There's just one engine for the Pixo: a three-cylinder 1.0-litre petrol unit that serves up 67bhp. It feels reasonably perky in town and can just about hold its own on the motorway. However, if you lose pace behind slow traffic, it'll take you quite a while to build speed back up again. You can also specify your Pixo with a four-speed automatic gearbox in place of the standard five-speed manual.
The Pixo makes life simple in town, because the dinky dimensions and tight turning circle give you hassle-free manoeuvring. The steering could be lighter at parking speeds, though. It struggles more when the road opens out, because there's a lot of body lean in bends and you do get jostled around quite a lot by the ride.
Keep within the city limits and the Pixo is pretty quiet. You barely hear a peep from the suspension, and you don't need to give the engine a stack of revs. You'll have to flog the engine a lot more if you head onto faster roads, though, and that's when the thrummy three-cylinder engine starts to get intrusive. Wind and road noise can be heard at cruising speeds, too.
The Pixo is competitively priced and running costs shouldn't break the bank. It returns a whopping average of more than 65mpg and super-low CO2 emissions mean it’ll cost a pittance in tax. Insurance premiums are among the lowest around, too. However, the Pixo doesn’t hold its value particularly well.
The Pixo's cabin is a pretty bleak place to sit, because you have to put up with unappealing, cheap-looking plastics, rough edges and exposed screw heads. Reliability is always a Nissan strong point, but the Pixo is built on Nissan's behalf by Suzuki. The car was rated as below average for reliability in the 2012 JD Power survey.
Visia cars have a few worrying omissions - you get twin front airbags, have ISOFIX child-seat mounting points, and that’s about it. That’s really not enough. Pricier N-tec models have side airbags, but even then, you have to add an option pack at extra cost if you want curtain ‘bags and stability control.
You should be able to get comfortable at the wheel of the Pixo, but it might take you a while. The steering wheel moves for height but not reach, and the base model doesn’t have height adjustment for the driver's seat. There's an inaccurate lever to adjust the backrest angle, too. The minimalist dashboard isn't the most stylish you'll ever see, but it's simple to navigate.
The Pixo is a four-seater, and four will fit as long as they're not too tall. Headroom is tight in the back, and there's not a huge amount of kneeroom, either. You'll have an even harder time fitting luggage in, because the boot is tiny. Only higher-grade cars have split-folding rear seats that let you extend the boot, but the load area you get is sloped.
The range starts with the Visia model, and although it's cheap, there's a reason why. You get a CD player, power steering and four cupholders, but that's about it. The N-tec gives you more of the basics - remote locking, alloys, electric front windows, and front foglamps - as well as air-conditioning.
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It's as simple as this – if you can live without a few luxuries, you can have a brand new car on your drive for pocket money. That's very tempting.