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Compared to its predecessor, the Tiida was bigger, more refined, more comfortable, well finished, and drove well.
The Nissan Pulsar was one of Australia's most popular and respected small cars, so the oddly named Tiida had a tough act to follow when it launched in 2006. Nissan was determined to use the Tiida to win back some of the ground given up in the latter period of the Pulsar's life. It was a surprise when Nissan dropped the popular Pulsar nameplate in favour of the Tiida, but the company justified the move by saying the Tiida was an all-new car and a fresh start. Whereas the Pulsar's looks were rather staid, the Tiida's were stylish and modern and could only have come from Europe. Compared to the Pulsar the Tiida was bigger, more refined, and more comfortable; it was also well finished, and drove well.
The Tiida range was made up of ST sedan and hatch at the entry point, the mid-range ST-L sedan and hatch, and the Ti sedan and Q hatch.
It was sufficient to comfortably keep up with the traffic without ever exciting the driving senses.
All models but the Ti had a six-speed manual gearbox standard, with an option of a four-speed auto 'box. Complaints to Cars Guide about the Tiida have been few and far between, and have generally been of a minor nature, which suggests it has no serious flaws. While all appears to be sound make the usual checks for evidence of a crash, and poor repairs, and check for evidence of regular servicing. All models have dual front airbags and seat belt pretensioners, while all except the ST also have curtain airbags for better all round protection.
Honda Civic 06-09: Good looking, solid build quality, reliable, a benchmark chassis, with engines that deliver good performance and fuel economy - pay $11,000-$25,000.
Hyundai Elantra 06-09: A more affordable Korean option that is well built and reliable, but fails to excite the driving senses - pay $8000-$18,000. Both are serious four-wheel drive wagons, capable of plunging deep in the bush or towing a heavy load. In 1997, the GU Patrol replaced the popular GQ, a rough and tough four-wheel drive wagon that had a big following.  The Patrol follows common practice in this class of off-roader with a wagon body perched atop a separate chassis which is considered the best way of tackling the toughest of conditions a vehicle might encounter. A separate chassis has the effect of raising the cabin quite high off the ground and it also cuts down on the interior space.  Nissan offered a choice of one petrol and three diesel engines. Drive was through all wheels, with a choice of two-wheel drive for the highway and dual-range four-wheel drive for off-road use.
While the Patrol is generally a rough and rugged vehicle with few faults, there is a cloud hanging over the 3.0-litre turbo diesel.
That said, the manual gearbox can have problems with the fifth gear spline and hub.  It's important to check for a service record, particularly if the vehicle has spent time off-road. On the exterior, look for scratches and scrapes from trackside bushes during road excursions.  Consider carefully before buying a Patrol that has clearly been off-road as there are plenty that haven't spent much time off the black top and they are a better choice. Pay $15,000 to $24,000 for a 1990-2001 A160 Classic with 60,000-90,000 km on the odometer.Add $2000 for an A160 Avantgarde, or $5000 for an A190 Avantgarde. Nissan might be doing the business today, but in the late 1990s it was in trouble.  The company turned to the British-built Micra in its hour of need to regain its position of strength in the small-car market after the demise of the locally built Pulsar. When it was building cars locally, the Pulsar was a popular model with budget-conscious buyers who liked its value and reliability.
On the other side of the world, Nissan was producing the Micra, which it reckoned had the potential to take over from where the old Pulsar left off.  The icing on the cake was the exchange rate with sterling, which was more favourable than the yen. The Micra followed a well-trodden path with an east-west four-cylinder engine driving the front wheels through either a five-speed manual gearbox or a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). In Europe, where the take-up of autos is small, the idea of a CVT appealed because it offered the directness of a manual without the need to shift gears.  Nissan claimed the Micra fitted with the CVT returned the same fuel consumption as one with the manual gearbox, with performance only marginally slower.


