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.

1999 Nissan Primera GT 2.0 petrol from UK and Ireland


Dull and slow performer with reasonable handling


The head gasket blew at 20k miles, then it blew again at 45k miles.

The heater matrix developed a leak.

Both front wheel bearing needed replacing at around 75k miles.

Near side electric window motor broke.

Right front brake caliper started binding recently.

General Comments:

Average dull family car.

Bland looks makes it invisible.

Reasonable second hand buy if you find one cheap.

Slow performer despite GT badge.

Rough ride, but reasonable handling.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 25th July, 2005

10th Nov 2005, 15:16

I totally agree about the lack of performance. My 97 GT really lacks low down grunt and you can quite easily get overtaken by smaller diesel hatchbacks. You would think Nissan could have extracted a few more horses from a 2.0 engine, say 170-180 bhp would be acceptable.

12th Dec 2008, 02:10

170 - 180 BHP from a 2.0 16v Primera? I think you need to go and buy a Scooby Doo! Most standard 2.0 16v cars from the 1999 era produced about 130 - 140 BHP, the Mondeo, Vectra and all other mass produced ones anyway. My Mondeo 2.5 V6 had ONLY 168 BHP and that's a V6 which was capable of 140MPH.

180BHP from a 2.0 is getting into turbocharger territory, and the Primera is a family car for Joe Public. Nissan knew what the car could handle and never gave it anything that it would not be able to cope with.

Yes it would have been nice if they had put a V6 engine into the range, but there was probably a reason why they didn't. It probably would not have fitted in the engine bay.

Those people who wanted 170BHP performance would not buy a Primera anyway - it's not a hot hatch or a sports car, nor is it anywhere near the price of a Subaru WRX or Mitsubishi Evo.