2001 Nissan Avenir Blastar W11 SR20DE 2.0L inline four from Australia and New Zealand
Worth the money for under $4k NZD
Slipping noise/feeling when taking off at low speed. Had the CVT looked at by a specialist who couldn't find anything wrong... Other than the fact that the factory transmission fluid was still in the car (after 174'000KM!!!). Had this issue since purchase, but hasn't affected performance or anything.
Starter motor started to die at 191'000KM. Had it reconditioned at a cost of $350NZD from the Nissan dealer. Works like new now.
Nice and roomy, the middle seats fold down completely flat, which makes it ideal for carrying large loads. I've used the roof rack to carry loads as well, which adds to the appeal for snowboarders/skiers/surfers etc. Have had it packed to the brim with gear and it still runs okay.
Not very good fuel economy. Surprising thirsty actually! Does about 10L/100KM, which is right up there with 3L V6 engines (CVT transmission to blame?).
Dual-front airbags and ABS means it's in the cheapest registration category in New Zealand (so rego is about $110 a year). Insurance is about standard $30 a month (insured for $3k).
The turning circle on it is an absolute pig!! Be prepared for a lot of 3+ point turns. You find better turning circles on most vans/trucks than you do for the Avenir. At least it's easy to see out of the vehicle with a nice even height for the windows all around the vehicle.
Dual-door boot is a bonus. Works with your car key at the rear or a switch on the driver's side. Nice and handy for loading groceries etc.
Decent ground clearance - however the rear sags a bit. Due to this I've had a lot of scrapes on the concrete/kerbs.
CVT transmission seems to be the failing point of these vehicles. Go for a manual or traditional automatic option if you can.
The 2002 Avenir Blastar has the SR20DE and is the last year that this engine was used. Makes it very common/cheap to get parts from the likes of wrecked Bluebirds/Pulsars/etc. Chain-driven cams is a nice bonus too.
The Avenir Blastar has the nicer interior and the ATTESA system for engaging 4WD in slippery conditions. Haven't had to use it yet, but it's a nice bonus.
All-in-all it has been a great family car. Having the extra space is a huge bonus, especially for a young family (strollers/baby gear/camping gear etc.) Fuel economy and ease-of-use leave a bit to be desired, but for the price you get reliability and convenience. A good trade-off.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 9th February, 2016
14th Sep 2018, 21:58
Update: Now at 214,000km.
Front shocks wore out, very expensive to replace at $360 each. Compare this to the 2WD Avenir which is $120 each to replace.
Do not go with Munroe Shock #23872 - is the wrong shock for the car!
Front engine mount replaced, $200 for the Nissan part.
Tried to find a replacement vehicle but didn't have any luck. The good looks, the visibility, the 4WD system, all of it. I like this car, it's just so damn handy! Will update again if I make it to 300,000km!