25 December 1998

AN ESTATE THAT JUST GETS ON WITH THE JOB

Its Japanese month in

Country Car. Geoff Ashcroft

tests the firmness of

Oxfordshire seedbeds in a

brace of estates while

Ian Stent takes a look at

the controversial business

of grey imports of 4wds

CAR brochures do wonders to fire the imagination – but when the real thing lacks the appeal of those glossy pages, you begin to wonder what it was that first caught your imagination.

And the same is true for Nissans new estate version of the popular Primera. It is safely styled, makes no bold statements, but offers one or two thoughtful and neat touches – the boot floor flips over to become a built-in tray for boots and wellies, which also increases available load height by 10cm (4in). And theres also a useful 12v power socket residing in the rear.

Load space is generous and of a level youd expect of such a family-sized estate car. Drop the back seats and the Primera opens up like a chinese puzzle, revealing a load length of over 1.8m (6ft). And the SLX specification which farmers weekly had on test was equipped with most things considered vital by the motoring enthusiast – including air conditioning.

Like the saloon, the Primera estate remains a fine car to drive, with smooth controls and agile handling. It has the same width, height and wheelbase of the saloon, but the estate body is slightly longer to reveal the smooth curves of the D pillar and the revised rear end.

But the sparkle is missing – its just middle of the road. The Primera estate neither disappoints, nor excites – it just gets on with the job, day in, day out, without fuss.

Verdict: A good looker when viewed from the rear three-quarters, and competent in all it does.

But maybe not quite as exciting

as the ads suggest.

NISSANDATA

Model: Primera Estate.

List price: £19,655 (OTR).

Engine: 2 litre, 130hp petrol injection.

Top speed: 124mph.

0-62mph: 10.5secs.

Test fuel consumption: 35.5mpg.

Insurance group: 12.