Alfa Romeo
Land Rover
Nissan Tiida ST, ST-L, Q and Ti
Tide is turning for Nissan
January 2006

THE new Nissan Tiidas name looks like it contains a typo, but theres no mistaking that this is a small car of impressive quality.

Aside from the stuttering i in its moniker, Nissan has crossed all the Ts with its freshest release.

Tiida, pronounced Tee-Dah and based on the Japanese word for tide, is the long-awaited replacement for the solid-selling Pulsar, brought to our shores in 1980.

Nissan sold 386,000 Pulsars in 26 years, but Australian CEO Shinya Hannya said it was time for a change.

At the Tiidas national press launch, held in Victoria`s Yarra Valley, Mr Hannya said the newcomer had a modern image and would appeal to a fresh audience.

And the timing could not have been better with soaring fuel prices sparking a 20 per cent surge in small car sales.

Theres no doubt Tiida is a much better conveyance than its predecessor.

It is roomier, more comfortable and offers superior styling, both inside and out.

The good news is that price is still extremely competitive, starting from $19,990.

The target audience includes singles, younger couples and empty nesters.

A series of advertisements starring Sex and the Citys Kim Cattrall show that Nissan also has its sights set on winning more female buyers.

Tiida comes in two body styles, a five-door hatchback and four-door sedan.

Both are offered with a long list of standard equipment, including driver and passenger airbag, seatbelt pre-tensioners, air-conditioning and CD player. Curtain airbags and an ABS braking system with BA and EBD will be available in the plusher variants.

The full range of specification levels includes ST, ST-L and Q, and the sedan in ST, ST-L and Ti.

The newcomer sits on Nissans B platform, from the same family as Renaults Clio and Megane.

Tiida is powered by a standard 93 kilowatt 1.8-litre all-aluminium DOHC 4-cylinder engine and has the choice of two transmissions - a class-first six-speed manual, or a four-speed automatic with lock up torque converter.

A 200km trip through the Victorian countryside was the perfect place to get acquainted with the new model, which proved fun to drive and capable of handling the variety of conditions presented by our often unpredictable road network.

The 1.8-litre four-cylinder engine is responsive and enables swift overtaking of the lumbering trucks and crawling caravans that seem to plague country drives.

Handling is sharp, but perhaps not as edgy as some of its rivals, such as Fords Focus and Mazdas funky 3.

Toyotas big-selling Corolla also looms as one of the Nissans biggest hurdles.

Tiida offers a wonderfully smooth ride and comfort levels of a much bigger car.

The power steering is speed sensitive, but there didnt appear to be a dramatic difference in feel between slow and highway speed. Overall it felt perhaps a little too light.

Fuel economy, ever so important these days, adds to the Tiida package.

Averaging around 7.5 litres for every 100km covered, the Nissan no doubt would make it an excellent commuter.

By far the Tiidas most impressive quality is its interior space, which would put many larger cars to shame.

Theres room up front for the most elongated of drivers, and those in the back are spoilt too. If fuel prices continue to rise, the target market may even extend to young families.

The cabin is thoughtfully designed and highly functional.

The instrument panel, however, could be more visible, with this driver finding it partly obscured by the steering wheel.

All attributes considered, the Nissan Tiida is a bold improvement on Pulsar and a must consider in the $20,000 small car segment.

The hatch has a trendier look and should find plenty of female admirers.

Those who look beyond the Tiidas funny name will discover a car packed with style, space and value.



ENGINE: DOHC 16-valve 1.8-litre 4-cylinder

POWER 93kW at 5200rpm

TORQUE: 174Nm at 4800rpm

TRANSMISSION: 6-speed manual or 4-speed automatic

PROS: Roominess, equipment levels, price

CONS: Weird name, steering a little light, instrument panel could be more visible

FEATURES: Driver and passenger airbags, air-conditioning, remote central locking, CD player, tilt-adjustable steering wheel, power mirrors.

FUEL ECONOMY: average 7.5 litres/100km

COST: sedan/hatch $19,990 manual (automatic $2000), ST-L sedan/hatch $22,240, Q hatch $24,490, Ti sedan auto $26,490