1999 Nissan Primera Sport+ 2.0 petrol from UK and Ireland


A major breakdown waiting to happen


Camshaft has gone at 63000 miles. This isn't good enough. I've been quoted £1000 to get it replaced.

The car has had regular oil changes and has a fully documented service history yet this happens. A LOW MILEAGE car that has been well looked after sounds like it's got a bag of spanners under the bonnet.

I warn you to stay away from the 2.0 petrol version at the very least.

General Comments:

I will never buy another Nissan as long as I live. I'm going back to Vauxhall as their engines are bomb proof.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 5th April, 2007

12th Dec 2008, 01:50

You go right ahead and buy a Vauxhall if you think your Primera is bad, but I'm sorry to say that the car I had most problems with was a 1998 Vauxhall Vectra 2.5 V6 SRi. Bombproof their engines certainly are NOT. My Vectra seized up due to oil pump failure. The 2.0 16v Ecotec engine as found in MANY Vauxhalls is a total DOG of an engine, it's about as bulletproof as an egg carton. They suffer from constant cambelt tensioner problems, oil leaks, rubbish Cam and crank sensors, dreadful engine management systems, the list goes on.

The Nissan Primera has one of the most reliable engines ever made, the 2.0 16v Chain Cam DOHC engine is a dream, you had a bad one I'm afraid, and from reading all the other satisfied drivers reviews on here, along with my own car which is a 1999 2.0 16v Primera sport+, you are in a very small minority of owners who have experienced problems with the camshaft.

I suggest you read the comments on this website about Vectras of a similar age and year, then tell us that Vauxhall engines are bombproof.

1999 Nissan Primera GT LE 2.0 petrol from UK and Ireland


Excellent value all rounder


Wouldn't start without a fight once when I left it in long-term parking near Luton airport - for a week in -6 temperatures. I think there was ice somewhere in the throttle body, choking the air supply. It sorted itself out once the engine got properly warmed up.

It needed some new tyres once.

New rear pads and discs, new front pads.

The drivers' side floor mat needs replacing as my left heel has worn a hole in it.

The leather on the bit of the drivers seat that is in contact with my right hip, has started to scuff.

Cigarette lighter never worked.

It eats bulbs.

General Comments:

Fairly quick, but not daft. It's a normally aspirated, 2 litre DOHC engine without VVL or VVT, so it's of paramount importance to keep the revs up in order to really give it beans, but if you do it is a good laugh to drive. There's decent torque in the 3000 to 6000 range, and the engine sounds different in this band too - you get a low hum escalating to a nice grunt. Under 3000 it's very quiet and relaxing to be in.

OK on running costs, servicing is cheap, parts are cheap, fuel economy depends entirely on the driver. If I drive with the revs under 3000 at all times, I'll get 30 mpg in an urban area. Drive like you stole it and it'll be down to 20 mpg. I can get 37 mpg on a motorway doing 75-90 mph.

Handles fairly well for such a solid, heavy car. Front wheel drive equals understeer, so you have to drive accordingly. There's great feedback through the controls - everything feels very direct and engaging to use. The stiff chassis and suspension emphasise this - although on bumpy roads this can be a little too unforgiving.

A great characteristic of this car is that it will judder and skip for quite a while before starting to slide, so it lets you know in plenty of time if you're pushing it too hard - of great use in wet conditions. If it does start sliding, all you do is lift off the gas and straighten the front wheels, and it snaps back.

The steering, although power-assisted, is heavy at low speed and the turning circle is quite large. The clutch is pretty heavy too, although I don't mind that too much. Parking or turning in tight places is bit of a pain.

The price is right - half as much as an equivalent A3, £1500 less than an equivalent Mondeo. Insurance is cheap as chips for what you get - 150 bhp and 0-60 in 8.5 from a group 9 car is pretty good. Great features for the money too - 6 cd changer, ABS, alloys, full electrics, sunroof, onboard computer, aircon, power steering, full leather, comfy as sports seats in the front, loads of room for rear passengers and a truly enormous boot with fold-down rear seats in a subtly sporty, yet fairly unassuming looking car.

Brilliantly reliable, fun to drive, incredibly practical and excellent value for money.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 2nd July, 2006

28th Apr 2008, 15:05

Group 9?

8th Jul 2012, 18:42

Great review, agree entirely.