1996 Nissan Primera LX 2.0 petrol from Norway


Cheap and lively car, built to low standards


Clutch replaced at 145000km (expected and calculated into purchase price).

Window wiper spring broke.

Servo pump leakage.

Windshield not watertight (known issue with mounting plates).

Suspension parts, exhaust and handbrake maintenance.

General Comments:

Very lively, strong engine - even though it is only rated at 120hp or so.

Light car, good mileage (~7l/100km).

Excellent visibility - good old station wagon.

Pleasant no-BS exterior design.

Very cheap used car, very low insurance cost.

Good baggage space, tradeoff with miserable passenger space in the back. Steep, uncomfortable seatback. Second row only suitable for small children.

Nice, big buttons, but sometimes strangely placed.

Uncomfortable seats up front, designed for small people.

Material quality is awful and resembles a cheap 1990s stereo in the dashboard. No buttons are lit up. Carpets are bad. No effort made to stop rubber mats on the floor from moving around.

No fastening points whatsoever for the baggage. Had to bore holes myself. Generally not thought-through solutions.

Car is extremely prone to rust and has incredibly thin sheet metal. Especially if your former car was a Volvo, like mine. General feeble built quality - the whole car twists under hard acceleration.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 14th February, 2013

1996 Nissan Primera GX 1.6 from UK and Ireland




No breakdowns in 35,000 miles. Has had slight hesitation between 1-2,000 revs, but have not bothered to investigate it, as it's not that bad.

Ultra-reliable car that has required no work other than routine maintenance - new battery, oil & filter changes, brake pads, fuel filter.

General Comments:

Primeras have very good handling, and are easy to drive.

The 1.6 engine has enough power for this 40 year old driver. It has enough power for overtaking and general driving, but it's definitely not a performance car.

I previously had a 2.0 automatic Primera, which was OK, but had very poor fuel economy, averaging 26 mpg. My 1.6 manual averages 38, and gets around 43 mpg on the motorway at 70 mph. That's near diesel economy.

Comfort is OK, but all P11 Primeras are noisy. At 60 mph the noise is tolerable, but at 70+ the engine noise is quite obtrusive. Fitting soundproofing would probably help with this.

Overall, buy this car if you want something that will be extremely reliable and cheap to run. It'll never be a car that you love, and it's not for you if you want luxury or sportiness.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 4th March, 2012

8th Jun 2013, 17:46

Update - the car conked out at 138,000 miles. A £30 distributor from a scrapyard fixed the problem; not a big deal.

It failed the MoT for the first time a couple of months ago due to it acquiring non-factory spec ventilation (holes in both sills). I had them patched inexpensively by a local welder, and the Primera is good to go for another year.

Very cheap motoring; so far depreciation has only cost around £100 per year, and parts / welding have only cost another £100 in total over the last three and a half years.

1996 Nissan Primera SLX hatchback 2.0d from Bulgaria


Excellent Japanese engine combined with average English assembly


Except consumables (filters, belts, belt pulleys, etc.) : I've revised all the front suspension, changed disks & pads, changed rear wheel-bearings, changed rear shock-absorbers. Although much of the changes were done proactively it weared to the metal threads front tyres during last year (2007) vacation trip, now fixed.

Front lights mix short and long range.

Aircon leaks slightly coolant, needs to be re-filled every summer.

Rust starts to appear on several places.

The only strong thing is the engine (engine code CD20) - no sign of wear, no oil spots, sounds pretty silent and potent for an 12-year old diesel, I suppose it will go another 200K without any problem, meanwhile the everything else will collapse.

I'm also driving a 5 year old Mazda 626 GF & a 15 year old Mazda 323 Station Wagon (built in Japan) and I can compare the differences. Japanese vehicle built outside Japan loses at least half ot its advantages.

General Comments:

The interior is pretty comfortable. The trunk is big and well shaped - I can fit a big TV box right from the trolley.

The car is heavy for its atmospheric diesel engine, quite slow on the traffic lights, but once on the motorway cruises fairly good and economical. You had to adjust your driving behaviour to it though.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 15th May, 2008

14th Oct 2009, 21:08

I would like to know what kind of mileage did the CD20 give on the Primera. I have fitted a CD20 in my car here in India recently and am in the process of testing the mileage. Do let me know if you have the time.


Sasi Menon, Jaipur, India.