The Tiida surprised when it took over from the Pulsar, writes Graham Smith
THE Nissan Pulsar was one of Australia’s most popular and respected small cars, so the oddly named Tiida had a tough act to follow when it was launched in 2006.
Its job was made easier when currency changes forced Nissan to push the Pulsar’s price higher and it lost its competitive edge in its final years.
Nissan was determined to use the Tiida to win back some of the ground given up late in the Pulsar’s life.
IT WAS a surprise when Nissan dropped the popular Pulsar nameplate in favour of the Tiida, but the company justified the move by saying the Tiida was an all-new car and a fresh start.
One look at the Tiida was all that was needed to see that it was indeed a fresh start for the Nissan small car.
Whereas the Pulsar’s looks were rather staid, the Tiida’s were stylish and modern and could only have come from Europe.
The looks came from Nissan joining forces with Renault, which resulted in the Tiida sharing its underpinnings with the Renault Megane.
Compared with the Pulsar the Tiida was bigger, more refined and more comfortable. It was also well finished and drove well.
The Tiida range was made up of the ST sedan and hatch at the entry point, the mid-range ST-L sedan and hatch, and the Ti sedan and Q hatch.
An all-aluminium 1.8-litre double overhead camshaft four-cylinder engine with variable valve timing provided the motivation.
When working at its peak it delivered a modest 93kW at 5200 revs and 174Nm at 4800 revs.
It was sufficient to comfortably keep up with the traffic without exciting the driving senses.
All models but the Ti had a sixspeed manual gearbox standard, with an option of a four-speed auto box. The Ti had the auto standard. all models were comfortable and roomy inside with good head, leg and elbow room. Soft-feel materials were used on dash padding, door trims and headliner, topped off with polished metallic finishes that gave it a quality look and feel.
The boot was a good size with a flat floor, under which was stowed a fullsized spare.
All models were well equipped. Even the ST entry models had airconditioning, remote central locking, CD with four-speaker sound, and power mirrors.
The ST-L had extra safety features, as well as 15-inch alloy wheels, power windows and Tricot seat trim.
Atop the range the Ti sedan and Q hatch had leather-trimmed steering wheels, a blend of leather and cloth trim, an overhead console and sixspeaker sound systems.
Better all round: the Nissan Tiida was bigger, more refined and more comfortable than the Pulsar it replaced.