1997 Nissan Serena GLX 2.3 diesel from UK and Ireland


An uphill challenge...literally


Interior noise is outrageous, fortunately this is drowned out by the shrieking noise that comes from the heater motor. Radio works great, especially handy for counteracting the previously mentioned noise. Drivers door won't shut properly unless you slam it hard enough to put your wing mirror out of whack. Windscreen wipers work intermittently, often not when you need them most, when its raining.

General Comments:

I'm inclined to agree with Jeremy Clarkson when he stated that the Serena was the slowest car in Britain. Going uphill is excruciating at best, I would consider getting out and walking as I would get to my destination quicker, the problem is I would have to pay someone to drive it back home and I would likely have to pay A lot of money...yes, its that slow! You can tell your desperate when you actually envy the stunning acceleration of the 2CV rocketing away beside you. On the plus side you can virtually fit your entire house in this little wonder and it will start every time, whether you want it to or not.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 5th March, 2005

1997 Nissan Serena GLX 2.3 diesel from UK and Ireland


A cheap to buy and run useful tool


Head gasket leaking a slight amount of oil, but being fixed by garage who recently fitted a new one under their warranty. Lots of little rattles, but most now sorted after finding their various sources!

General Comments:

Very cheap to buy seven seater in excellent condition, nice metallic green paint with full service history and Nissan reliability (hopefully) despite the mileage.

The 2.3 Diesel engine is agreeably very asthmatic. First gear is very short and smoother starts can be achieved using second where appropriate. Hills are not to be enjoyed and with a large single axle caravan in tow nothing short of awful. Patience is needed as often is second gear! Fine once moving, but a turbo would have been nice. Stability when towing can be a little bouncy at times, but solo I think the handling is fine. It just 'feels' like it might misbehave before it actually does. This feeling should just keep enthusiastic drivers in check though.

The engine is noisy, of that there is no doubt. Bear in mind it is basically a re-designed van. I spent £30.00 on sound insulation material and adhesive and a days work taking the seats out and putting the stuff everywhere I could, even over that already in place. Time and a few pounds well spent as it certainly made a difference to intrusive noise.

Fuel returns I think are good, in the 40's solo, but this involves gentle driving. It's the sort of vehicle that is just not worth 'thrashing'. It won't benefit you other than reduced in MPG.

Refinements are basic, but include air con which I had re-gassed for a small fee. Plenty roomy enough for a caravan awning and lot's of other stuff in the middle and rear. Even our 16 year old son likes to be a passenger in it and likes the reclining middle seats with plenty of leg room. Privacy glass to the rear seats is a bonus as people outside might not immediately see him picking his nose!

Families on a budget should not baulk at this vehicle. It's cheap to buy second hand, cheap to insure and reasonably cheap to run as it's easy to service and returns reasonable MPG. It's not fast, but then if you want speed spend more money on something else. It'll do for towing and would be great for the school runs. Goodness only knows how much shopping you could get in it?

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 24th September, 2003

1st Sep 2005, 05:26

Very informative with humour. Sounds the sort of vehicle which will suit my needs. Thanks.

29th Sep 2005, 23:10

I'm looking at a Nissan 'Sports Wagon', which is said to have a 2.4 Ltr PETROL engine (Canada Import). It seems to LOOK very similar to the Serena - anybody got any info?


9th Sep 2008, 11:38

Am intending to purchase a 1997 Nissan Serena from the Japanese dealers. Since its roomy and I have a family of seven, it sounds attractive enough especially considering the price. However, am in Malawi, Africa and was wondering how it would fair on rough/dirt roads - will it last?

5th Dec 2008, 09:48

I've previously owned a Nissan Vanette which I will replace with a Serena, ie as a business vehicle. I understand the Serena to be based on the Vanette Cargo, in which case I look forward to the storage capacity, ease of access with the sliding doors and hatch back, and the sense of driving a car, not a clumsy van. The minibus style windows will give enhanced visibility. The vehicle I have reserved has a tow, I am hoping to pull a caravan, if it is a little slow that's fine with me, I'll just take it easy...

2nd Apr 2009, 16:16

A perfect description of the Serena, a work horse that is more practical than comfortable, ideal for towing (if you don't mind going slow) and loads of space. My only complaint is that, unlike some other modern MPV's, is that the middle row of seats is not remove-able, which would be more practical for my own personal uses.

21st Mar 2010, 04:44

In the Japanese Import version Serena, the middle seats are removable. They are on kind of a swivel base, which is bolted to the floor... maybe the UK version is different?

25th May 2010, 11:31

I have got a serious problem with the gearbox. I have met three other Serena highway star 1997/8 owners with the same problem. I'm in Uganda, Africa.

I also think this car is not good for our bumpy road with its max 15 inch wheels. Is there a way I can raise it up?

Someone selling a used gearbox for this car AT Sr20DET engine rear differential and ready to send to Africa - Uganda?

1997 Nissan Serena DGX 2.3 diesel from UK and Ireland


Cheap and nasty, don't waste your money on one!


Rear exhaust box failed at 28,000 miles (3 years and three weeks old).

Leaking radiator due to stone damage (poor design) at 30,000 miles.

Offside radio speaker failed at 19,000 miles.

Both rear wheel cylinders leaking at 41,000 miles.

General Comments:

This car is very noisy due to the engine location (mid position)

Prone to very dangerous swerving in 'cross winds' at speeds above 60 miles per hour.

Braking is very poor.

Handling is appalling.

Acceleration, 0-60 in 28 seconds!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 11th July, 2001

1997 Nissan Serena SLX 2.3 diesel from UK and Ireland


Engine misfiring and top speed of 50 mph - this was due to dirty diesel from a garage. Otherwise no problems.

General Comments:

Generally no problems have been encountered yet. Excellent design of interior. Good idea of solar windows in the rear as this keeps the interior temp low, good with small children. Lots of space, ideal for large family or for a family camping trip, where the large load capacity proves its worth.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 7th February, 1999