In Australia, however, the CVT was regarded with suspicion and, with fuel prices relatively low, buyers preferred to stick with the auto trans.  If the drivetrain was a little offbeat there was nothing offbeat about the Micra's chassis. It had a conventional set-up of MacPherson struts at the front and a five-link beam axle at the rear with anti-roll bars at both ends, which made it agile and responsive on the road.  Brakes were disc front and drum rear on the LX and SLX, the Super S with rear discs and ABS.
If you're looking for an entry-level car you can get into a Micra LX three-door hatch for $5000 to $6000. Generally robust and reliable, the Micra did have a problem with the timing chain.  On some it simply developed a rattle as it loosened and there were few consequences if it was addressed while it was simply a rattle. Listen intently for a rattle from the engine and walk away if you hear anything that might be a sign of trouble. Nissan offered only a driver's airbag on the Super S and that was after the 1996 upgrade, so you had to rely mostly on the Micra's agility to escape a crash.  Avoiding a crash was made a little easier on the Super S, which had anti-skid brakes as standard.
Mychael Carr has nothing but praise for his 1995 five-door SLX hatch.  It's the second Micra he's owned, the first was sold after 160,000 trouble-free kilometres. Nissan has had a knack of building good cars and disguising them so well few people get to see just how good they are. Despite the positives it was a car that failed to grab much attention, but like the Skyline those who looked closer found a great car, and also like the Skyline the Maxima is a car worth taking a close look at when considering your next used car. The Maxima first arrived here in 1991 as an imported replacement for the locally built Skyline, which had attracted a loyal following in the years it was on sale despite some early problems with diff noise. While the Skyline was a competitor for the Falcon and Commodore, the Maxima was aimed at those who wanted more and were prepared to pay for it. Like many Nissans the Maxima’s styling was thought to be ultra conservative, and it was quickly given the tag of your “granddad’s” car.
The A32 Maxima is now almost 10 years old, but it has held its looks over that time, and still looks good on the road.
The 30J came quite well equipped with air-conditioning, driver’s airbag, central locking, power windows and mirrors, cloth trim, height adjustable steering wheel, power steering and ABS. The 30G came with standard air-con, auto trans, alloys, cruise, driver’s airbag, wood trim, leather steering wheel and gearshift knob, central locking and CD player. Nissan initially offered a choice of five-speed manual or four-speed auto, both had floor shift, and drove through the front wheels. The mid-range 30G from 1995 will be stickered up to $16,000, later 1999 cars up to $25,000, the latter with around 80,000 Km on the clock. The news is good for anyone who’s thinking of buying an A32 Maxima, as there is little that seems to go wrong with them in a regular or serious way.
Like any car things do break, and they’re always frustrating, but there’s nothing that says there’s a serious problem lurking under that very conservative skin. The engine gives good service, and with a chain driving the camshafts, there’s nothing that needs replacing at regular intervals.
The transmission can give trouble, with the various electric solenoids in the ’box the main culprits. The heater core can also be a source of trouble over the long term, if it fails it will dump its load into the passenger compartment and may drown the car’s computer, which is handily located below the core.
It’s a nuisance if it happens, and costly if the ECU is damaged, but it’s not enough to dismiss the Maxima as this is one great car.
Conservative styling can be boring, but well balanced chassis, smooth V6, and great reliability make the Maxima a very attractive used car. Its job was made somewhat easier when currency changes had forced Nissan to push the Pulsar's price higher and it lost its competitive edge in its last years. One look at the Tiida was all that was needed to see that it was indeed a fresh start for the Nissan small car.
The looks came from Nissan's move in joining forces with Renault, which resulted in the Tiida sharing its underpinnings with the Renault Megane.


An all-aluminium 1.8-litre double overhead camshaft four-cylinder engine with variable valve timing provided the motivation, and when working at its peak it delivered a modest 93 kW at 5200 revs and 174 Nm at 4800 revs. Soft-feel materials were used on dash padding, door trims and headliner, topped off with polished metallic finishes that gave it a quality look and feel. Even the ST entry models had air-conditioning, remote central locking, CD with four-speaker sound, and power mirrors. Good build quality, combined with a reliable package of engine, gearbox, driveline and suspension means little goes wrong.
All models also boast an impressive array of active safety features, including ABS anti-lock brakes, optimum brakeforce distribution and brake assist. Good build quality, reliable and well equipped, and sells well when it comes time to move it on - pay $10,000-$25,000. The petrol engine was a 4.5-litre single overhead camshaft fuel-injected six-cylinder unit with a chain driven camshaft and put out 145kW.
Front hubs were manual locking on the entry level DX model, but the others had auto hubs.  Buyers could choose between three models -- the DX five-seater, the popular seven-seater ST and the top of the range Ti. Those most likely to succumb to the problem are those doing a lot of highway cruising.  Nissan has increased the oil fill and played with alignment of the nozzles that spray oil on the pistons for cooling and lubrication purposes, but there seems to be no consistent fix for the problem. It's also important to check under the vehicle for damage sustained off-road, like bashed suspension and chassis components, brackets, exhaust etc.
For a 2000-2001 A140 pay $19,000 to $22,000.For a 2001-2003 A160 Classic pay $24,000 to $29,500. It was a basic box on wheels, fairly upright with enough curves to soften the edges -- it looked cute to some eyes.  Its height and large glass area gave it a bubble-car look without going to the extreme of the Mazda 121, which polarised opinion. Choosing to offer a CVT instead of a regular auto was a bold move, particularly in a market like Australia, which appreciated automatics. To step up to a five-door SLX hatch you'll pay $6500 to $8000 and $7000-$8000 for a Super S.
The Skyline had a refined mechanical package that was reassuringly reliable, it was well built, but its hard-edged styling was hard to accept. Unlike the two locally built cars, and the Skyline, the Maxima was front-wheel drive, but it boasted good build quality, was smooth and refined, and very reliable. Sure it was conservative, as many Japanese cars of the time were, but it’s really being a little unfair to the Maxima, and yourself, if you disregard it on the basis of its looks. That’s the upside of conservative styling, it simply doesn’t date as fast as some more edgy styling does. The range topping 30GV had all of that plus leather, dual airbags, active suspension, power sunroof and fog lamps. The silky smooth double overhead cam motor had multipoint fuel-injection and pumped out a competitive 142 kW at 5600 revs, which was more than a match for the local six cylinder family cars. Features list included standard auto trans, ally wheels, rear spoiler, leather steering wheel and gearshift knob.
You can expect 200,000 km out of a trannie with little trouble, but try to find a car with a service record as these will be more reliable in the long run than a car that has been neglected. The ST-L had extra safety features, plus 15-inch alloy wheels, power windows and Tricot seat trim. Those who cared to take a closer look, however, were pleasantly surprised and became ardent fans. Atop the range the Ti sedan and Q hatch had leather-trimmed steering wheels, a blend of leather and cloth trim, an overhead console, and six speaker sound systems.



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