2005 Nissan Stagea Autech Axis 3.5 N/A petrol from Australia and New Zealand

Summary:

A hidden gem that that will soon be recognized

Faults:

Nil.

General Comments:

Comfortable leather seats :)

Plenty of room, and a quiet car relatively speaking.

Looks good with an Autech body kit and 18 inch wheels, propeller look, lowered on Bilstein adjustable shocks, which makes it look good from the front.

The 3.5 litre is a bit of a wolf in sheep's clothing now that I have helped it to breath easier and sound even better. Surprises a few boy racers who think, huh that's a station wagon?!

Turns heads, for some reason more female than male, which gets me the LOOK from she who must be obeyed. Silver is a great colour for the body shape, and a bling-bling grille sets it off. A future classic.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 29th November, 2014

2002 Nissan Stagea 250RS Four 2.5 V6 petrol from Australia and New Zealand

Summary:

A practical reliable family wagon with a decent turn of speed, but some annoying faults

Faults:

Headlight bulb, rear axle nut has come loose twice, hatch stays replaced.

General Comments:

In many ways this is a great car - plenty of space for the dogs, a smooth and quiet cruiser, quality feel, looks good, and it's reliable so far. Heavy and solid.

Plenty of power - at the top half of the rev range. Herein lies the problem for me at least. The car is quite heavy and sluggish at low revs, and only really comes alive at 3000 RPM when the cam profile changes. We tow a caravan occasionally, and I have to constantly change gears when the transmission doesn't want to.

The transmission is another bugbear for me I'm afraid. It is reluctant to change down, kickdown can take 2 seconds or more, and it's indecisive. It's a real slush box, so to keep it at a steady speed, I'm constantly having to work the right foot while the revs go up and down with little effect on speed.

It's pretty thirsty at around 10km/litre on the open road.

The front seats are fat man's seats - flat and wide, and bring your own padding.

I'm not sure whether I love this car or hate it. Certainly it's a beast at full throttle and it's hugely practical and mostly nice to drive, but it's also irritating and not quite fit for my purpose, and I have been known to shout at it when it is trying to make up its mind about changing gears during an overtake situation.

In summary, nice enough, but not as good as I expected; I much prefer to drive my 20 year old Xantia if I don't need the space.

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

Review Date: 13th October, 2014

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