Fleet News

Nissan Almera Tino 2.2 D SE+ - 3,500 miles

Nissan

Review

WINKING specialist and television presenter Anne Robinson is now famous for her catchphrase 'You are the weakest link. Goodbye' and her services could come in useful when driving the Nissan Almera Tino.

The reason for carrying out long-term tests is to allow any hot-headed first reactions to a car to be calmed by everyday use, which is lucky, because after driving the Nissan 50 metres I immediately found its shortcoming.

The 2.2-litre diesel engine fails to live up to the standards achieved by the rest of the car, which after a longer spell of driving, I am slowly warming to.

In Robinson's own words, the engine really is the weakest link, to such an extent that the overall abilities of the car risk being ignored.

The engine, which puts out 114bhp and 173 lb-ft of torque at 2,000 rpm should be no slouch, but as my colleague Trevor Gelken has pointed out, setting off at roundabouts is a skill, as is making general progress. Admittedly, like most diesels, it is quiet and relaxed once up to steady cruising speeds.

But as a comparison, Peugeot's excellent 2.2-litre HDi unit produces 136bhp at 4,000 rpm and 235 lb-ft of torque at 2,000 rpm, so there is plenty of room for improvement in the Nissan unit, although a rethink of the vehicle's gear ratios may also help short term.

The Nissan does have the usual low CO2 rating attributed to diesels, at 168g/km, which puts it in the lowest diesel band of 18% under next year's company car tax system, including the 3% penalty.

But with such dismal performance, you are better off getting the 1.8-litre petrol version - and it is rare nowadays that I would recommend petrol over diesel for most manufacturers - as it is £1,000 cheaper and incurs just 19% BIK tax.

Apart from the engine, the Almera Tino passes muster against rivals. If the tough MPV market were a certain popular BBC One gameshow, the Nissan Almera Tino 2.2D, even with SE+ trim, would be first dismissed before the Renault Scenic, Citroen Picasso and Vauxhall Zafira.

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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