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  • Enthusiastic performance; six-speed manual; steering feel; vision
  • No ESC; centre lap belt; narrow cabin; cargo space; dated looks

6 / 10

Nissan Tiida Review & Road Test
by Matt Brogan

As good as it’s been Tiida is crying out for an update

Model Tested:

  • 2009 Nissan C11 Tiida Q; 1.8-litre, four-cylinder, six-speed manual, five-door hatch – $23,990*


  • Metallic Paint $495

CarAdvice Rating:

By Matt Brogan

The Nissan Tiida, which replaced the popular Pulsar nameplate back in September 2004, has been struggling to assimilate into its segment for almost five full years now.

So here and now in mid-2009, with almost every rival in the small car category being of a newer design age, and offering a far greater array of standard features as a result, is it time the Thai-built Tiida was laid to rest?

Nissan Tiida Review & Road Test
Nissan Tiida Review & Road Test
Nissan Tiida Review & Road Test
Nissan Tiida Review & Road Test

The most obvious battle facing the downtrodden yet eager selling Tiida – next to the marketing faux pas that was the almost forgotten, male audience polarising ‘Sex in the City’ ad campaign – is the self-evident question of the vehicle’s size.

Although Tiida tries to compete on the same playing field as its Japanese brethren (Civic, Corolla, Impreza, Lancer, Mazda3, SX4) it’s obvious by fact of its dimensions that the car is noticeably smaller, especially in terms of cabin width.

The inboard placement of seat controls, non-existent gap between the door and the seat cushion and knife edge rear-centre seat testament to the car’s more narrow-bodied origins.

Cargo capacity too, although not the worst in this category, is rather lacking at 289 litres. Thankfully 60:40 split fold seats are availed.

However, it isn’t just the mismatched interior dimensions that leave Tiida playing catch up for under the bonnet it’s much the same story. Nissan’s MR18DE four-cylinder engine is starting to show its design age managing only 93kW/174Nm from its 1.8-litre capacity.

The output, on paper at least, is rather average when compared to rivals of comparable capacity but for its lack of numerical endowment, Tiida’s engine is at least enthusiastic in delivery managing a 0-100km/h time of 10.8 seconds.

Nissan Tiida Review & Road Test
Nissan Tiida Review & Road Test
Nissan Tiida Review & Road Test
Nissan Tiida Review & Road Test

Okay so it’s not going storm the salt flats, and with such little torque on hand you will be kept busy on the gearbox, but what a great little box of cogs it is, and I will admit, I did enjoy the engine – transmission combination in this car for its unerring ability to rev, decent mid-range flow and close adhesion to fuel economy claims (7.9L/100km as tested).

Graph shows sub $25K Japanese rivals. Manual hatch variant quoted where possible.

Enough of the facts and figures, statistically at least my point is well proven, let’s get to the all important question of how it drives.

If we were to rewind to before the face-lift of January 2008 then perhaps I may have been a little less kind at this point, but the revised power steering really has helped the car to have better overall road feel, even if the disc/drum braking and torsion beam rear end feel evidently dated at task.

There’s also a tendency for Tiida to understeer in the wet at even modest speeds, and without Electronic Stability Control (ESC) or Traction Control to intervene, a lot of how the car responds in such situations will come down to driver input.

Dry roads do see a slight improvement in character though the front-end push is still quite evident. Added cabin height means body roll does encroach on Tiida’s abilities, a factor exaggerated by the spindly 15-inch wheels.

Fortunately the car redeems itself in offering quiet highway cruising and a high seating position that makes the most of the car’s large glass house for excellent all round visibility. The seats are well formed offering suitable support and are reasonably comfortable on longer trips.

Decor is simple but functional and allows minimal distraction when driving – especially at night. Features include dual front and curtain airbags, single CD tuner, cruise control (on automatic Q models only), front fog lamps, power windows and mirrors as well as remote central locking with panic alarm.

Sadly, and perhaps again as a result of Tiida’s design age, this mid-upper spec effort simply cannot compete with its competitors in terms of kit missing out on features now commonly found (sometimes as standard) in same priced rivals.

Of note Tiida omits tilt/reach adjustable steering column (tilt only), reverse sensors, auxiliary audio plug-in, remote audio controls on the steering wheel, cruise control on manual models, Bluetooth connectivity, satellite navigation, climate control and a centre console.

If nothing else it could be argued that with its $17,990 entry-price the Tiida does represent excellent value for money by placing a big-name and reliable Japanese brand in to an affordable price bracket.

However, with the higher expectations we all have from new cars these days, and with so many on offer right now, it’s just a little haggling that stands between you and driving something that isn’t a Tiida. Let’s hope Nissan get the message!


