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Reader test: Nissan Livina

2009-06-23 07:47

Riaan Coetzer

I’ve had my Livina for over a year and 18000 km and these are my experiences.

For the price, you won’t find a competitor with more oomph or space. 

With an 80kW engine, aircon, power steering, electric windows, remote central locking, four cup holders and ample space, it has more of the things you use every day and less of what matters only to the BMtroubleyou gang. 

From the economical 14-inch tyres to the mass-produced 1.6-litre engine (as found in the Tiida), Livina was designed to be easy on your pocket. 

You can say what you want, but a 1.6 just does a better job. My actual fuel consumption comes to an impressive 6.78 l/100 km.

Nissan got the steering just right as it is light when you park and stable at speed. 

The pedals are just as light and, combined with excellent suppression of noise and harshness and with an aircon that actually works, it provides for a relaxing drive both in and out of town. 

Some things work, others don't

The suspension is rather soft so bumpy roads are handled well, although you can forget about “sporty” handling. 

The boot can easily swallow a 74cm TV or, with the seats folded down, two mountain bikes. 

It doesn't come with a service plan, though, and the 15 000 km service was about R850.

The bad? The gearbox's main shaft bearings failed within the first month and a new gearbox (requiring a five-week job!) was fitted.

The fuel gauge had a mind of its own and a new sending unit was fitted.

The driver’s seat rails collapsed and were replaced, but they damaged the seat so a new one was fitted, too.

The bonnet and left fender are not properly aligned, although Nissan is quite happy that it is representative of a typical unit. 

The left rear window was skew and refitted correctly. 

Also, a body creek developed in the right A-pillar due to spot-welding that came loose. It was rewelded at a Nissan approved panel beater.

The front shock bushes were replaced but, after two attempts by Nissan to fix it, my car still has an annoying suspension creek. 

Parting shots

(Tips for Livina owners: The first few Livinas came with shock bushes minus dust-caps, but only those customers who complain units are rectified.  And if you hear a faint scraping noise when the car idles that goes away when you depress the clutch, take that gearbox back while it is still under warranty! The fuel gauge issue is common, too.)

I can honestly not remember how many times I’ve been back to the dealership and how many courtesy cars I’ve used, but I can testify that Nissan’s customer service is truly excellent. 

However, it would be nice if I could carry on with my life and stop spending so much time on my car!

So, let me say what needs to be said: this Renault-Nissan alliance is NOT working.  This is my fourth Nissan and (other Nissan fans be warned) Nissans should not be like this. The alliance scored us an airbag, but we lost out on quality, big time.


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