The Nissan Primera was a mid-size family car produced from 1990 to 2008.
Nissan Primera Design and Introduction
Taking its name from the Spanish word for first, the Nissan Primera was sold in Japan and Europe. In the Japanese domestic market, it was sold at Nissan Prince Store dealerships, replacing the Auster and Stanza models. It was also available in North America, but was sold under the Infinity brand. The first generation Nissan Primera was not exactly the greatest looking car. The front end had relatively thin headlights and an understated grille, although it did come with color-matched bumpers. It was first available in a 4-door sedan, while a 5-door hatchback and estate were eventually added to the lineup. It wasn't taking any chances and instead matched a generic look that had wide appeal.
Engine and Available Options
The engines stuck with 2.0L and under displacement, mainly in an effort to receive Japanese road tax favorable treatment and appeal to the European market which desired increased fuel efficiency. The smallest option was a 1.6L inline-4, while 1.8L and 2.0L inline-4 versions were also available. A 2.0L diesel was added to the lineup in 1992. Europe did not receive the 1.8L offering. Transmission options included a 4-speed automatic and 5-speed manual. It was Nissan's first vehicle with a multi-link front suspension and front-wheel drive. The trim levels depended upon the country sold in, but were vast and offered a wide selection of options.
Second Generation Changes
Nissan introduced the second generation Primera in 1996, taking on a much needed design overhaul. Some of the features seem to resemble a generic Saab design, with a low front bumper that jetted out beyond the headlights. The rear of the body was still a relatively conventional shape, and it kept the multi-link front suspension which it also added to the rear axle. The engine options remained similar. Japan saw the 1.8L and 2.0L inline-4 gasoline options, which European variants had 1.6L and 2.0L gasoline options and a 2.0L inline-4 diesel. Most body styles in Japan were a four-door sedan, but Europe had the five-door hatchback and estate variants. Transmission options included a 4-speed automatic, 5-speed manual, and a continuously variable transmission. Another major difference between the models sold in the separate continents was the the Japanese version was slightly thinner, once again so it could receive favorable Japanese road tax consequences by sticking within the compact class sizes. It was also assembled and sold in New Zealand for a short period.
Third Generation Updates
In 2001, Nissan released the third generation Nissan Primera. It left the conventional styling behind in favor of a bolder, more unique look. The front end had a long sloping shape, with essentially a straight line from over the headlights to the top of the windshield. That point above the windshield then turned back down and eventually met a more rounded rear end. Engine options remained similar, with 1.6L, 1.8L and 2.0L inline-4 gasoline options and 2.0L diesel versions. 2.2L and 1.9L diesel engines were available in select markets. The transmission choices also remained similar, with the 5-speed manual, 4-speed automatic, and CVT. A 6-speed manual was available on some of the models with the 2.0L engine.
Discontinuation of the Nissan Primera
While there was some speculation about a replacement for the Nissan Primera, nothing ended up hitting the market. The Nissan Sentra was a similar model offered after the end of the Primera's production run, but was not a direct replacement and wasn't offered in all markets. A notably fact about the Nissan Primera is that it was used in the British Touring Car Championship and won manufacturers and team titles in 1998 and 1999, as well as the Independents Cup victory in 1999 and 2000. A special GTSE variant was released to celebrate with distinctive green paint and interior touches.