We use cookies on whatcar.com to improve your browsing experience and to provide you with relevant content and advertising, by continuing to use our site you agree to this. Please see our privacy policy for more details. Continue

What Car? says

3 out of 5 stars

For The Primera is a practical and reliable estate. It's striking to look at, too

Against What some call striking, others call ugly. The car's ride is too firm for many people.

Verdict It's as satisfying to own as it is to drive

Go for… The 2.0 petrol

Avoid… The diesels

Nissan Primera Estate
  • 1. Clutches and turbos cause problems on the 2.2 dCi diesel
  • 2. Every engine is keen and smooth, but the steering is too light
  • 3. SE trim is the best one to buy, with alloy wheels, electric rear windows and a better hi-fi
  • 4. Prices aren’t too steep, although you’ll pay a lot more for a diesel version
  • 5. The handling is tidy, but around town the ride can be a little too firm for some
advertisement

Nissan Primera Estate full review with expert trade views

The Primera estate is often overlooked, but as a second-hand car it makes a lot of sense because it feels fresher for longer compared with many of its rivals.

It’s very well screwed together and is mechanically refined. All the engines rev keenly and smoothly, and the controls work with a light, easy precision – although the steering is overly light.

Steering aside, you’ll enjoy the Primera’s taut, tidy handling and it soaks up bumps pretty well at speed. However, around town the ride is a little too firm.

The dashboard, like the styling, may take a little getting used to. The instruments are in a binnacle on top of the centre of the dash – easy to read, but out of your natural line of vision. Still, the car is comfortable, roomy and well equipped, and the luggage bay is an adequate size.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Low spec models are fleet choice. Okay to drive, spacious - so why not?

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

There have been a couple of diesels – initially a 2.2 TD and, on later cars, a better 2.0 dCi – but they command quite a premium, and we don't think they're worth it.

If you’re after a car from mid-2006 onwards, you’ll have to go for the 114bhp 1.8-litre petrol – it remained in the line-up when all the other engines were dropped. It’s willing enough, although you do have to work it hard to make adequate progress.

That’s why we’d go for the 138bhp 2.0-litre petrol model. It has more muscle to flex in everyday driving, yet it's still keen to rev and quiet on a cruise. It’s also not much thirstier than the 1.8 and costs just a little more.

You won’t be short of kit in the S version, but we’d sniff out an SE car for its alloy wheels, electric rear windows and better hi-fi. Top-spec SVE has sat-nav.

Trade view

Duncan McLure-Fisher

Not as reliable as you'd think - watch suspension and electrical faults

Duncan McLure-Fisher
Managing Director,
Warranty Direct

In customer satisfaction surveys, running costs are one of the biggest complaints from Primera owners, but they’re really no worse than those of most family estates.

Prices aren’t too steep, although you’ll pay a chunk extra for a diesel version – and that means it only makes sense if you cover lots of miles. The diesels sip their fuel at an official average of 46mpg to 48mpg, which is on a par with their rivals. Go for the 1.8 petrol and you can expect it to return mid 30s with normal use, while the 2.0 typically gives low 30s.

The diesels and 1.8 petrol come in for group 8 insurance, whereas the 2.0 petrol falls into group 10 or 11, depending on its specification.

Typical service costs are likely to be cheaper than for estate versions of the Citroen C5 and on a par with the Ford Mondeo’s.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Low spec models are fleet choice. Okay to drive, spacious - so why not?

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

We’ve heard reports of clutches and turbos causing problems on the 2.2 dCi diesel, and owners also highlight faults with the suspension – a weak area on the previous generation of Primera, too.

Clutch and turbo trouble should be easy to spot on a test drive. As for the suspension, listen for clonks and knocks; be suspicious if there is uneven tyre wear and ensure the car tracks straight, corners tidily and remains firmly consistent over bumps.

Otherwise, the Primera has a reputation for being solidly screwed together. Check all of the electrical kit because, again, that was a problem on the previous Primera, according to claims made by customers of Warranty Direct.

Finally, give the bodywork a close examination. There are no protective rubber side strips, which leaves the bodywork vulnerable to picking up dings in car parks.

Trade view

Duncan McLure-Fisher

Not as reliable as you'd think - watch suspension and electrical faults

Duncan McLure-Fisher
Managing Director,
Warranty Direct
Haymarket Logo What Car? is brought to you by Haymarket Consumer Media
What Car? is part of Haymarket Motoring
© Haymarket Media Group 2014