2004 Nissan Stagea RX250 AWD 2.5 from Australia and New Zealand

Summary:

Reliable, practical and fun to drive

Faults:

Loss of power at idle on two occasions. This happens with the gearbox in manual mode, aircon on, and some other dash electronics on. It hasn't happened in a long time, and I have not had it looked at.

In manual mode, the gearbox does not default to 1st gear when the car stops. It will start in first and continue to change until it gets to the last gear selected by the driver. This does not seen right. I have driven three other cars with tiptronic shift, including another Stagea (2003 or 2004). To me, this is no different from a plain automatic, and I do not use manual mode very often. The car has been seen by a mechanic, who concluded that there is nothing wrong with the gearbox, and this is how it is meant to behave.

Tailgate struts have lost pressure. Very annoying, and will have to fix soon as it is a bit of a hazard.

General Comments:

The car is very comfortable and a joy to drive. It is powerful, precise and quite manoeuvrable, considering its size. It's quick off the mark, again, despite its size, corners nicely and does well uphill. It tends to over steer, possibly due to being 80% rear wheel drive in normal mode. This changes if synchro mode is engaged. The Stagea becomes a lot more precise in corners. It also has a snow mode, which distributes power symmetrically and starts the vehicle in second gear to prevent slipping. It has been great to drive on long distances and up to skiing fields.

It as an on-board computer with a pop-up screen displaying altitude, outside temperature compass and direction. Another part of the menu shows range, average fuel use, average speed and real-time fuel efficiency. The car only speaks Japanese, so I don't venture into other parts of the menu.

The fuel consumption is a bit too high for my taste. I am not sure how it compares in real life with similar vehicles. I guess there has to be a price to pay for the 191 HP, the size of the wagon and the fact that is permanently AWD. Around town, I get an average of 7.5 to 8 Km per litre of 95 octane. On the open road it would do 11, if driven nicely, and 9.5 to 10 when pushed.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 15th February, 2014

1998 Nissan Stagea RS-4 2.5 turbo from Australia and New Zealand

Summary:

A large, grunty, good value family wagon

Faults:

The usual coil pack failure. This caused a burnt out exhaust valve, because of the lean running. Not helped by the previous owner from Japan removing the lower boost control line.

Other than that, nothing you wouldn't expect from a 12 year old car.

General Comments:

This is my first auto. In my opinion, the auto is a little 'dumb'. It chops down too early, even in 'Normal' mode. It is a little 'slippy' on the changes. This is quite common on the Nissan transmissions I have since found out.

Maybe I was used to the handling of my 300ZX, but the Stagea disappoints a little. Not saying that it handles badly, it doesn't. It's just a bit 'soft'. It understeers when pitched into a corner, noticeably loading up the front outside wheel. Having said that, the ATTESA 4WD system (taken from the Skyline) makes the car very sure-footed for a large, heavy wagon.

The interior is well laid out with most of the controls easy to reach, except for the rear window heater and synchro (4WD) buttons, which are obscured by the steering wheel. It is difficult to get a good driving position for me. When the seat is far enough back to be comfortable for my legs, the steering wheel is too far away. Had to compromise and have my legs a little more bent than ideal.

There is plenty of room for lugging cargo. This seems to have been done by having a little less leg room available for the back seat passengers though. With the back seats folded down it is about 6ft long in the back. I read that there is about 1575 litres of space.

My particular vehicle came with the Dayz body kit, which has a deeper front air dam, side skirts, rear spoiler and valance. It also had a Nismo 'sport' exhaust, which adds a nice deep burble at idle and is not too loud.

Overall, if you are in the market for a large wagon, don't overlook the Nissan Stagea.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 20th May, 2010