CarAdvice Overall Rating:
How does it Drive:
How does it Look:
How does it Go:

    *Pricing is a guide as recommended to us by the manufacturer

    • Wheels: Alloy 15 x 5.5-inch

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    Nissan Tiida Review & Road Test
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    • Alan

      This car makese a the korean offerings look sexy. It is such a bland and boring car, it was outdated and uncompetitive on the day it was launched, and time has only made it worse.

    • Iz

      Had one as a rental for a couple weeks while my Golf was away on being detailed and minor scratch repairs etc.

      They’re an -alright- car, but in my opinion, as a city car, the 1.8L is a bit touchy and you’d probably be fine with the smaller 1.5L other markets get (along with the CVT that they get too).

      But one thing that really put me off (aside from the lack of every single comfort feature you could imagine; it was a rental, after all) was the rear seat. It was angled in such a way that it became EXTREMELY uncomfortable after even short drives, and the fact that everything below the top model misses out on the armrest and headrests (of all things) made it really unappealing.

      Which is a shame, because Nissan could’ve done much more with this car.

    • Deco

      No centre console. Didn’t know cars didn’t have them these days. Not the worst car, but it is for the sure the back runner of the segment.

    • Captain Mainwaring

      Agree with all the above, BUT, have you noted how ugly the 4-door sedan version is? It is truly horrendous, like it was designed to be a Japanese taxi.

    • VW Freak

      Deco Says:
      July 29th, 2009 at 11:02 am

      “No centre console. Didn’t know cars didn’t have them these days.”

      There’s a few cars out there with no centre console. Mazda2 comes to mind.

      And everyone thinks the Corolla is bland and boring, the Tiida is a lot worse!

    • http://skyline The Salesman

      Tiida is Japanese for “Ever changing tide” is should mean “Complete washout” I bet if they did a face change and slapped a Pulsar badge on it the sales figures would go north.

      • Matt

        Not if people test drive it before they buy it. Had a fairly new one (under 1000kms on it) as a hire car a while back and it was pretty horrible

    • Steve-Poyza

      Want to know why its so narrow and small yet almost fun to drive? Well, the chassis was taken from the Renault Clio (a car of a much smaller category) and simply extended. Nissan are so lazy to have done that, no wonder its so tiny! I thought it was ugly the day it was launched. Nissan don’t offer any heart into some of their cars. This, the new Maxima… just some examples. Its hard to imagine the guys that made this car also brought us the 370Z and GT-R :S

      • Luke

        Thing to remember is that when Nissan designed the Tiida, they were almost broke and were bailed out by Renault – hence why this car is a clumsy Clio knockoff. The 370Z and GTR are cars Nissan designed when they had recovered from near bankruptcy (hence they are proper Nissans).

    • LancerFan

      I don’t know why Nissan ppl are so stupid to release Tiida again.

      Certainly a lot worse than anything in the market – SX4 will be second worst.

    • Adstar

      Being a Tiida owner, I have to agree with the comments about the understeer in the wet, particularly when going through long sweeping bends, but other than that they are an alright vehicle to get around in, the manuals get off the line quicker than some of the “popular” 4 cylinders & the fuel economy is pretty good too

    • The Original Tom

      I second the notion:

      How does a company that has made cars like the 370Z, GT-R, 200SX, bring us such crap, soul-less cars as well.

      Even the Pulsar had the SSS with a sprightly 2L engine and decent handling.

    • John

      The Tiida should have been laid to rest as soon as it was born. What an odd-looking thing, and the lack of some basic safety equipment (such as the lap-only centre rear seatbelt in place of lap/sash) is completely inexcusable.

      I’d sooner have an N14 Pulsar than a Tiida.

    • http://Caradvice.com.au Baddass

      Yo gotta remember guys, this is often exactly what some people want. They just want cheap, basic transport and this is where the Tiida delivers.

    • Howie-R31

      Your right baddass, but what people are saying is that for the same category of vehicle, you can get more for your money.

    • Tim

      If they stuck with a Pulsar nameplate they would be far better off. I would put bets on that.

    • SamR

      Nisan broke every rule in the book with this car.

      First, they replace the well loved Pulsar name with Tiida.

      Second, they advertise it as a girls car.

      Third, they make it look like a horses arse.

      Fourth, no performance models at all.

      What a bunch of losers! They make the Z car and GTR and can’t get this right.

    • Fernando

      I can hardly understand why I should buy this car.
      For reliability, Toyota Corolla is a better choice,
      Driving dynamics and style, Mazda3 outperforms,
      value and practicality, Hyundai I30 is superior.

