Road Test


Nissan Tiida ST-L automatic hatchback

by Ken Walker

29th September, 2006


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Nissan has named the Pulsar replacement Tiida, (pronounced tee-dah). It is available as a hatchback or as a sedan, in a choice of 4 trim levels.

The hatch is available in ST, ST-L and Q versions, whilst the sedan is available in ST, ST-L and Ti versions.

Transmission choices include a 6 speed manual as standard, whilst a 4 speed automatic is an option. One exception here though, the Ti sedan comes standard with the auto and it is not available with manual transmission.

This time out, the Next Car team put Nissan's new small car through its paces around Sydney and Newcastle. Our test car is the ST-L hatch with automatic transmission.

Power is supplied to the front wheels via the transmission from a 1.8 litre DOHC (double over head cam) 16 valve, 4 cylinder engine. The engine is common to all Tiida variants and puts out 93 kW at 5,200 rpm. The maximum torque is 174Nm at 4,800 rpm and pushes the light weight hatch (1,136 kg) along very quickly, requiring the driver to pay attention to speed limits. Little, if any, engine noise is heard in the cabin area. Around city localities the transmission is very smooth and is best operated with the overdrive off, particularly in peak hour traffic.

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Stopping this little tearaway is not a problem. All models are fitted with front disc and rear drum brakes with ABS, except the ST, which does not have ABS. The ST variant also misses out on Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist (BA).

The package rides on 185/65R15 alloy wheels, except the ST, which has steel wheels with full wheel (plastic) covers. All have a steel rim for the spare wheel.

Safety features are abundant in this Nissan, with driver and front passenger airbags as standard on all models. Front to rear curtain airbags are fitted on all models, except the ST sedan and hatch. And this is a good feature for vehicles in this part of the market. Front and rear crumple zones together with door intrusion beams make for a safe cabin area. Front seat belt pre-tensioners with load limiters are also fitted. While we are talking about the interior I found leg room front and rear to be suitable to carry 5 adults with ease. Although the rear centre passenger may be a little crowded on long trips.

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Hold it! Why talk about long trips? Well, the Tiida ST-L hatch is a great vehicle. It is also very competent on the highways and freeways. This beaut package was able to keep pace with other vehicles on the F3 freeway up to the legal limits and who needs to go any faster? Standard cabin equipment to enhance the daily usage includes AM/FM radio with CD player, air conditioning, power windows, tilt adjustable steering column, driversí foot rest, front door map pockets with bottle holder, cup holders and coin trays. The standard of trim fit and finish was exceptionally good and the seats were quite comfortable with a variety of adjustments available to suit any driver. Remote keyless entry is also featured as is an audible headlight on alarm with auto off. This will no doubt save a few batteries from going flat.

On the outside this package is well put together with the panels fitting well and the paint work was flawless.

Fuel tank capacity is 52 litres and the recommended fuel type is unleaded 91 RON or higher. Nissan quote fuel usage at 7.8 litres per 100 kms. This not tested by the Next Car Team, but fuel usage did seem frugal over the test period of 1 week when we covered some 930 kms.

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Front suspension is independent McPherson struts with stabiliser bar. Torsion beam with coil springs keeps the rear of the vehicle on the road. Power assisted rack and pinion steering is standard across the range. Towing capacity is restricted to 600 kg unbraked and 1,000 Kg braked, not too bad for a vehicle of this size.

To enhance Tiida (which means changing tides in Japanese), Nissan has designed a range of accessories for the owner to personalise their vehicle to their own style. Included in the available accessories are side skirts, front spoilers, 10 spoke alloy rims, weather shields, bonnet and headlight protectors, CD stacker, fog lamps and, something I like, rear park assist. These are just same of the available accessories, in fact there are 30 different items.

Pricing (RRP) for the Tiida range is from $19,990 (ST hatch/sedan) to $26,490.00 (Ti sedan). The test car, a Tiida ST-L automatic hatchback, is priced at $24,240 (RRP) plus the optional metallic paint.

Tiida sure is a funny name, but it is a nice package. Very pleasant to experience and quite predictable with its driving mannerisms.

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Other Nissan content: here.

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