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

OUR RATING
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*

Options:

  • 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!

Ratings:

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 Specs

    Q : C11 MY07 : 1.8L MULTI POINT F/INJ - 4 SP AUTOMATIC - UNLEADED PETROL - 5D HATCHBACK
    Car Details
    Make
    NISSAN
    Model
    TIIDA
    Variant
    Q
    Series
    C11 MY07
    Year
    2009
    Body Type
    5D HATCHBACK
    Seats
    5
    Pricing
    New Price
    N/A
    Private Sale
    $8,470 - $9,630
    Dealer Retail
    $9,990 - $11,880
    Dealer Trade
    $6,700 - $7,700
    Engine Specifications
    Engine Type
    MULTI POINT F/INJ
    Engine Size
    1.8L
    Cylinders
    INLINE 4
    Max. Torque
    174Nm @  4800rpm
    Max. Power
    93kW @  5200rpm
    Pwr:Wgt Ratio
    83.8W/kg
    Bore & Stroke
    84x81.1mm
    Compression Ratio
    9.9
    Valve Gear
    VARIABLE DOUBLE OVERHEAD CAM
    Drivetrain Specifications
    Transmission
    4 SP AUTOMATIC
    Drive Type
    FRONT WHEEL DRIVE
    Final Drive Ratio
    4.072
    Fuel Specifications
    Fuel Type
    UNLEADED PETROL
    Fuel Tank Capacity
    52Litres
    Fuel Consumption (Combined)
    7.8L / 100km
    Weight & Measurement
    Kerb Weight
    1110
    Gross Vehicle Weight
    Not Provided
    Height
    1535mm
    Length
    4205mm
    Width
    1695mm
    Ground Clearance
    117mm
    Towing Capacity
    Brake:1000  Unbrake:600
    Steering & Suspension
    Steering Type
    RACK & PINION - POWER ASSISTED
    Turning Circle
    10.4
    Front Rim Size
    5.5x15
    Rear Rim Size
    5.5x15
    Front Tyres
    185/65 R15
    Rear Tyres
    185/65 R15
    Wheel Base
    2600
    Front Track
    1480
    Rear Track
    1485
    Front Brakes
    DISC - VENTILATED
    Rear Brakes
    DRUM
    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
    Comfort
    Air Conditioning
    Control & Handling
    15 Inch Alloy Wheels, Electronic Brake Force Distribution
    Driver
    Cruise Control, Leather Steering Wheel, Power Steering
    Entertainment
    Radio CD with 6 Speakers
    Exterior
    Fog Lights - Front, Power Mirrors, Rear Spoiler
    Interior
    Power Windows
    Safety
    Dual Front Airbag Package, Anti-lock Braking, Head Airbags, Seatbelts - Pre-tensioners Front Seats
    Security
    Central Locking Remote Control, Engine Immobiliser
    Optional Features
    Exterior
    Metallic Paint
    Other
    Service Interval
    6 months /  10,000 kms
    Warranty
    36 months /  100,000 kms
    VIN Plate Location
    Driver Side Eng Scuttle
    Country of Origin
    Thailand