    • Jo

      Put this dog to sleep. Give me a Kia or Hyundai equivalent anyday…

    • Ian

      To the reviewer: The Tiida nameplate replaced Pulsar here in Australia in early 2006. The Tiida debuted in Japan in September 2004.

      Giving this thing three stars out of five overall is questionable given that it is pretty much at the bottom of its class for looks, the way it drives and on safety considerations. And the name of this thing was another mistake on Nissan’s part, which pretty much sums up this whole car.

      The replacement due in 2011, which should see the return of the Pulsar badge, is critical in stemming Nissan’s sales slide here.



    • SamR

      Bring back the SSS in 2011 !!!! Nissan !!!!

    • RiderX

      So is this the car called to battle the barbarians at the gate? It’s hard to believe but there was a time I really wanted a Pulsar — it was my top choice. And a time when I thought I would get a Maxima if I had a bit of money. With their disastrous design language and marketing not outstanding, how could this car come from the same company makes GTR?

      Nissan should really be concerned about losing their bread and butter market – with the new generation of Korean cars is about to hit the market with full force with newer technologies (LPG hybrid etc) and cohesive design, and as well as the imminent Chinese invasion, this is just not a winning formula they have here.

      Also why is Thai-made cars be so expensive? I mean if Lancer made in Japan can be sold here for 20K – surely they could do a lot better.

      PS: Get a new designer, Nissan. Like Kia did.

    • Baz

      Pretty fair review given the stigma this car inevitably has. The Tiida is actually more attractive as a base-model for $17k driveaway when compared to the alternatives available (eg. Kia’s and Hyundai’s?). It is not a close competitor to the “established” small-medium cars like the Civic or the Corolla, but offers a bridge between these cars and their smaller siblings like the Yaris and Jazz and is priced accordingly.

      Also, the Tiida is on the Megane platform, not a stretched Clio platform.

    • LN

      I work for Nissan and I have to agree that the Tiida has been performing poorly in the market.

      The return of the Pulsar will never happen, the new facelift Tiida or C12 Tiida has been available in overseas market for over a year now and Australia wont be getting them til the end of 2011.

      Nissan Australia should have canned the Tiida product in the first year.

      But I guess with the new Dualis 4×2 coming out next month, it will be worth waiting to paying $25k for the Dualis ST Base.

    • Toxic_Horse

      My understanding is, Nissan Australia wanted to call it the Pulsar but japan said no.
      Even if it was called a pulsar, can’t hide the fact that the car is just so boring.
      I rented one for a week and it was actually not that bad a car to live with, just very dull.

    • http://www.caradvice.com.au OSU811

      I would never buy one of these ugly, ordinary cars, no matter how cheap it was!! Bring back the pulsar SSS!

    • NacaYoda

      Perhaps they went with the TIIDA nameplate because they didn’t think this model was worthy of the Pulsar name? If they had called this a Pulsar, people would be on this forum flaming Pulsars. A different name would not have saved this car or increased sales. There’s not many of us who spend $17,000 based on name alone! Seriously!

      I think Nissan are in a tight spot with this model. If they put all the bells and whistles back in (like the Japanese version), a fully spec it out, it’s too expensive and has to compete directly with lots of other contenders in that higher price bracket.

      At the same time, it’s got a decent sized engine and power, and is larger than the light-car category it is priced around (Yaris, Colt etc). But what they lack in size and engine capacity, they make up for in appointments.

      So it kinda sits out on it’s own. Capable, but not the master of either category. And kinda bland. I don’t think introducing a SSS version will help… unless it is very special and still affordable. An electric variant might do well, depending on the price, but I doubt Australia has the infrustructure for that kind of release locally just yet.

      I do hope they bring back the Pulsar and a SSS variant. But I pray it isn’t an renamed TIIDA.

      ps. I wonder how much a Cube would cost if they brought that in :)

    • phillip

      It’s interesting that Nissan Aus weren’t allowed to call the Tiida what they wanted, as it is sold in the USA as the Versa. Anyway, I think that the name is at best 40% of the problem with this car. When it first came out, the only car worse in that class was the Holden Viva.

    • Hjalle

      I have never liked the Tiida, it is ugly and boring. I’ll take a Fiesta thanks

      • http://dodge franz chong

        A wise choice to take a Fiesta.They are beautiful and exciting.For base model Tiida Money You are getting either the LX OR ZETEC Fiesta in a 5 Door German Quality and Safety and they put a proper belt in the back seat for the Middle Occupant.Speaking of the Tiida I sold mine the other day.

