I do quite like the shape and its bubbly rear lights. It’s a quirky alternative in the upper-medium sector – and the standard heated leather seats are also proving a great comfort in the recent snow and ice.
I’m also quite taken with the reversing camera, although I have to keep reminding myself to check to my left and right, rather than just assuming that peering into the screen has got all angles covered.
But the most frustrating thing about the Primera is the dashboard computer. It’s just so complicated and fiddly.
I believe drivers should be able to get into a new car and quite easily understand the dials and heating controls without having to refer to the manual or take their eyes off the road for too long to play with the buttons or read the screen.
It took me a good two or three journeys to find out how to turn down the heater fan and I still can’t find this control if the information screen is showing radio information.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that I’m a girl who can’t even work the video. Far from it – I am the queen of setting electrical clocks and programming the video (generally after my boyfriend has sworn at them and given up).
But is it really acceptable to have to go and sit in the car with the manual to accustomise oneself with basic controls? I don’t think so.
Mind you, I’m sure that every setting on the computer is useful and would aid my everyday driving life, so full marks to Nissan for these options.
The sat-nav is great for telling me road names, although it was coming on automatically when the car was switched on, masking all the other functions. It took ages to work out how to stop this happening (well, 15 minutes, but that’s a very long time for something that should be so simple).
A fleet driver would be able to make good use of this function which comes as standard, saving the hassle of maps and route planners cluttering up the passengers seat.
So I could recommend opting for a Nissan Primera, as long as basic on-board computer training comes as standard so all the gadgets get the full use they deserve, and inform rather than infuriate.
Model: Nissan Primera 2.2 dCi SVE
Price (OTR): £18,575
CO2 emissions (g/km): 164
Company car tax bill (2005/6) 22% tax-payer: £62 per month
Insurance group: 9
Combined mpg: 46.3
Test mpg: 31.4
CAP Monitor residual value: £4,600 (25%)
HSBC contract hire rate: £292
Expenditure to date: Nil