Japanese soccer moms, rejoice!

Nissan started selling a hybrid version of the Serena in Japan this week, the first time Japan's best-selling minivan has gotten the green treatment.

The Serena S-Hybrid gets 15.2 kilometers per liter in two-wheel-drive mode (there's also a four-wheel-drive version), which equals about 36 miles per gallon (on the lenient Japanese driving cycles) and is about 25 percent more fuel-efficient than the conventional Serena.

That improved fuel economy will cost you, since the Serena S-Hybrid starts at about 2.38 million yen ($30,250), compared to the gasoline-powered version's base price of 2.16 million yen ($27,500). The conventional Serena sold about 50,000 units in Japan during the first half of the year. Nissan first unveiled concept versions of the Serena hybrid in late 2010.

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Nissan Releases Serena S-HYBRID

YOKOHAMA, Japan (August 1, 2012) - Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. today announced the launch of the new Serena S-HYBRID, which goes on sale today nationwide at Nissan dealers throughout Japan.

The Nissan Serena has been acclaimed by customers for its roomy cabin and ease of use as a minivan for the family, remaining in the No.1 position in minivan sales*1 in Japan for calendar year 2011, fiscal year 2011 and for the first half of calendar year 2012.

The S-HYBRID (which stands for "smart" and "simple" hybrid) powertrain equipped in the Serena is a simple and compact hybrid system. It mounts an upgraded version of the ECO motor used in the existing Serena, and serves as an auxiliary motor to increase power output and power generation capabilities. The hybrid system also adds a sub battery for increased storage capacity, which fits in the current engine compartment. Mounting the entire hybrid system inside the existing engine space maintains the key features of the Serena, such as largest-in-class cabin and flexible seat configurations. Serena S-HYBRID achieves best-in-class*1 fuel economy (15.2km/L in JC08 mode on 2WD), and is the only model in its class to be exempted from Japan's automobile acquisition and weight taxes*2.

Serena S-HYBRID also features blue headlight inner lenses, high-intensity LED rear combination lights, a clear LED High Mount Stop Lamp and exclusive graphic icons in the Multi Graphic Upper Meter. The many interior and exterior features of the Serena S-HYBRID enhance its appeal, yet it remains affordably priced.

In conjunction with the launch of the Serena S-HYBRID, all non-hybrid Nissan Serena grades will introduce new features such as standard Emergency Locking Retractor (ELR) 3-point seatbelts for the center seats in the 2nd and 3rd rows, and fuel-efficient tires*3 that reduce rolling resistance for improved fuel efficiency. The One-Touch Auto Slide Door function for the sliding door on the left side of the vehicle, requested by many customers, is now standard on the Highway Star grades (2WD/4WD).

Thanks to the improved fuel economy, 4WD grades with the Idling Stop system will be newly eligible for a 75 reduction*4 in both taxes.

Based on the dual-pillar strategy of "zero emissions" and PURE DRIVE*5, Nissan is continuing its efforts to reduce the CO2 emissions of its product lineup. Serena is one of the Nissan's PURE DRIVE models, as it features the S-HYBRID model (for 2WD grades) and Idling Stop system (for 4WD grades).

Price range: S-HYBRID - 2,384,550 yen to 2,799,300 yen, including consumption tax Non-hybrid grades - 2,163,000 yen to 2,832,900 yen, including consumption tax

*1: Minivan refers to vehicles which are made in Japan with three rows of seats. (Minivan sales ranking data are based on Nissan figures.) A total of 53,106 units were sold in the first half of 2012.
*2: 2.0L class minivan for eight passengers (with three rows of seats). (As of July 2012, according to Nissan.) Tax exemptions are based on preferential tax breaks under the Japanese "tax system to promote the diffusion of environmentally friendly vehicles."
*3: Tire manufacturers and sizes differ by grade.
*4: For details regarding the preferential tax breaks under the Japanese "tax system to promote the diffusion of environmentally friendly vehicles", please refer to Nissan Serena special website.
*5: PURE DRIVE vehicles are designed to deliver new excitement, creating a new experience and surprise in everyday driving, by combining various vehicles with eco-technologies.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      Levine Levine
      • 2 Hours Ago
      Toyota will soon counter Nissan with a hybrid Siena powered by a slightly larger 4 banger. Honda will continue to humiliate itself by offering the Odyseey with the stinky IMA. I wouldn't be surprise if Toyota unveils a hybrid pickup.
      Mike G
      • 2 Hours Ago
      I have been waiting for a hybrid van for years...last year I gave up and replaced an 02 odyssey with a 11 sienna. City mileage is about 10% better and highway mileage is about 20% better (with my driving style). Overall mileage is low but we use it for long highway trips with 5 riders so the miles per passenger per gallon are pretty good. It would be great to be able to boost those numbers another 25%.....
      Ford Future
      • 2 Hours Ago
      IT's really at the point where Everyone should be buying at least a Hybrid, or EV.
        • 2 Hours Ago
        @Ford Future
        I would like to see Toyota try something on the Van side, but work from the Prius C principle. A mini-van costing $35K - $40K is going to keep a LOT of less well to do families out of the market, however if they could build something with minimal extras and keep the price down, then we might see some genuine movement. Also - as shown by nearly EVERY other hybrid out there, it has to be its own vehicle or else it won't sell (see Ford). Expanding the Prius line to include a mini-van would be a nifty idea
      • 2 Hours Ago
      Why the EFF don't we have this here? A van getting high gas mileage?
        • 2 Hours Ago
        EZEE Ditto ! Absolutely, way to go Nissan !
        • 2 Hours Ago
        Although, they did say based on the Japanese rating which rated the Prius about 76 mpg. Which is not realistic, at least not here. So to apply a rough estimate of a drop it's probably closer to 24 mpg than 36.
          • 2 Hours Ago
          Interesting. I wonder how that would compare with an eco-boost engine...?
      • 2 Hours Ago
      Something more practical than a Leaf, the way to go.
      Actionable Mango
      • 2 Hours Ago
      Is that last row face to face? I wish there was a picture of it with seats down in the gallery.