Nissan Tiida 2004-2012 used car review

The Nissan Tiida is a practical and family-focused everyday car.

Sam Domett
Sam Domett
Expert reviewer | Auto Media Group

The Nissan Tiida is a practical and family-focused everyday car. Its tall proportions give it more cabin space than most competitors.

Exterior , 3.5 out of 5 Drive , 3 out of 5 Safety , 2 out of 5 Value , 4 out of 5 Interior , 3.5 out of 5

Overall score , 3.2 out of 5

The good
  • Spacious interior
  • Big front seats with easy access
The not-so-good
  • High boot lip hampers loading
  • Unlikely to excite

The Nissan Tiida replaced the long-running Nissan Pulsar range in 2004. Mechanically the Tiida is very conventional, but its clever design and dimensions pay real dividends in terms of usable interior space and comfort.

Inside and out

The Nissan Tiida’s key feature is its spacious cabin. It is longer between the front and rear wheels and taller, so is roomy for this type of car. The high roof and big windows mean the interior is also light and airy.

The interior design is conservative, with straight, flat surfaces. The Tiida’s practical focus means there are plenty of small storage cubby areas around the dash, including a lidded space above the stereo, perfect for holding your mobile phone. Our 2004 used import review car has a light tan trim and fabric. It also features an audio system with a CD player, requiring a band expander to receive local stations.

Almost all Tiidas feature automatic climate control air-conditioning that will keep the car at a temperature you set, a nice feature for an entry-level car. The Tiida’s seating position is higher than other small hatchbacks, making it relatively easy to get in and out — a feature older buyers will enjoy.

The front seats are just 10mm narrower than the same-year Maxima — a much larger car. The rear seat is flat and wide, and unlike most small hatches will take three adults with some comfort if there are seatbelts available. It slides forwards and backwards by 24cm, so you can balance legroom and luggage space.

The space-saver spare wheel takes up less boot space than a full-size one would, and the boot is deep. However, a high boot lip makes it hard to lift heavy objects in or out. Boot space is about average for the class, with 282 litres available, enough for two to three medium-size suitcases.

An update was released in Japan in 2008 which included an upgraded front grille, bumper and lights.

On the road

Our 2004 used-import review Nissan Tiida is powered by a 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, paired with a CVT automatic transmission. A 1.8-litre engine is also available, while a four-speed automatic can be bought as an entry-level vehicle.

The 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine produces 81kW, which is plenty for the car’s size and purpose. In regular use when taking off from the lights or climbing even a modest hill, the engine can sound as if it’s working hard, thanks to the way a CVT automatic operates to keep the engine at its most efficient revs. It is recommended you don’t tow with this transmission.

The Tiida’s ride is comfy and refined for an affordable family hatchback. The suspension soaks up most bumps and undulations without being too soft. The electric power steering is very light, which is fine for its practical focus, but don’t expect a sporty drive.

Its turning circle is about average for the class, at 10.4 metres. Wide rear pillars obscure the rearview when parking, but the mirrors are large, so you shouldn’t need a reversing camera.


The Nissan Tiida has a reputation for simplicity and reliability – no wonder budget rental car companies run hundreds of them.

The engine uses a timing chain that will not need regular replacement. It is prone to oil sludge build-up, which can cause premature wear if the car isn’t serviced regularly.

In rare cases, the CVT automatic has been known to fail in cars that have driven over 100,000km, especially if the car hasn't been serviced enough, or incorrect fluids were used (and there are no early warning signs). Nissan NZ sells the special NS1 CVT fluid recommended. 

If it does fail, it will need a full rebuild or replacement with a second-hand unit. Either way, expect to spend between $1,500 and $2,500 in parts and labour.

The four-speed automatic option is virtually unbreakable in cars that have not driven astronomical mileage.

When test driving a Tiida, listen for a knocking sound from the front of the car when driving over speed bumps, or across undulating surfaces while turning. This sound can indicate worn front subframe mount bushes, costing $650 to replace.

Corrosion can also be an issue. When purchasing, check the seam that runs through the middle of the firewall under the lining, using a mirror. Also look under the car, especially the front lower cross member and rear subframe or suspension components. Look for discolouration and bubbling, and if you see it avoid that car, as this is expensive to fix.

Inside, two areas of excessive wear are present in most higher-grade Tiidas. If not already fixed, the driver’s seat in the M-spec versions with half-leather seating will almost certainly have a split in the leather on the seat base sides. The centre storage box lid has a covering that can become brittle and break away in large flakes.


This Nissan Tiida (2007–2013) has a two-star Used Car Safety Rating, which uses real-world crash data. This car’s list of safety features includes front driver and passenger airbags and antilock braking (ABS). Electronic stability control was an option on very late model Nissan Tiidas but is very rare. Only NZ new versions have side and curtain airbags.

The rear seat features ISOFIX child seat mounts and tether points on the boot floor, behind the rear seat backs. Unfortunately, there are only four three-point seatbelts, with a centre rear lap belt only, which offers less protection. Nissan New Zealand sold NZ new versions without the centre belt as a four-seater.

Some higher-specification models will have a reversing camera and a second camera on the left-hand side of the car to show you how close you are to the kerb. With big, clear mirrors we don’t think this is a must-have for Tiida buyers.

Cost of ownership

The 2004–2012 Tiida requires servicing every 12 months or 15,000km. A Nissan dealer quoted us $375 for a standard service. There is an extensive service at 90,000km, which includes servicing the CVT at around $1,000.

RightCar estimates that over 14,000km of driving a year, a Nissan Tiida will cost from $1,620 annually to fuel. A 1.5-litre used-import Toyota Corolla of the same age costs $170 more a year. With a 52-litre petrol tank, the Tiida costs around $104 to fill from empty and could go as far as 830km before the fuel light comes on.

Trade Me Insurance estimates insurance for the car will cost $44.92* per month, $4 less than a Toyota Corolla and $7 less than a Mazda Axela.

The Nissan Tiida costs $112.16 a year to licence and is in the second lowest ACC Levy group.

Buyers’ guide

High-mileage or poor-condition Tiidas are available on Trade Me from around $3,500, but better condition used imports with 50,000km to 80,000km on the clock cost from $6,000 to $9,000. Later-model low-mileage cars can be priced as high as $15,000.

Versions available

  • 15S - Standard specification with four-speed automatic
  • 15G - Standard specification with CVT automatic
  • 15M - Higher specification including part leather, keyless entry and automatic headlights
  • 18G - The same as the 15M, but with a larger 1.8-litre engine
  • AXIS - Based on the 15M or 18G with the addition of a body kit and full leather


  • 2004 - Launched in Japan
  • 2007 - Launched in New Zealand
  • 2008 - Minor update released which included styling and tuning changes
  • 2012 - Production ended


Review vehicle

Nissan Tiida 15G


$4,700 to $13,000 for models which have travelled 70,000km to 120,000km


1.5-litre four-cylinder, 81kW/148Nm (claimed)


CVT automatic, front-wheel drive

Safety rating

Two-star Used Car Safety Rating


15,000km or 12 months

Spare wheel

Space saver

Fuel economy

5.8-litres per 100km (claimed)

Fuel type








Turning circle


This review covers the Nissan Tiida for model years 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012.

Review vehicle supplied by 2Cheap Cars.

* Our insurance estimates are based on a 35-year-old male with no accidents in the last two years, garaging the car in Mission Bay, Auckland. The car is not used for business and will cover 10,000km to 20,000km a year. We estimate with no option add-ons and $500 excess. Customise your estimate at Trade Me Insurance.

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