1998 Nissan Primera CVT M6 2.0 from Australia and New Zealand
Highly underrated, and well worth getting
LH front window not working when we bought it; easily fixed by cleaning the plugs to the wiring loom on the motor.
Front sway bar drop links worn and thumping going over bumps.
Power steering hose disintegrated due to age, about $350 to get replaced, as it had to be specially made (OEM Nissan one was horrendously expensive).
Starter motor finally sucked a big Kumara at 175,000 km, after making nasty noises for what must have been at least a year beforehand. This is a job best left to those with the right gear like hoists or inspection pits, as the clearances and access is restrictive.
Had it tuned two weeks ago, and needed a new O2 sensor, and will need the knock sensor replaced before too long as well.
Styling is bland and inoffensive, but looks nicer with the factory body kit.
Front seats are comfortable and supportive.
The engine is the SR20DE NEO with variable valve timing, and supposedly puts out 180hp.
CVT is a bit sluggish if you need to nail it when overtaking, but gives great highway economy. At 100km/h (speed limit in NZ) it's ticking over at 2100RPM. The "Tiptronic" mode is useful when driving through the twisty bits, and gives a bit more control, but usually just leaving it in auto covers most situations. When descending steep grades at lower speeds (50km/h), the gearbox will reduce the ratio so that it gives engine braking.
NZ's course chip road surfaces create a lot of noise and harshness; this can be tiresome on long trips. I think a decent set of tyres would improve things all round on that score.
Prior to this we had a Primera P10 TE, which is a Japanese import version with extra stiff suspension and sports seats. We really liked that car, but needed a wagon. We had a quick dalliance with a Nissan Stagea 25X, but fuel costs saw that being hocked off after a few months and the P11 taking its place. It's not quite as stiffly sprung as the P10, but even so, people still comment on how 'hard riding' it is. The steering has more weight to it than the P10, and it's more like a European car than Japanese one.
It's now 14 years old, and I guess the day will come when it needs to be replaced, but I just can't imagine what with. My wife and I like driving this car, and finding something equally enjoyable is going to be a big ask.
The main downside of the CVT, is that it can't be used for towing, and can be expensive if it sucks a big lemon.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 15th August, 2012