Advantages Value, Practicality, Running costs, Handling
Disadvantages Image, Hard ride, Turning circle
Let's get the obvious out of the way - if you are looking for charachter and good looks then look away now! But if like me you are appreciate vale for money, reliability, and practicality then keep reading! (In fact I won't waste your time commenting on the exterior looks - decide for yourself on that one!)That might be a little unfair on the 'Sport' model which tries hard to please with decent equipment levels, nice alloys, and full exterior colour coding. But if only Nissan didn't fill their cars with acres of tiresome grey plastics they seem to get from the same suppliers as the Korean manufacturers.
I purchased my metallic blue Primera privately in 2005 for £3500 with a full MOT and just 45000 miles on the clock. Immediately you can start to see that it's a lot of metal for your money. The value doesn't stop with the purchase price - servicing is cheap, insurance is reasonable, and in my weekly job of driving round Norfolk I could easily return 39mpg.It's a practical car with decent legroom all round and a deep boot. Rear headroom is a little tight - don't stick your father-in-law in the back if he's more than 5'10".
Equipment levels are quite good, but my car didn't have a CD player. BEWARE - there is NO after-market CDmulti-disc player available for this car - I had Halfords trying to fit one in my car for over a month before they gave up, and the Nissan changer is £350. The only solution would have been a standard single player in the dashboard but this would have meant making the interior uglier that it already is. TOP TIP: Get one with a CD player already fitted or buy a Sport 'Plus' model.The driving position is excellent and the seats are about the best thing about the car - supportive, fully adjustable, and really well made. Try not to stare at the upholstery design for too long though - it's a cross between a 1983 'Athena' poster, and a modern painting hanging in The Tate!!!
The gearbox is a little sloppy but the engine is smooth and pulls well throughout the rev range - I was just surprised that it never felt as quick as the figures would suggest. The handling is firm and there's bags of grip - but it's sometimes too firm, and the car 'jumped' out of potholes. Wind noise is fine, but tire noise is dreadful - the worst tire noise I have ever had in a car. TOP TIP: Not a car for long or frequent motorway journeys.This may also not be a car for frequent town users, or those with a tight driveway, as the Primera has simply the worst turning circle you could imagine!!! TOP TIP: Try parking manoevers when you test drive.
If i seem negative then I may have been a little harsh - you have to keep reminding yourself of the purchase price. The Primera Sport is cracking value despite it's downfalls - if you've £2000 to £4000 to spend on a family car then it should be on your 'maybe' list.Rick
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