Nissan Primera SVE Estate

Nissan hopes to grab a bigger slice of the ever expanding diesel-medium-car pie with the simple tactic of cranking up power but not price. And to really put some wind in its sales – and the car’s interior – most Primeras get a standard electric sunroof, too.

So it’s out with the existing 126PS edition of Nissan’s 2.2-litre common rail diesel engine and in with a new 138PS version. The result is a diesel Primera that’s now as accelerative to 62 mph as its 2.0-litre petrol alternative. Yet it’s nigh on as fuel and tax efficient as the out-going 2.2Di.

A couple of months back, Nissan slashed £500 off the price of its Primera diesel range and said this was a permanent change. Well, it is – the 138PS Primera dCi (the new label that Nissan will be attaching to its entire common rail diesel range) is identically priced in S and SVE forms to the recently price slashed 126PS versions.

The S has just had a spec up with the standard additions of a 6" colour centre screen and rear electric windows. Now it’s the SVE’s turn. It gains audio controls mounted on the steering wheel and an electric glass sunroof that used to be a £500 option. Which means anybody buying a new Primera dCi SVE not only gets the more powerful engine but a sunroof, too. And at no extra cost.

The price of the ultimate Primera dCi, the SVE Leather Pack, in fact comes down by £200. Nissan admits that the Primera SE edges up price-wise by £100 but customers will soon forget this when they see they’re getting an electric sunroof (worth £500, remember), steering-wheel mounted remote audio controls and the new engine in return.

Nissan’s Primera dCi is another example of a diesel that isn’t just about economy. It’ll move to 62 mph in 9.8 seconds and, with 314 Nm of torque available at just 2000 rpm, will overtake with loads less effort than an equivalent petrol. The engine is Nissan’s own and uses modern technology, helped by a six-speed manual gearbox, to achieve 46.3 mpg on the combined cycle and a CO2 mass emissions figure of 164 g/km. That number – the last bit of tech spec, we promise – translates into a mere 19% BIK band (including 3% diesel penalty) for the upcoming 2003/4 tax year. Company car drivers … wake up.

If all that sounds a bit complex, Nissan’s intention shouldn’t. The company wants the Primera to offer customers a higher powered and better equipped diesel alternative for the same price as lesser powered others. Simple, huh? And the Primera news isn’t all diesel, either, because the equipment upgrades also apply to petrol versions – even the range-topping T-spec which adds steering-wheel mounted audio controls to its already pages long equipment list.

Most popular of the Primera range has proved to be the SE trim level. Which is hardly surprising given that it’s priced at £15,700 for the 1.8-litre five-door, or £16,700 with dCi power, yet comes with all this…

… as standard. The Primera is surely the most distinctive looking car in its class. And it’s made in Sunderland by workers who would be delighted with a bigger slice of pie.

Published : 02/03/03 Author : Melanie Carter

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