THANKS to the generosity of fellow motoring scribe, Dave Richards, I am now smoking around in a 1995 Nissan Primera 1.6LX. Now, I hasten to add, it’s not the tidy looking saloon depicted in the picture, but a 134,000-mile hatchback in red, with a dent in the front, and, erm, very little else wrong with it.
Now I had better just say right now, that although I always admired the Primera from the time of its launch in 1990, I’m not seriously going to sing its praises in these pages. After all, we had the Montego to stave off its advances. However, driving it has been a revelation in one main area – engineering and build quality. Now, I’ve owned a few Anglo-Japanese cars (i.e., Rover 200s, 400s, 600s, and 800s), but none have approached the feeling of solidity and well-being that you get from owning one of these soulless appliances.
Everything still works, nothing rattles, nothing squeaks – and it just feels as though it’ll go on forever. I just wish it was the 405Mi16 rivalling 2.0eZX model…
And that’s the most fascinating aspect of this car – how the hell could they build something so solid and offer it for the same money as the Sierra, Cavalier and Montego? And its impressive the way that the lads (and lasses) in Washington could screw together their cars so well. Perhaps, ultimately they couldn’t sustain such quality for the money – as the subsequent takeover of Nissan by Renault has clearly shown that the Japanese company wasn’t making quite enough profit on its products.
It’s interesting that the P11 Primera that replaced this one did away with its independent rear suspension and various other big ticket items. But for readers of the Rover story, that’s not an unfamiliar turn of events.
Don’t expect any further blogs on this car – but for now, I couldn’t let its arrival on the scene and the impression it has made go uncommented…
Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...
Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.
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