a 6 speed sequential gearbox that transfers all the power to the rear however there are options to this in the Mark X 4 wheel drive that offers better driving dynamics. This car was introduced in Japan as an alternative to the Camry for those looking for a rear wheel drive front engine option with optional 4-wheel drive.
The Fuga has been made to be unassuming. Although many people still prefer the first generation Fuga the new Fuga still looks good with the exception of the back that makes the car look like the face of a Pokémon monster. However other than that the curves are all in the right places and the headlights were well designed to give the car a very sleek look that denotes executive but not typical executive. Somehow when you look at the car you get the sense that driving that car will not be business as usual. The Mark X is not too bad either especially when you look at the 2009-year model. I like the Mark X mainly because it looks like a hybrid between the Bugatti and a Volkswagen beetle. Maybe it’s because the mark x has been in the market for longer but that magic look is no longer there and it doesn’t help the design when they made the car more mainstream in design as from 2009.
Both cars have a nice interior however Nissan takes it with the interior mainly because of the material they use to deck up the dashboard. Everything about the interior feels very premium and nicely held together with soft touch material all over. The middle console in the Nissan has been placed at a very nice position making it easier to control the many buttons even while driving since everything is near eye level. The only thing you need to watch out with the Nissan is that the soft touch material used on top of the dashboard peels off or bubbles off when hit by the sun for long periods of time. The Mark X on the other hand has a simplistic design with few buttons and very nice trims on the dashboard. The Mark X interior would appeal to a more mature individual who does not require a lot of distractions during the drive. Fewer buttons, high quality long lasting interior and good color coordination makes the car’s executive look pop. However Toyota should look towards reducing the amount of hard plastic on the dash that takes away from the premium feel of the car.
Engine and Performance
The Mark X shares the same engine platform as the Toyota crown, the Lexus IS 350. The 2.5L version which is the most popular one in Kenya produces about 200 BHP with specific horsepower numbers of 80 BHP per Liter while the more common 2.5L Nissan Fuga produces around 220 BHP with specific horsepower figures of 88.1L per liter. Hence the Nissan Fuga has a bit more power however the Fuga is disadvantaged by a bit more weight since it weighs about 180Kg more than the Mark X.
If you are looking for a bit more grunt the Mark X offers a 3.5L V6 engine version that produces up to 312 BHP at 6400 rpm and the Fuga offers a 3.5L V6 309 BHP at 6800 RPM or the 4.5L version that produces 328 BHP which is quite disappointing given the size of it, we have all seen what Nissan can do with an engine even smaller 3.8L engine in the Nissan GTR yet they were only able to extract half that power from a 4.5 L engine in this version of the Fuga.
Hence in this context the Fuga would perform better the smaller the engine however the larger the engines the better the Mark X gets mainly due to the lighter frame supporting the car.
Reliability and consumption
The Mark X performs better in this metric since the Nissan Fuga is much more of a guzzler possibly due to the additional weight (All that interior beauty comes at a price), our real world driving put the Mark X about 3kms per liter better than the Fuga. In terms of reliability it all depends on how you use the car however given Toyota’s wide spread usage in Kenya the parts would be easier to come by as opposed to those of the Fuga. Actually you may be forced to buy some parts from Nissan Kenya. The Fuga is also lower hence it can be quite an inconvenience to drive around our Kenyan roads so on this aspect the Mark X would make a bit more sense.
Both of these cars are capable, if you are looking for something a bit more predictable then go for the Mark X, however if all factors don’t matter to you other than the sheer driving pleasure the Fuga would be a better car albeit the worse resale value, but who buys a sports sedan as an investment to sell later? I don’t know. For me I know I wouldn’t want to be ordinary, I wouldn’t want to have what everybody else has so am sure you can guess what I would prefer….