2003 Nissan Almera SXE dCI 136 2.2 turbo diesel from UK and Ireland

Summary:

Brilliant fast, reliable, well-equipped hatch

Faults:

Headlight assembly collapsed... known fault with the car for which a Nissan recall was issued.

Rear brake caliper seized after five-and-a-half years, 72,000 miles. And not having been driven for three weeks!!

Radio aerial sheared off when I was trying to remove it.

CD stuck in player.

General Comments:

I absolutely loved this car, and kept it for about four and a half years. The Renault derived turbodiesel was very smooth and torquey, and quiet for a diesel I thought. Being a 2.2 litre engine seemed to give it a little more flexibility than some other competing 1.9 or 2.0 diesels, even if the figures don't necessarily suggest it. Performance on the motorway was outstanding, overtaking very easy, and the car was capable of cruising comfortably in excess of 70mph without feeling strained (100mph = around 3000rpm).

Being the SXE, the amount of equipment was excellent, especially the integrated sat nav. Very comfortable semi-sports seats, nicely weighted steering, and slick, positive six-speed gearbox.

Fuel economy was good, if not the best for a diesel. Motorway driving gave up to 60mpg if driven carefully, mid 40s if driven more enthusiastically. Over the 45,000 miles I drove, I averaged just about 40mpg across all types of driving. Car was serviced at local independent dealer every 10,000 miles or so for a very reasonable price, never had any reason to take the car back to Nissan. Never used any oil apart from scheduled changes, and very little black smoke compared to some diesels.

Only real criticisms were that the rear legroom is tight for adults, and the ride can be crashy if the car is fully loaded, as the rear suspension seemed to have slightly too little travel.

If Nissan still made a car like this I would have had no hesitation buying another, sadly they don't. The Almera generally has a bit of a reputation as reliable but boring, however, I found the SXE to be great to drive, very very fast, and good looking with the standard body kit, spoiler and alloy wheels.

Needless to say, Nissan generally have a reputation for building very reliable cars, and this was no exception, nothing serious ever went wrong.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 16th August, 2009

2nd Sep 2009, 07:11

Excellent review - the reviewer highlights all the best aspects of this seriously underrated car. I own a 2004 SXE and am extremely pleased with it so far. It is great to look at, easy to drive, powerful and well equipped. Only done 30k miles so I'm looking forward to lots more dynamic but comfortable driving.

19th May 2012, 04:23

It's not a Renault or Renault derived engine. It's a Nissan VDI unit.

2003 Nissan Almera S 1.6 from UK and Ireland

Summary:

Reliable

Faults:

Nothing as yet!

General Comments:

I bought a Nissan for reliability as I was commuting 44 miles a day down the M4, and it hasn't let me down as nothing has gone wrong yet!

The only let down is boot space; my husband can only just get his golf clubs in, and now we have a baby the pushchair takes up the boot space and nothing else can fit in.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 16th March, 2008

2003 Nissan Almera Visia Plus 1.5 from Hungary

Summary:

Much better than I thought it would be!!

Faults:

Nothing.

General Comments:

It has so far been fantastic.

The car handles real well and it is fun to drive. The steering is accurate and the ride is smooth.

The atmosphere of the interior is acceptable (very well equipped), even though, some of the materials could be of a better quality.

The engine is a bit lazy under 3000 rpm, but shows impressive strength up to about 4500. According to this, it gets a bit noisy inside too.

The seats are big enough and they are comfortable even for longer trips.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 20th April, 2005

2003 Nissan Almera Flare from UK and Ireland

Summary:

Bargain for the deaf

Faults:

Nothing.

General Comments:

Handling is very good. The engine performance is OK for a 1.5. Seats are excellent, as is the safety kit. I cannot get the published fuel economy (or anywhere near it) being about 20% more thirsty than Nissan say. It is EXTREMELY noisy and I cannot wait to get rid of it for this reason. It is making us deaf and YES Nissan have checked it over.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 4th January, 2004

19th Aug 2011, 11:55

Noisy? Even the diesel engine is quiet and refined.