Used Nissan Primera Saloon 2002 - 2006 review

Category: Family car

The Nissan Primera is a reliable and roomy family car, that's also good value and enjoyable to drive

Nissan Primera Saloon (02 - 06)
  • Nissan Primera Saloon (02 - 06)
  • Nissan Primera Saloon (02 - 06)
Used Nissan Primera Saloon 2002 - 2006 review
Star rating

What's the used Nissan Primera saloon like?

The 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.


The Nissan Primera is a reliable and roomy family car, that's also good value and enjoyable to drive

  • It has a roomy cabin and distinctive looks
  • The ride is firm and the boot is too narrow

On the motorway, it's a generally refined cruiser. However, there is a bit of wind rustle and the CVT auto (continuously variable transmission) can make the engine sound rowdy under hard acceleration.

The well-built, quirky cabin is a roomy five-seater, with the rear bench 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.

Ownership cost

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

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

You'll be able to snap up a Primera for surprisingly little dosh.

The diesel engines are the best for fuel economy - you can reckon on getting more than 45mpg - but they're more expensive to buy, so you'll have to rack up a fair few miles before the better fuel economy claws back the higher asking price.

Over lower mileages, the 1.8 petrol makes the most sense. It's cheapest to buy, but still good for mid-30s to the gallon, whereas the 2.0 will return about 5mpg fewer.

Servicing isn't quite such a bargain. The Ford Mondeo, Mazda 6, Peugeot 407, Toyota Avensis and Vauxhall Vectra are all cheaper to service.

Our recommendations

Which used Nissan Primera saloon should I buy?

If you want a saloon, the newest will be a mid-2004 car, as that's when Nissan ditched it from the line-up. We prefer the handier five-door overall, but at least there's no difference in how the two cars drive.

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 makes it our favourite.

Basic S trim means climate control, six airbags and electric front windows. SE adds alloys, electric rear windows and a better CD, which makes it the best trim to buy, and we'd ignore SVE, even with standard sat-nav. A display screen controls the stereo, climate control and, where fitted, sat-nav and rear parking camera.

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