    • Tony

      I have to agree with the with the majority of the comments made here. Two months ago I was looking for a new vehicle purchase and test drove a few to make a final decision. Test drove the Tiida. Certainly has a zippy motor under the hood however the interior decor and exterior modelling has gone out the window. I’m thinking down the track of resale value, and it is quite bland. Why would you. It’s just lacking appeal on soo many levels. I went back to the Mitsubishi dealership, paid a little extra, and purchased the ES Lancer. Haven’t looked back. Love my Lancer….

    • http://www.shutup.com punchat

      for gawd sake what you expect for the price. most of you cant afford anything better anyways so ssssssssss up

      • http://dodge franz chong

        You can buy One size Smaller Super Mini’s for less more than the Tiida and have a lot of change left over.

    • Andrew

      No doubt like any car it would have certain talents that would either match or outdo its rivals but most importantly it has fell way behind over the years (perhaps as Nissan have not received sufficent sales to in turn invest into updating it) as even at the time it was released for example the Corolla had the slightly more powerful engine but was at a similar level for equipment but now the Corolla has caught up to its rivals quickly therefore further isolating the Tiida. Having a 6 speed manual is probably close to being its party-peice as firstly it was introduced when it was released which at the time was a class-first and to have enough cogs is important in small engines. Also having ridden in one they have got a very basic thing right, interior room.

    • http://none craig

      The comments about Tiida above are correct. I own one and feel like changing it. Next time I go car shopping for sure a honda or toyota showroom would be the best place.

      No more nissan for me in future.

    • Frangop

      At approx 15% less than the equivalent Toyota, Mazda or Honda it is definitely a great buy for a Japanese car. That is a difference of $2,000 – $4,000 and it is like free petrol for 18 months!!!

      • LN

        I dont think so frangop… we still have another year with this tiida. The sales for the tiida in 2009 has performed really poorly despite the 50% investment allowance and the healthcare industry buying these car up quick snap!

        We were told there is going to be a Ltd edition Tiida Sport Hatch to be released sometime mid this year but thats unlikely going to happen.

        • Frangop

          LN, thank you for your feedback.
          I have a question – as far as you know, what is the overall reliability/quality of Tiida, particularly the C11?

          • http://dodge franz chong

            DON’T BUY ONE.They are more trouble than they are worth.Buy a Fiesta or Polo if you must have something in this class

    • franz chong

      The Tiida Is Not a Bad Car.I managed to buy one back in 2006 with help from My Aunty and a Trade in Mazda Astina with low mileage extremely good condition.I have had mine for almost four years and hope to buy another one in 2011 budget permitting and if the price is right.
      My family are long time Datsun/Nissan Owners going back to my Aunties 120Y Coupe back in the seventies then their 260Z 2+2,Later on came my brothers 1992 Pulsar last of the Australian Made Ones Since Gone to a Good Home,A 1996 200SX which I did my L and P Plates driving on,A 2003 350Z both that belonged to my late father and My 2006 Tiida In Addition there has been a couple of N16 Sunnys that belong to my Uncle in Singapore.If The Tiida is too dear but still want a Nissan Buy a Micra.

      • LN

        Franz chong, the new 2010 Nissan Tiida is now available at the Nissan dealership.

    • Noely

      I just dunt understand why nissan didn’t bring in the JMD(MY2008)Tiida??? it looks a lot better…

    • Noely

      I think JDM Bluebird Sylphy(MR20DE)should of replaced Pulsar…come on nissan!!

    • themba

      tiida is a very boring car i’ll rather go for toyota tazz

    • nickdl

      I know it’s been replaced already but that half leather trim on the seat looks sooooo cheap.

    • Lynk

      I have a Nissan Tiida Auto, bought Aug 2007.
      Over the last few weeks, I turn key to start car: It turns over, but does not ignite… very frustrating.
      I have checked Battery water, and terminals.
      I have low Km’s. What else to do??

      Yes, Driver’s window also does not go auto “UP”.
      Had fuel guage probs like other owners. Got it fixed.
      Warranty almost up, and worried about cost to fix starting problem!

      Any other drivers with solutions to this prob that seems common with past reviewers pls???

    • Dave

      Interesting. I drove a 92 Pulsar SSS for years. (N14 Aust Model)
      It was a brilliant car. The ergonomics were perfect. Everything I needed for driving I could touch just by extending my finger & keeping both hands on the wheel. The climate, radio & accessory button were exactly where you’d want them with the more frequently used ones closer easier to see & closer to you. eg: Radio above climate control. Fog lights in close.

      Oddles of performance, great ecomomy, very adjustable drivers seat & strong security. Sure no airbag & possibly not good in a crash.

