Fleet News

Nissan Primera 1.8 SVE - 1,200 miles



HAVING seen static models of the new Nissan Primera at various European motor shows, I was delighted to learn we were being loaned a car for long-term test purposes.

I was eager to get behind the wheel because, although full of admiration for Nissan being bold enough to radically re-style the car, I wasn't totally hooked on its unconventional appearance.

But from the moment I adopted the driver's position and turned the ignition key my mind was made up. I can't quite put my finger on what persuaded me that the new Nissan Primera is a great car – it could have been favourable glances it received from work colleagues as I drove out of the Fleet Towers car park.

It might have been the comfy seats, good ride quality, smooth gear changes and fairly sprightly 1.8-litre petrol engine. The stereo certainly impressed me and now I've mastered the N-Form central console I consider it a work of art.

But I think what really swung it was the whoop of delight my young daughter gave the car as I pulled into my driveway.

She must be a future Nissan driver because the only other vehicle I've taken home that's been greeted by a two-year-old shouting 'wow-wee' through the dining room window was the funky Nissan X-trail.

I'm sure Nissan executives hope the car receives the same level of excitement from fleet drivers, and I can see no reason why it shouldn't, although the more powerful versions with extra gadgetry would probably best suit drivers who spend most of their time on the road.

Nissan is aiming for first full-year sales of 24,000 units in 2003, which equates to a 5% share of the D-segment.

The old Primera achieved a 3% market share by selling 15,225 units so the manufacturer is pretty confident of the new model's success. And how could I write about the new Primera without mentioning its rear reversing camera that kicks into life once reverse gear is engaged?

Well, I'm sure it's a very handy tool but I'm afraid glare from the sun (yep, it was on one of those rare hot days) rendered the in-car screen pretty much useless. Still, it's a great talking point in the pub.

We haven't achieved the manufacturer's combined fuel economy but that's not surprising considering it is such a new car. We'll keep you posted in further test reports.

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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