1999 Nissan Primera 2.0 petrol from UK and Ireland

Summary:

Fuss free, cheap and practical

Faults:

Radio works on one side only.

Starter motor is sticking when cold.

Wiper motor fails to return wiper to off position unless operating stalk is held down.

Slight ticking from cold, which I suspect is the exhaust manifold.

General Comments:

Though this car has been in my ownership for a relatively short time, it belonged to a friend for the previous six years. It had 40000 miles on it at the time, and he used it for business trips all round the UK. Apart from the faults listed above, which have materialised recently, nothing outside of servicing and consumables have ever been required. He didn't drive it with a great of sympathy either.

The fact the car still starts first time, runs well and has proved totally reliable, is a testament to its integrity.

To drive, the car feels solid with an unrushed, composed feel.

The CVT transmission changes 'up' very early on, giving a sluggish feel when moving off. Using the sport button doesn't alter this initial poor response. Overall performance is adequate, to achieve reasonable progress quite a lot of throttle has to be applied to keep the engine turning over at sufficient rpm. This can be quite noisy.

On the upside, cruising is relaxed with extremely low mph/1000 rpm, given a sensitive foot. 100 mph at just over 3000 rpm is possible.

Fuel consumption is dependent on driving style - 35 mpg is a reasonable average given a mix of motorway and town use.

Handling does not feel especially inspiring to start off with. It's not exactly wieldy, but stick with it and it can go round corners with surprising grip and poise.

The ride however is lumpen, and sometimes feels short in vertical movement. This might be to do with the mileage however.

Turning circle is simply atrocious, the worst I have ever experienced. Quite how this oversight emerged when previous models have been widely used as taxis is astonishing.

Lots of room inside. Boot is usefully large.

A personal opinion, but the dashboard is a slightly wacky design. Ventilation is poor and hard to fathom out properly. Seats however are very good, even at this age and mileage.

In summary, a great hackabout car, reliable and still capable.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 22nd April, 2011

14th Apr 2013, 04:06

Handbrake Pivot: If it starts to seize, fit a new caliper; you can't lubricate it, I tried for hours, and fitted second hand calipers; they packed after a few months.

Why isn't there a grease nipple? There is obviously no way it could affect the brake fluid, because if the grease could get through, the brake fluid would leak the other way.

Just to check the state of the hand brake pivot, I cut the pin out. It was covered in rust and the rubber seal was perished.

To facilitate insertion of the ram seal, cut 3/4" off a 11/4" waste pipe coupling (the narrow part in between the ends). Cut it the other way, so it is like a letter 'C', squeeze it together so the ends of the 'C' cross over.

Place it inside the seal, the end nearest to you, let go and pull it apart so the ends touch, making a circle, and insert the seal into the ram orifice. The ram will easily fit through. GM

1999 Nissan Primera Sport+ Auto/Tiptronic 2.0 litre petrol from UK and Ireland

Summary:

Sheer driving pleasure!

Faults:

Only the usual service and consumable items have needed changing such as tyres, brakes discs and pads, and the odd bit of body trim where the previous owner had damaged it.

The parts that I did need to replace that cost a lot of money were the remote locking plip key - this was £150 from Nissan, and the EGR pipe from the exhaust manifold to the EGR valve was cracked and blowing out exhaust gasses; noisy as well. This small pipe was £60 from Nissan (just to supply, not to fit...I did that myself) which I consider a real rip off. This is clearly the Renault influence, as Nissan is now owned by Renault (I believe) and Renault parts have always been sheer extortion.

The radio LCD display tends to be a little unreliable; it fades out in cold weather so I cannot read it. My old Mondeo did this as well, so I was a little annoyed to find that this car had the same problem.

The 6 CD multichanger does not like playing CD's that I record myself on my PC either.

