Alfa Romeo
Land Rover
Nissan Tiida Tiida, ST-L and Ti
Small Nissan big on comfort
May 2006

NISSAN faced a tough job replacing one of its longest-running and most popular models, the Pulsar.

Adding to the challenge was the fact the brand opted, amid considerable criticism, to go with a different name _ Tiida, pronounced Tee-Dah and based on the Japanese word for tide.

This seemed like an unusual move considering the local market`s strong association with Pulsar, which attracted 386,000 sales Down Under since 1980.

However, the new name is fast winning acceptance and reviewers and early buyers are finding that the Tiida is a worthy successor to Pulsar.

It has a number of strengths, including greater interior room, good levels of comfort and, like Pulsar, extremely competitive pricing, starting from $19,990. This climbs to $26,490 for the Ti auto sedan.

The target audience includes singles, younger couples and empty nesters. If fuel prices continue to rise, the target market may even extend to budget-conscious young families.

A series of advertisements starring Sex and the City`s 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, which will be a favourite for the girls, and a four-door sedan.

Both are offered with a decent list of standard equipment, including driver

and passenger airbags, 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.

Tiida is powered by a standard 93 kilowatt 1.8-litre all-aluminium DOHC 4-cylinder engine.

There`s the choice of two transmissions _ a six-speed manual, or a four-speed automatic with lock up torque converter.

The 1.8-litre four-cylinder engine is responsive and enables swift overtaking.

The newcomer sits on Nissan`s B platform, from the same family as Renault`s Clio and Megane.

Handling is not as sharp as some of its rivals, including Ford Focus,

Mazda3 and the new Honda Civic and overall, Tiida is less than exhilarating to drive.

The Nissan does offer a wonderfully smooth ride though and comfort levels of a much bigger car.

It is quiet, efficient and has a solid feel that inspires confidence in the driver.

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

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

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

There`s room up front for the most elongated of drivers, and those in the back are spoilt too.

The cabin is thoughtfully designed and highly functional, but like Tiida`s exterior styling, it leans more towards safe and conservative than funky.

All considered the Pulsar replacement is a good, honest performer that is sure to find favour with those looking for a small car big on comfort, size 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: Plenty of room, cruises quietly, well-priced

CONS: Conservative styling, handling could be sharper

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