2005 Nissan Almera Tino review

26 Feb 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on 2005 Nissan Almera Tino review
Nissan Almera

During the mid ’90s when I was living in Newcastle the football team signed an enigmatic Columbian named Faustino Asprilla. Unpredictable, full of creative flare and genius, Asprilla scored some fabulous goals and pulled off outrageous tricks in front of a packed St James’s Park every weekend. Now I can see you’re baffled by what exactly this has to do with the Nissan you see in front of you, but look at the number plate.

It’s the same name the 40,000 Geordie faithful chanted every week: Tiii-noh. The Almera Tino put a smile on my face the minute I saw that number plate; what an ingenious way of getting motoring journalists onside!

Unfortunately, as far as its looks are concerned the Tino has been hamstrung with the genetics of the Almera hatch. It is not offensive, but bland and oh-so-dull. Recent indications such as the Qashqai concept car indicate that Nissan is going to put an end to its current school of styling. In terms of kerb appeal and showroom window shoppers that change can’t come soon enough.

However, at the end of the day this is an MPV and as such looks are not the most important aspect of the car; not many of its rivals are particularly handsome either.

Inside, the Tino is impressively airy and spacious with lots of headroom and a big glass sunroof. To a child the Tino’s interior will feel positively cavernous and the roominess will prove a real boon to parents lifting children in and out of baby seats. In our time with the Tino it moved four generously proportioned males in comfort and the large boot will swallow pushchairs or pushbikes, depending on your needs, thanks to the array of seating arrangements offered by the flexible interior.

Also clever is the utilisation of almost every nook and cranny to integrate storage space and cubbies. These are no doubt a real boon when you have several kids and their sundries on board. My only gripe was the netted door pockets that were a nuisance to use on the move unless you already had something in the net.

The standard level of equipment is impressive: a 7-inch colour multi-function display, climate control, CD player, leather and full electrics are all standard on this SVE and mean the Tino undercuts rivals by around Ј2k on a spec for spec basis. One thing we didn’t like about the interior was that it had, and I believe I counted correctly, seven shades of grey; some colour wouldn’t go amiss!

From the comfortable driving seat the base of the steeply raked screen seems a mile away and can make positioning the car in confined spaces a little tricky. This aside the car is pleasant to drive and the wheel, pedals and dash controls are placed nicely. The engine dominates the driving experience.

The 136bhp DCi unit has gobs of torque that comes in nice and low in the rev range and is sustained all the way through. Disappointingly, the source of this flexible urge, the VGT (Variable Geometry Turbine) turbo, is also to blame for its Achilles’ heel. The turbo whistle is intrusive; I’d be willing to put this down as a one off if we hadn’t noted it in the Primera and Almera hatch fitted with the same engine.

So, strong performance but weak engine refinement.

Economy is directly proportional to how much you indulge yourself in the grunt. Revving it and holding onto the low gears we struggled to better the claimed urban figure of 32mpg on average. Short shifting through the slick action six-speed box in an economy minded fashion saw an indicated 41mpg; a more family friendly result.

Nissan Almera

The Tino rides quite well and is equally unruffled on country lanes or smooth motorway. The big alloys may ultimately detract slightly from the ride due to the less forgiving low tyre profile but they yield welcome benefits in terms of aesthetics. The other benefit is the level of grip allowing you to have some real B-road fun in the MPV when you’re travelling unaccompanied.

Body roll is well contained and a strong and reliable set of stoppers encourages you to have a giggle and forget the responsibilities of parent hood for a while now and again.

The Tino lacks any groundbreaking features but its most user-friendly feature is the reversing aid, a camera no less, that shows a picture of what lies immediately behind the car, which may not be obviously useful, but try filling the back of the car with three adults or a bulky load that obscures your view and it really comes into its own. It makes parking the Tino a much easier task than it otherwise could be and is a really useful addition.

I find Nissan’s multi function centre console really intuitive; combining air con, stereo, trip computer and satnav in one interface can be tricky, but the Tino’s system works really well. Once you’ve mastered using the steering wheel controls for making little short cuts the system becomes second nature.

My time with the Tino ended with me taking its many virtues for granted. It is a genuinely practical family wagon with van-like load capability, making it a true MPV. However it didn’t feel special or unique.

Unlike its namesake T111 NOH lacked any flair or invention and proved itself to be more of a journey man than an inspirational member of the team. It does the job well and will no doubt prove to be reliable and painless to run and own but it doesn’t appeal in the same way as the Focus C-Max and VW Touran .

Dave Jenkins – 10 May 2005

Nissan Almera
Nissan Almera
Nissan Almera
Nissan Almera
Nissan Almera
Nissan Almera
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