Here’s Rob Griggs-Taylor with an update on his Nissan Primera. For more from Rob, follow him on twitter @robgt2.
Four months ago I travelled to London to collect our 2003 Nissan Primera from Ash and Peter, and started the drive home. So 4,447 miles later how are things progressing?
It’s OK I suppose.
I really bought this car as a temporary runabout while I was between jobs, e.g. redundant. A service at Stones Garage in Coventry showed up nothing to be concerned about and the only fault of any consequence was that the unusually warm weather on our summer day this year showed that the climate control wasn’t blowing cold air. A simple re-gas of the system solved that issue and so it’s possible to drive in sunshine without losing half my body weight in perspiration.
Oh, and yes, I did say climate control. For a nine year old mid-range saloon this car is surprisingly well equipped. In addition to the climate control there’s a rear view camera for reversing, something that’s a £500 option on a new Jaguar XF. Five hundred quid would buy quite a chunk of a 2003 Nissan Primera. It also has electric windows all round, remote central locking, a trip computer and automatic windscreen wipers.
What it doesn’t have is the merest smidgeon of excitement. From the plain navy blue paint to the grey upholstery there’s nothing about this car to raise your heartbeat above flatline. It’s an appliance, built entirely to adequately fulfill a specific design brief which probably reads, “get up to five people and some luggage to their destination reliably”.
This it does. It doesn’t do it quickly, or quietly, or economically. But it does do it. It has never given the merest hint of a cough, rattle or thump. The engine is loud and sounds like you’re proceeding at a greater velocity than the speedometer proclaims. Changing gear puts your hand in contact with a vague and sloppy gearshift, something you’d expect from a car with more than double the 67,000 miles that this one shows. The steering wheel is large and protrudes from the dashboard at a slight angle in both planes.
I had cause to drive through Milton Keynes, so there were plenty of opportunities to test the handling and roadholding on the considerable number of roundabouts that litter the town. I’m a fan of the roundabouts though – they can make for a fun journey if you’re driving something other than a dull saloon.
The level of body roll is dictated by your posterior’s ability to cling to the seat squab as there’s little side support from the seats, and you really have to back off the throttle to a significant degree if the road surface is wet. In fairness, some of the understeer can be attributed to the no-brand tyres, no two of which are embossed with the same manufacturer name. If you ever think that tyres make little difference to your car try replacing the front ones with the cheapest ones you can find, and drive enthusiastically round an empty, and preferably wet, roundabout. Once you’ve had your vehicle towed out of the railings and repaired I predict that you’ll be looking for some that say Bridgestone or Michelin or Dunlop or Goodyear or Toyo or Pirelli on the side.
So in conclusion, it would be fair to say that I’m not a fan of the Primera. Whilst realising that the strapline of PetrolBlog currently promotes the mundane I think I’m much happier fulfilling this brief by taking photographs of Shatchbacks rather than actually owning one. I’ve also now secured a new job which is fifty miles from home and I need the economy of a diesel car. Thus, the Primera is up for sale and currently waiting to be snapped up for a bargain price by someone who really doesn’t give a fig roll for the challenge, excitement and fun that we enthusiasts relish.
I’m off to buy something more exciting. Maybe a Toyota Carina, or a Morris Ital, or perhaps a Mazda 626. Did they ever do a diesel Ital?
Images courtesy of Rob and Palmdale.