Reliable, sensible cars for sensible people
Leaking rear wheel cylinder (35000 miles).
I have to say first off I think these little cars are seriously underrated.
Understated 'cuddly' looks ensure you shouldn't draw too much unwanted attention, and the lack of 'youth appeal' is a big plus point in my opinion.
The only thing so far to have gone wrong is listed above: not unreasonable on a five year old car anyway. Superb reliability, just can't find fault!
Very little maintenance has been necessary, except for changing the oil and filter every 3000 miles/six months, which has to be the golden rule on these chain driven 16V engines. I always make a point of sticking religiously to this as it is certainly the most important preventative measure you can take for the long term reliability of the engine. And it is not a difficult job either. (Use a good quality semi-synthetic oil).
Performance is great for a one litre; twin cam engine revs sweetly and pulls well. Much quicker and more fun to drive than my old Polo 1050cc, and more economical too!
Ride and handling may perhaps fall a bit behind some of the newer super-minis, but are perfectly acceptable. Grips road and brakes very well.
Delightfully smooth and light gear change.
Upright driving position ensures good visibility.
Painless to own - just does everything well. No really annoying points.
Running costs are as low as you will find for a car of its age. Fuel consumption is very reasonable, as is insurance (group 3).
Bad points? Well, build quality and finish is not quite up to the best Germanic standards. Whilst everything has stayed in place so far (interior trim, etc.), there are one or two rattles in the cabin. Check the paint work carefully when choosing one. Check for 'misses' in engine compartment and other out-of-the-way areas, and for faded finish on red models - mine is oxidising already on bonnet. (Being kept outside all the time can't have helped here...)
I also recommend waxoiling the underside, as there is no factory underseal / weather protection, and the UK climate will quickly take its toll if it is left exposed.
Very reasonable second hand prices now makes these a wise choice used - a same aged Polo (my second choice at the time) costs a lot more.
Service items I have purchased so far (all original Nissan parts) have not been particularly cheap, but not too overpriced either. But, with this models rock-solid reputation for reliability, you shouldn't need to buy too many parts, should you...
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 14th July, 2001