This review applies to the 2006 Nissan Tiida (Japan Market) / Nissan Latio Sport LSR (Singapore Market) 1.5 with CVT.
Exterior: the car is generally well made and well designed. The paintwork is of good quality and the car was delivered with zero faults. The stock 185/65/15 allow wheels (local fitment) look a little silly in my books, as they appear small and recessed.
Interior: Covered in half leather and Alcantara, passengers sit tall in the car and the interior appointments are rather plush. The driver's seat is height adjustable (manual), and very big and cossetting. Personally, I have a problem with them as I find the under-thigh support far too high (non adjustable). This causes my right under thigh to cramp up and hurt. In conversation with other Latio/Tiida owners, I seem to be alone in this.
There is PLENTY PLENTY of space. Perhaps even more legroom in the rear than a Cefiro. My rear seat passengers tend to fall asleep. It's that good. Plenty of little storage areas and lights to illuminate (colour of reading lamps a bit off). The car came with standard 6 speakers and a Kenwood 2DIN set (local fitment). The car is also very quiet. This I am told is due to the thicker glass, and double sealing on the doors and double flooring.
Engine: this is a real gem of an engine. I'm getting similar fuel economy as my previous K11 March. As this car uses a CVT transmission, it is very smooth and quite responsive. However, a concession has to made that CVT's tend to take a second longer to spool up. Thus it does not have the immediacy of a down-shift in a regular auto or manual transmission.
As stated earlier, there is a defined NVH at 3000rpm. It's fine at highway speeds as you will feel it less, but slower city driving, it is more felt.
The CVT transmission is great on the highway, and unlike other transmission boxes I can think of, you will find that the gearbox intelligence will allow you to drive the car flat out with only a slight depression of the accelerator pedal.
Handling: The car rides a little hard and corners quite flat. On stock tyres, the handling is not bad for fast roads, but there are limitations to those Toyo's. There is also a feeling of disconnect with the tyres, and this matter has been addressed. The car's steering tendency is quite neutral when pushed around corners at speed. It brakes well (even though the brakes look very very small).
Enhancements: So far I've swapped the Toyo's 185/65/15 for Continental Premium Contact 2 tyres 195/65/15. The ambient noise has increased, but with a slightly wider contact area, there is much more road feel, much more confidence in the handling of the car. I think demanding drivers would definitely need a tyre upgrade. My tyre choice has also swelled the sidewall for more comfort. I understand that my tyre selection is not common as most would opt for lower profile 205 or 225 tyres, but I wasn't willing to sacrifice ride comfort and acceleration for road handling.
I'll be coming back here and updating you on my new acquisition. Hopefully it will be as good as my previous car. http://www.carsurvey.org/review_23915.html