Had to change the pollen filter as the previous owner had never done this in 100,000 miles - it was totally clogged! No wonder the car was always misting up inside. This always gets neglected on services and is hidden away in ducting behind the glovebox, but took me 10 minutes to change - filter is £15 from Nissan.

Considering I only paid £675 for the car off Ebay, and spent £700 putting it right replacing the parts above and giving it a good service, I have still got a really good car for my money, which subsequently flew through the MOT.

General Comments:

I am very impressed with this car, as it drives very nicely and I like the CVT auto box very much. It's so different from driving a conventional automatic, but the only downside is that acceleration is not brilliant at 11 seconds from 0-60. The manual is 2 seconds quicker than this. However, I am now 36 and my days of driving like a loony are over and in general, I am perfectly happy with its performance. I would say that this CVT Tiptronic box is well worth the small sacrifice in overall speed, as it is so much easier to drive than a manual and so smooth in how it works.

The interior is very well laid out and seems very well screwed together with no rattles; considering the car has done 100,000 miles, this shows how durable Nissans are. I particularly like the climate control, usually only range topping models get this, but all models in the 99 - 02 model range get it as standard. Well done Nissan for not being cheapskates.

The car has all the other bells and whistles, but does lack heated seats and cruise control, but I can't have it all for £675 now can I?

Slight areas of rust are apparent though over the front wheel arches - a common problem on all cars of this age and mileage and easily rubbed down and treated, but generally it's not too badly affected.

All in all a very good bargain. My Aunt had one from brand new (2000 model sport+ Auto) and had it for nearly 7 years with only a couple of minor hiccups. She was pleased with hers as well and only replaced it 2 years back with a Toyota Avensis, which is also a superb car.

However the big problem for Nissan is now that Renault are in the equation, modern Nissan have become unreliable, as I have seen by reading other reviews on here. Renault have not got a good track record where reliability and quality are concerned. Just read reviews on here from 2001 on, on the Laguna Mk2 and Megane Mk2 - just page after page of blue faces and angry dissatisfied customers. If this is what Nissan has now become, then this Primera will be my last and only Nissan, and I will go for Toyota next time.

Renault are a dreadful company and I have had a Renault in the past - it was a money pit, so never again.

To sum up, this Primera is a great car: handsome looks, reliable, and a pleasure to drive. But now that Renault have taken over, the dealer service is rubbish and parts prices have rocketed, so take this into account when buying any old Nissan.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 9th December, 2008

20th Dec 2008, 18:11

I thoroughly agree with these comments. I really like the look of the last Primera and have been tempted to buy one but reading the reviews of these models have put me off. I have owned older Nissans in the past, but will probably be sticking with Toyota for my next car (my 4th in a row from this marque).

5th May 2009, 02:54

I wrote the original review, now, 6 months on, I would like to add further to the original review.

The car still drives very well, and I have been very impressed with its performance, but other problems have come to light which have needed attention.

The first main problem concerned the front suspension, which started squeaking and creaking over bumps - I had to have both top suspension arms replaced and the Kingpin centre link bearings. The top links were not too expensive for aftermarket parts, but the Kingpin Centre Link was over £200 from the Nissan dealers and this was just to supply the part.

The second problem concerned the rear brakes which on my car are handbrake caliper type. The rear calipers on the Primera are renowned for sticking or seizing, which affects the handbrake and overheats the wheel. Reconditioned brake calipers are fairly priced, but the cost of new ones from the dealers are prohibitive. I had to have one of my calipers replaced due to seizure.

I would also point out that the timing chains on post September 1999 Primera models are made to a cheaper standard, due to the involvement of Renault with Nissan at this time, and regular 5000 mile oil changes are ESSENTIAL to prevent failure of the chain, which will write the engine off.

Besides this, I have had no other problems and still really enjoy driving this car - it is a really good handling car and I have no plans to get rid of it. I would recommend any Primera built before 2002 to anyone, but after 2002 with the newest Primera, the French influence of Renault was introduced and quality changed for the worst.