1998 Nissan Primera CVT M6 2.0 from Australia and New Zealand

Summary:

Highly underrated, and well worth getting

Faults:

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.

General Comments:

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

1998 Nissan Primera GT 2.0 petrol from UK and Ireland

Summary:

Cheap, fast-ish, reliable

Faults:

Rear O/S caliper seized.

N/S front electric window intermittent fault.

Original tape head unit display intermittent fault (yup, so few issues I had to include this!)

General Comments:

Much underestimated due to slightly bland looks.

If you can get over the fact that this isn't the best looking large hatch on the market, I don't think you could do much better for the money.

Very good build quality, great handling, good performance, smooth engine, never missed a mechanical beat.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 24th August, 2010

1998 Nissan Primera CVT m6 Sr20ve from Australia and New Zealand

Summary:

Underated gem!

Faults:

Nothing (touch wood).

General Comments:

Strong performing car.

After owning a Subaru Legacy RSK before from a dealer for 3 years, and suffering close to 7000NZD of repairs, I sold it at just 120ks. Note, don't buy a Legacy with turbos over 110; as soon as they hit 90k, save cash ASAP! Anyway, I bought that car for 14000, sold for 9000 (manuals hold more value than autos). Had my eyes on a Primera that had done 125ks for 6500! Bargain!

I had enough cash to see out any problems this car would have, but so far NOTHING, it's incredible to finally own a car that hasn't given me a problem. Owned Subarus, Mitsus, Mazdas, Hondas and even Toyotas. Never had a Nissan; first Nissan, and so far so good.

Mine has the CVT m6 gearbox, with the added power from the sr20ve; great combo on the motorways and state highways in NZ.

Space is OK, same as my old Legacy.

Comparing the Legacy RSK before to the Primera, well the Legacy has more power; 280hp manual twin turbo, while the Primera has 190hp CVT, no turbo, but that's the only plus for the Subi.

The Primera for 20000ks has been so reliable, I haven't seen my mechanic since Sept, and that was for a oil change, has easily passed the WoFs, which I had trouble with my Legacy.

I took the car long distance; without 4wd I thought handling would be average like most FWD, but this was sensational, and the gearbox is amazing, in traffic it's a little jerky as it struggles to find the right ratio, but enter the motorway and it's awesome. The engine is great, added a Blitz exhaust, A/M ECU, podfilter intake, bigger injectors, platinum sparks; given the Primera more than the factory 190hp, has a great sound, especially after 4000rpm.

With a manual gearbox, this would be a seriously good car, will be saving for a conversion.

Pace 0-100kms about 8 seconds, beats my partner's Altezza equipped with the beams RS engine.

In all, I'm very happy with this car, not many left (thanks a lot Labour), so if you want good reliable fun, and again a RELIABLE car, get a Primera!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 17th March, 2010

18th Mar 2010, 01:05

You've got the CVT Primera?? I'd start saving if I were you. Those CVTs are not the most robust. Ask mechanics about CVTs. Recent-model ones, maybe OK -- but those first generation CVTs are not as robust as a normal automatic gearbox. Good luck.