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What Car? says

3 out of 5 stars

For Enjoyable to drive, compact; good, practical interior

Against The split-fold rear seats are too heavy to lift, and boot space is compromised

Verdict A reasonably sensible family runabout that's worth considering

Go for… One of the two diesels

Avoid… Both petrol models

Nissan Almera Tino MPV
  • 1. The split-fold rear seats are too heavy and the suspension eats into the boot space
  • 2. The Tino's an impressive car, and once finished best in class in the JD Power customer satisfaction survey
  • 3. If you want air-conditiong, you need to buy a model with SE trim or above
  • 4. All cars come with twin front and side airbags, and three full seatbelts in the back
  • 5. The Tino feels nimble until you load it up with passengers and luggage
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Nissan Almera Tino MPV full review with expert trade views

Based on the Almera hatchback, the Tino is a high-roofed compact people-carrier with seating for five. It’s certainly one of the better vehicles in its class to drive. Fuss-free, and with very little body roll through the corners, it feels very light on its feet, although that agilty disappears when you load it up with passengers and luggage.

The heavier engine in diesel models also slightly upsets the otherwise fine handling. It has strong mid-range acceleration, which makes for an easy drive, but isn't so good at lower revs. By comparison, the petrols need to be worked harder, and can become quite noisy at higher revs.

The cabin is different from the basic Almera’s, with a dashboard that’s dominated by bulbous shapes, but it’s well laid out. There’s plenty of handy storage dotted about, and three adults can get reasonably comfy. Boot space is good, but the way the rear suspension eats into the space limits its practicality.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Good, reliable MPV. 1.8 SE best value but 2.2 DCi SE most popular used buy

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

Launched on a W-plate in 2000, the car has four engines. A 114bhp 1.8 and 136bhp 2.0 are the petrols, while the two diesels are both 2.2s, but with 110 or 134bhp. The diesels are best for high-speed hauling, and all are fine around town. However, our overall favourite is the 134bhp diesel for its cruising ability and fuel economy.

Trims start at the base S, which has remote central locking and a radio cassette, plus powered front windows, mirrors and sunroof. However, we'd step up to the SE, which adds air-con, while SE2 gets alloys and a CD player. Powered rear glass and a CD changer are standard on the SE+. A new trim, SVE, was introduced in April 2003, and includes satellite-navigation and traction control. All cars come with twin front and side airbags, plus three proper seatbelts in the back.

Plenty of Tinos were sold, so you should have precious little shopping around to find exactly the right model to suit you.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Slow seller but 1.8 SE spec is a good value package

James Ruppert
Used car guru

Compact MPVs from mainstream car makers are designed to be practical transport for the family, and usually aren’t expensive to run. The Tino is no different.

Its diesel engines provide the best fuel economy, with both the 110 and 134bhp models delivering well over 40mpg. By comparison the 1.8 petrol unit’s figure is an acceptable 37mpg, but the 2.0-litre is thirsty, returning just 30mpg.

Insurance costs shouldn’t be too high, with all models rated between groups 5 and 7.

Official spare parts are well priced and readily available if you have an accident or need a replacement, and servicing the car is a straightforward task for a main dealer or independent garage.

Reliability shouldn’t be a problem, either. The Tino once came best in class in the JD Power customer satisfaction survey. It’s reckoned to be an even more trustworthy prospect than the standard Almera hatchback, which is thoroughly impressive in its own right.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Good, reliable MPV. 1.8 SE best value but 2.2 DCi SE most popular used buy

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

Overall, the Tino is a very reliable car, but we have heard of examples developing faulty airbag warning lights and a sticking clutch.

Three specific recalls have also affected the Tino. There was a problem on pre-2002 cars with the rear seatbelt buckles, and also with stalling caused by malfunctioning engine management sensors. Check down the side of the front chairs, too. A section of the seat covering is prone to coming loose, which could leave a sharp metal edge dangerously exposed.

That said, in terms of the materials used, the quality of the interior on the Tino is a definite step up from the Almera's. However, as with any family car, avoid examples with a tatty cabin caused by excessive abuse from children. Families can also mean dogs, so check out the boot for excessive wear and any lingering canine smells.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Slow seller but 1.8 SE spec is a good value package

James Ruppert
Used car guru
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