Be proud to be seen in a Pixo
The likeable Nissan Pixo is what low-cost, urban motoring should be all about, writes Campbell Spray
Published 28/02/2010 | 05:00
THE Nissan Pixo is one of the cheapest cars on the market. Furthermore, if you take advantage of the scrappage scheme and the company's own extra discount, you can buy one for €7,355.
Now by any standards that isn't bad. But when you are buying this five-door hatchback from a marque with one of the best reliability records and it is a car that stands and looks well, then you might think you are on to a winner. And in many ways you are.
The Pixo is an interesting concept for Nissan. It is built for Nissan by Suzuki in India and it shares nearly everything with that company's Alto model.
It comes in at the bottom of the Nissan model line-up and isn't as substantial as the present Micra nor probably the previous one. Yet this is a very likeable car that zips around town giving absolutely massive economy (64mpg) and among the lowest (103g/km) emissions on the road. It is an urban delight and that's where it should stay. I was discussing the car with a colleague last Monday and we both decided we wouldn't want to be travelling in it at speed down a motorway with strong side winds.
It is a car for couples or singletons, perhaps even for a grandparent who occasionally will need to pick up and transport children. However, it must be remembered that the rear space is limited in height and legroom (I would only fit very uncomfortably) and there are just two seats in the back. The luggage room before the rear seats are folded could be called adequate rather than expansive! But this is a car that is only 3.5 metres long.
While the Pixo starts at €9,855 (before the €2,500 joint Government/Nissan discount) I would veer towards the SVE model at €1,000 more, which has a far better spec including keyless entry, 50/50 split reclining rear seats, power windows in front, front fogs and side airbags. For €600 more you can have manual air-conditioning.
There is also an automatic transmission version with the higher spec for €12,755 (again before discounts) which might appeal to older people.
The Pixo has already been a massive success this year and the initial allocation of 95 cars quickly sold out, putting it at second place to the Hyundai i10 in the small car market with a 13.8 per cent market share in January.
The Pixo with its three-cylinder one-litre petrol engine is one of the first Nissans to wear the Puredrive badge which the company is putting on vehicles producing less than 140g/km Co2.
Despite the many links to Suzuki, the Pixo definitely looks like a Nissan with strong family characteristics inside out that resemble the popular Micra, the incredibly successful Qashqai and the much under-rated Note. However, despite four cup-holders and an abundance of good small storage spaces, you are constantly reminded that this is a budget car and in many ways it looks it too on the inside.
However, I found the front seats comfortable. There's no rev-counter, no lockable glove compartment and -- much to my teenage daughter's annoyance -- no vanity mirror on the passenger side. However, there is a three-year warranty.
I did like driving the Pixo. It was very perky and had a brilliant turning circle. From the outside it looks fairly impressive too. If you are buying, don't be afraid to check out the Suzuki Alto. You might be able to trade off for the comfort features that suit you better. There is nothing to be ashamed of in owning a Pixo. It's what low-cost, urban motoring should be about.