Used Nissan Primera Estate 1996 - 2002 review

Category: Estate car

The Nissan Primera estate is a sensible budget buy for any family

Nissan Primera Estate (96 - 02)
  • Nissan Primera Estate (96 - 02)
  • Nissan Primera Estate (96 - 02)
Used Nissan Primera Estate 1996 - 2002 review
Star rating

What's the used Nissan Primera estate like?

The Nissan Primera estate is the pair of 'sensible' school shoes your mum forced you to wear when you were a kid. It's never going to turn heads but it's a practical, cheap family estate that you can depend on to give years of reliable service. It's a pretty decent drive, too.

In fact, it's more sporty than many sports saloons on a twisty road, although the pay-off is a firm ride, especially on motorways, where it can get tiresome. Go for the 1.8 or 2.0 petrol engine and you'll get a sweet-revving motor with respectable performance and quiet cruising ability.


The Nissan Primera estate is a sensible budget buy for any family

  • The Primera is a reliable, well-equipped and spacious estate car
  • It has virtually zero image and bland styling

You get plenty of space in the front and rear seats, a soundly built cabin, a good driving position and an uncluttered, well-shaped load bay. Avoid the entry-level trim and it's nicely stacked with kit, too.

Ownership cost

What used Nissan Primera estate will I get for my budget?

How much does it cost to run a Nissan Primera estate?

So long as you don't end up with a duff car - and you're very unlikely to do that - a Primera estate should be cheap to buy and run. Even if you are unfortunate enough to get one of the rare troublesome examples, it shouldn't be too expensive to fix. According to Warranty Direct, Nissans are among the cheapest cars to repair.

Routine maintenance won't dent your finances, either. You can expect to fork out about the same on a service as you would for a Ford Mondeo. A good independent garage should be able to save you about 25% on a franchise's labour rate.

Fuel costs are on a par with most family estates: officially mid-30s to the gallon for the 2.0 petrol; high-30s for the 1.8 and 1.6; and low-40s for the diesel.

Our recommendations

Which used Nissan Primera estate should I buy?

The 2.0 petrol is the one to go for. It has all the muscle you need for load-lugging, doesn't drink too much fuel and is relatively easy to track down.

We wouldn't be averse to a 1.8 petrol, but you should steer clear of the 1.6 petrol - it's too weedy and no more fuel-efficient than the 1.8. The 2.0 diesel is hardy and easy on the juice, but is unrefined, so unless you're a high-mileage driver obsessed with fuel economy, give it a miss.

The 2.0 petrol was available with a CVT (continuously variable transmission) automatic gearbox, but steer clear of that, too. It's unrewarding and saps fuel.

And, while we're on about things to avoid, don't bother with the entry-level E models, as they're too spartan. The S trim gives most of what you need, but SE has worthwhile extras and Sport brings smart alloy wheels and aluminium trim, so either of them are the best bet.

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