What's the used Nissan Primera hatchback like?
The Nissan Primera may not be quite as sharp to drive as a Ford Mondeo, but it isn't far off. It handles nicely through the bends, with plenty of grip and taut body control, yet it also smooths out bumps at higher speeds.
The steering is overly light, though, and the ride is firm around town. However, all the engines are crisp, rev cleanly and work well with the standard manual gearbox.
On the motorway, it's a generally refined cruiser. However, there is a bit of wind noise, and the CVT auto (continuously variable transmission) can make the engine sound rowdy under hard acceleration.
The well-built cabin is a roomy five-seater, with the rear bench sited slightly higher than the front seats for an airier feel. The driving position is comfortable and, while the big boot is a useful size, it has an irritating narrow opening.
Advice for buyers
What should I look for in a used Nissan Primera hatchback?
The Primera is extremely well screwed together, and has proved robust and reliable.
A small number have had minor electrical faults, and a limited run was recalled to have tyres replaced for potential damage caused on the production line. Other than that, it's a squeaky-clean motor.
Little wonder, then, that the Primera figured right near the top of our reliability survey and that owners praised its trouble-free running in the JD Power customer satisfaction survey.
However, the rear parking camera can take some getting used to, so inspect the rear bodywork for knocks that may have happened while the previous owner was getting used to it. Likewise, there are no protective rubbing strips on the side of the car, which makes it vulnerable to dings.
What are the most common problems with a used Nissan Primera hatchback?
Is a used Nissan Primera hatchback reliable?
What used Nissan Primera hatchback will I get for my budget?
How much does it cost to run a Nissan Primera hatchback?
You'll be able to snap up a Primera for surprisingly little dosh.
The diesel engines are the best for fuel economy, and you can reckon on getting more than 45mpg. However, diesel models cost a fair bit more, so you'll have to rack up a fair few miles before the better economy claws back the higher asking price.
Over lower mileages, the 1.8 petrol makes most sense. It's cheapest to buy, but still good for mid-30s to the gallon. The 2.0 will return about 5mpg fewer.
Which used Nissan Primera hatchback should I buy?
You could go for a saloon, but Nissan ditched it from the line-up in mid-2004 and we prefer this five-door anyway. There's no difference in how they drive and the hatch is handier.
You won't go wrong with any of the engines: a 114bhp 1.8 petrol, 138bhp 2.0 petrol and 2.2 turbodiesel (124bhp from 2002, then 136bhp from March 2003).
We like the diesel's pull and economy, but it's more pricey than the petrols. Of those, the 2.0 is refined and strong, but the 1.8 is keen, more frugal and cheaper, which means it's the one we'd go for.
Basic S trim means climate control, six airbags and electric front windows. SE adds alloys, electric rear windows and a better CD, so this is the trim we'd look for, and ignore SVE, even though it includes sat-nav. A display screen controls the stereo, climate control and, where fitted, sat-nav and rear parking camera.
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