This is a car you'll slowly fall in love with. It's a total driver's car - it's set up to make you, the driver, feel happy about booting it around on real roads, in real traffic (the same can't be said of the new Renault-ified Primera range, which I test-drove and walked away from).
It handles very competently. It's crisp, but not difficult. If you tend to drive one-handed (other hand smoking or resting lazily on the gear stick) this car will see you through.
It also has plenty of poke, although you don't really see it until about 3,000rpm. 1st gear take off is adequate, 2nd gear sees it starting to growl nicely and 3rd gear will suddenly rocket you into motorway speeds. 4th and 5th are there for cruising.
The interior trim is... well, it's there. It's grey, it's unimaginative, but it's solidly built. And heck, who looks at the interior trim? If you're driving properly, your only contact with the insides of the car is by feel. The boot is ginormous, which is saying something since it's a saloon model. The hatchback variant (which was much more common) could happily transport entire villages.
And I'll also add that's driver-oriented - the centre console is subtly angled toward the driver's seat. If you've never driven a car set up like that, you'll be amazed how much easier it makes it to operate the stereo and heater controls while moving. Which are for you, dammit, not the passenger.
My Primera came with quite a few options - alloys, CD player, air-con and sunroof. My father happens to have a very similar model, but without the options, and everything I've said about mine applies to his too - so don't be put off if you find the down-specced version somewhere. It's still a very good, useful driver's car.