1997 Nissan Primera GT 2.0 SR20DE from UK and Ireland

Faults:

An important, but relatively unknown common fault is the drive shafts snapping at 140-150 thousand miles. Very expensive dealer replace, go to a parts company and it will be a lot cheaper!

NOTE: This is the reason there are many Primera GTs in the scrap-yards without driver's side drive shafts! I paid £70 for mine inc. delivery and VAT, the dealer wanted near £500, go figure.

Clutch is becoming slightly soft, but after some pretty hard miles (track/long distance) that is to be expected (157,000 miles on the clock).

Front multi-link bushings started to all wear out, however the links are usually the same price as the bushings (in total) and can be found on most part companies inventories.

Tyres do not last a long time at all (Falken soft compound, 6 months!), but that is to be expected from this car.

Small amount of corrosion under the spoiler as most Primeras have, black vinyl strip on the outer edge of the B pillar has peeled away : (

General Comments:

Essentially an evolution of the Bluebird, the Primera is actually quite a special package in an otherwise bland shell (although the phase 3 (P11) GT looks rather eye catching IMHO).

The suspension layout was all new and a very very good match of some of Nissan's best road suspension at the time. Rear is a multi-link semi-independent beam axle, and the front is a multi-link / double wishbone hybrid.

The suspension gives the Primera the BEST handling in its class, much better than the 405 (which handles very well indeed) and the Carina E GTi (the superstrut was designed for a McPherson 'upgrade' instead of having a dedicated sport suspension).

This is really a driver's car for those that require 4 seats. A LOT of room in it for its small-ish shell, and fantastic front end grip. If you know what you are doing, then please enjoy the lift-off oversteer responsibly :)

Interior is actually quite well designed for a japanese car, yet if you spent the time to trim it and colour code, you would have a fantastic interior to behold!

I only have two problems with this car in general.

1) The factory CD changer uses a Nissan specific plug, which is a pain in the ass if you want to put a new head unit in; get the electronics kit out or look for an adapter.

2) It is VERY under-powered. The drive is excellent, but the GT model only produces 150 BHP. This isn't terrible and the car can still surprise most drivers, yet the 0-60 time comes in at OVER 8 seconds (do not believe anything else), and it is definitely not as quick as the faster cars in the class (405, Carina GTi, Mondeo V6 etc...)

However, it seems Nissan set the engine up for mid range torque and not high power; the engine is a fantastic design, and tuning companies have had very similar success to that of the Vauxhall/Cosworth C20XE unit, so do not despair!

Just get a good head and new cams all mapped, and you can easily reach 170/180 bhp with a really good job done!

Either that, or put an SR20VE in...

Summary: Fantastic, love it, hate the lack of shove.

Get low profile tyres with 17s or so, some grooved discs (standard ones fade very quickly), and perhaps some shocks/springs (standards are very good, but you *can* get better), and tune the thing to about 180 BHP, and you will never need another car again.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 19th June, 2007

1997 Nissan Primera Precision 1.6L 16v from UK and Ireland

Summary:

Functional, reliable and cheap

Faults:

In over four years, three years consistently with 2 hours per day driving, this car has been remarkable.

Aside from the occasional exhaust and tyre replacement, it has ever needed an alternator replacement (2006). Reliability excellent, running costs very low (40mpg). It has never required the attention of a Nissan dealer, so cannot comment on their costs.

General Comments:

Has done everything requested of it. While not a head-turner, it handles well and has plenty of space for family, and good boot. Metallic paint, no rust. Security includes standard immobiliser.

Mine is a P10E model. Only driver's airbag, and no air con. Would like to update, but cannot find a good reason to. Loathe to try the bulky, tank-like current Primera series (difficult for my wife to drive as well, I guess). May try a P11 - after this experience, I will stick with Nissan or Volvo (previous car).

The Nissan is comfortable on long journeys, for drivers and passengers.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 12th May, 2007