Fleet News

Nissan Primera 2.2 dci

Nissan

Review

OUR experience of Nissan diesel engines at Fleet News has been mixed. A while ago, we ran an Almera Tino as a long-term test car and virtually everyone who got behind the wheel complained about it feeling underpowered.

We drove a Primera 2.2 turbo-diesel using a new common rail engine early last year and found it acceptable, if a little noisy.

Then, when we tried the diesel X-trail we found it to be more useful than the 2.0-litre petrol model, which only seemed to do the business when pushed hard.

However, with more opportunities to jointly develop powertrains and share components through its alliance with Renault (a company that really knows a few things about diesel), the Nissan range should become more diesel-focused.

It has already begun with the 1.5 dCi units used in the Renault Clio and Megane ranges going into the new Micra, and there are now 2.2 dCi versions of the Primera.

However, to confuse matters, the 2.2 dCi is not the same engine as used in the Renault Laguna, Vel Satis and Espace. It is an upgraded version of the existing 124bhp engine in the Primera.

It just buys into the dCi badging, which might initially mislead people into thinking there is a link with the French firm's excellent common rail diesel.

It seems this Nissan engine is badged dCi to distinguish it from the existing 2.2Di.And while the price of the Primera diesel was recently slashed by £500, the new 136bhp dCi is priced identically to the Di.

We tested the 2.2 dCi SVE estate, priced at £19,000 on-the-road with optional metallic paint and leather pack bringing the price to £20,495.

Standard kit is extensive and includes DVD satellite navigation with the snazzy 3D Birdview mode, climate control, six-CD autochanger, steering wheel-mounted audio controls and electric sunroof among the goodies.

With carbon dioxide emissions of 164g/km (3g/km higher than in the standard 2.2 Di), it slots into the 19% bracket for benefit-in-kind taxation for 2003/04.

And with 232lb-ft at 2,000rpm, its levels of torque come close to the 148bhp Renault Laguna 2.2 dCi and 128bhp Ford Mondeo 2.0 TDCi.

With a snicky six-speed gearshift, the Primera's straight-line performance cannot be faulted. Mid-range acceleration is always brisk, ensuring overtaking manoeuvres are carried out safely.

Engine noise is a little more intrusive than Ford's TDCi and Renault's dCi, but it must be Nissan's most impressive and well-behaved diesel to date.

We are fans of the Primera's striking design at Fleet News, and it's a shame that the used car trade's confidence in it as a second-hand prospect is lacking. CAP predicts it will retain 28% of its cost new after three-years/60,000-miles, slightly below par for a diesel estate in this sector.

The Primera is no longer one of the sharpest-handling upper-medium cars in its sector (a mantle left vacant by its predecessor), but despite being a bit wallowy through the corners - particularly the estate - it does a fine job on the motorway with its long-legged sixth gear - now seemingly compulsory in this class.

FACT FILE

Model: Nissan Primera 2.2 dCi SVE estate
Engine (cc): 2,184
Power (bhp/rpm): 138/4,000
Torque (lb-ft/rpm): 232/2,000
Max speed (mph): 126
0-62mph (sec): 9.8
Fuel consumption (mpg): 46.3
CO2 emissions (g/km): 164
BIK tax 2003/04 (22% tax-payer): £65.64 per month
CAP Monitor residual value (3yrs/60,000): £5,325/28%
Typical contract hire rate: £365
Transmission: 6-sp manual
Fuel capacity (l/gal): 62/13.6
On sale: Now
Prices (OTR): £19,000

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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