      So hard to understand how they could develop something so outstanding & then evolve it & eventually replace it with such junk.

    • James

      Nissan Micras better and nicer looking.

    • James

      Someone we know we had one and it exploded apperintly.

    • Mariska Dania

      I have experience for the second time in 1 year trouble with the engine of the Nissan Tilda 2009. The battery failed on both occasion and the car won’t start. This cardealer in Aruba carge me for new battary.This is a fabric defect.

    • Larry Winter

      I have had my Jan. 06 Tiida for 4 years. Its been faithfully serviced & has been supremely reliable.
      EXCEPT!!!!!!!! the unbeleivabley noisy front brakes. New rotors didn’t stop the problem, nor did 3 lots of pads, or repeated skimming of the rotors, or hydraulic fluid flushing
      I wont go into the full story, however if you are replacing your front pads ENSURE your mechainic knows the difference between Japanese Pads & Thai Pads. Do not put Thai pads into a Japanese caliper ( big dimension difference)

    • stuart

      I bought a Nissan Tiida 2007, had couple of problems with it. First, the brake failed when driving at high speed of 100 km/h. second the power steering failed a couple of times when driving long distances. third the auto wind up/down driver’s side window does not work all the time. forth, while stopping with an idle engine, with the a/c on the engine vibrates a lot. fuel consumption is extremely high not as they state around 11L /100kms. Last, the headlights were not powerful enough for night driving, had to change it to 100% more vision for it to be good. Apart from that not big issues. the good thing is the space both in the boot and the cabin. very spacious car for its category.

    • 4wdWannaBe

      I have a Tiida 2009 hatchback and all i can say is they are a great car to have, you dont have to bend to put a child in the car seat, they are cheap to run and i i live 20-30mins out of town and it cost me $50 a week to run, i love my 4wd wanna be ;-), one of the best and comfy cars i have owned and driven, they are a smooth car, easy to park, heaps of room in the back for 2 car seats and a child out of a car seat, heaps of room at the front for an adult and the split back seats are great, the amount of things i can fit in the back of my car is great, its pretty sad when i can fit things in the back of my Tidda and a bigger car couldnt get it in not even with the seats down, no the Tiida isnt made for drag racing or to pick up girls/guys, its more of a small family car thats cheap to run and easy to after look.

    • Misha

      What Kind of Gasoline(petrol) Should I use for this car? I mean Reagular, Eco, Api or what?.

    Nissan Tiida Specs

    Car Details
    C11 MY07
    Body Type
    New Price
    Private Sale
    $9,240 - $10,500
    Dealer Retail
    $10,920 - $12,980
    Dealer Trade
    $7,400 - $8,400
    Engine Specifications
    Engine Type
    Engine Size
    Max. Torque
    174Nm @  4800rpm
    Max. Power
    93kW @  5200rpm
    Pwr:Wgt Ratio
    Bore & Stroke
    Compression Ratio
    Valve Gear
    Drivetrain Specifications
    Drive Type
    Final Drive Ratio
    Fuel Specifications
    Fuel Type
    Fuel Tank Capacity
    Fuel Consumption (Combined)
    7.8L / 100km
    Weight & Measurement
    Kerb Weight
    Gross Vehicle Weight
    Not Provided
    Ground Clearance
    Towing Capacity
    Brake:1000  Unbrake:600
    Steering & Suspension
    Steering Type
    Turning Circle
    Front Rim Size
    Rear Rim Size
    Front Tyres
    185/65 R15
    Rear Tyres
    185/65 R15
    Wheel Base
    Front Track
    Rear Track
    Front Brakes
    Rear Brakes
    Front Suspension
    MacPherson strut, Coil Spring, Hydraulic double acting shock absorber, Anti roll bar
    Rear Suspension
    Torsion bar, Coil Spring, Hydraulic shock absorber, Anti roll bar
    Standard Features
    Air Conditioning
    Control & Handling
    15 Inch Alloy Wheels, Electronic Brake Force Distribution
    Cruise Control, Leather Steering Wheel, Power Steering
    Radio CD with 6 Speakers
    Fog Lights - Front, Power Mirrors, Rear Spoiler
    Power Windows
    Dual Airbag Package, Anti-lock Braking, Head Airbags, Seatbelts - Pre-tensioners Front Seats
    Central Locking Remote Control, Engine Immobiliser
    Optional Features
    Metallic Paint
    Service Interval
    6 months /  10,000 kms
    36 months /  100,000 kms
    VIN Plate Location
    Driver Side Eng Scuttle
    Country of Origin