In late 1990, Nissan replaced the United Kingdom's Bluebird with the slightly smaller Primera. It had a conventional front wheel drive chassis and five speed manual gearbox, with some versions getting the option of a four speed automatic.
Power came from 1.6 litre carbureted and 1.8 litre and 2.0 litre injection gasoline engines; a 2.0 litre diesel followed from 1992 onwards, a 1.6 litre injection gasoline was introduced at the end of 1993. The 1.8 was originally a single-point injection model (SR18Di); a multi-point injection with more power was added in 1991.
The 1.8 litre version was not sold in the rest of Europe. Bodystyles were four- and five-door saloons. A five-door estate was also offered as the Primera Traveller, however it received the slightly different sheet metal of the Nissan Avenir and was only made in Japan.
Nissan had targeted the car at the European market. The Primera saw Nissan's multi-link front suspension applied to front-wheel drive for the first time. The 2.0-litre gasoline engine received a power upgrade in 1992, which gave the then ZXe, (later renamed the eGT) 150 bhp from the standard 2.0-litre engine and a top speed of around 219 km/h (137 mph).
Some five door British, RHD Primeras were exported back to Japan (as Primera UK GTs), Russia and Ireland. In the United States, the Japanese-built version of the Primera was rebadged as the Infiniti G20, part of Nissan's upper scale Infiniti brand.
Trim levels (in Europe)
The Primera range came in six trim levels at launch: L, LS, SLX, GS, GSX and ZX. The 1.6 litre engine was available in L, LS and LSX trim and the 2.0 litre 115 bhp (86 kW; 117 PS) engine was available in LS, GS and GSX trim. The ZX model had a 2.0 litre 150 bhp (112 kW; 152 PS) engine. From 1992 onwards, the range was facelifted and new L, LX, SLX, SGX and eGT trim levels replaced the original naming scheme. A 2.0 litre diesel version was available from 1992.
L cars were basic, and had the 1.6 litre petrol engine only. LX was slightly plusher, but 2.0 litre petrol and diesel versions were also available. SLX was the mid range model, and this also had a choice of 1.6 and 2.0 petrol, or 2.0 diesel engines. The SGX trim level was the luxury specification version; powered by the 2.0 litre 115 bhp (86 kW; 117 PS) engine.
The eGT was the sporting version, with a 2.0 litre 150 bhp (112 kW; 152 PS) engine. Engine power was slightly increased during 1994, with the 1.6 model now producing 102 bhp (76 kW; 103 PS) and the 2.0 model, 123 bhp (92 kW; 125 PS).
From 1994, the range received another facelift, and the trim levels were (almost) the same; although Equation replaced the basic L as the entry level trim; like its predecessor, it had a 1.6 petrol engine, but there was no diesel option. A rare AWD option was available known as a T4 with 150 bhp (112 kW; 152 PS). At this time, SE also replaced SGX.
A new "hot hatch" version, the SRi joined the line up from 1994, and this had a choice of 1.6 or 2.0 litre petrol engines. There was also a very rare version of the P10 built and tuned by Japanese tuning company Autech. Less than twenty are purported to have been constructed. These models came with special Autech suspension and interior packages and a tuned SR20DE 2.0 litre engine, making 180 PS (132 kW).
The second generation Nissan Primera was launched in the end of 1995 in Japan, and in the autumn of 1996 in Europe. Unique in its class, new Primera featured multi link beam rear suspension with multi-link front suspension.
Nissan Primera UK GT. The UK GT was the Sunderland built Primera hatchback exported to Japan as a captive import.
As before, in Europe the Primera was sold with 1.6 L and 2.0 L petrol engines and a 2.0 L diesel, with hatchback, saloon and estate bodystyles. While the estate was now based on the Primera's platform, it was assigned a model code of WP11.
In Japan the Primera was initially offered with the SR18DE, SR20DE and SR20VE-for Japan only engines, and initially only as a sedan. The hatchback assembled in the United Kingdom was available only with the SR20DE engine and automatic transmission and began production from November 1997, a captive import known as the Primera UK GT. Estate began production from September 1997.
Nissan Primera Camino in Japan
Alongside the original Primera, the Nissan Primera Camino was launched as a badge engineered model for different dealer networks. The Japanese models also introduced a CVT automatic transmission during the P11 series, including a six speed tiptronic version in the M6 G-V and Autech edition wagons and Te-V saloon. Nissan Primera HP11 TE-V was equipped with SR20VE and CVT-M6 transmissions only.
Nissan continued selling the Primera in the United States as the Infiniti G20 until 2002, when it was replaced by a rebadged version of the Nissan Skyline V35 as the Infiniti G35. The G20 used the same grille and rear lamp alterations from the Primera Camino.
1998 P11 SMX Primera NZDM
In 1998, Nissan New Zealand released a limited edition Primera SMX with association with Steve Millen (Stillen Sports Parts). Features include cross drilled brakes, Eibach springs and a more aggressive body kit. There were a total of twenty six (including the prototype numbered 000) made in five colour choices (the prototype was the only white one made).
This was because until 1998 (due to lifting of import tariffs on cars) Nissan had an automotive assembly operation in New Zealand, and for a short time between 1997 and 1998 the P11 Primera was assembled in Wiri, Auckland.
The Primera won the British Touring Car Championship manufacturers and team titles thanks to RML in 1998 and, in 1999 British Touring Car (P.O.S) backing from the factory took the Independents Cup in 1999 and 2000.
To celebrate the two victories in 1998, Nissan UK released a limited edition of 400 'GTSE' Models, with 16" AZEV alloy wheels, two tone 'flip' ChromaFlair "Mystic" green paint, following the special theme to the interior which featured full leather seating with green piping seats, steering wheel and a Momo gearknob.
To celebrate the 1999 "clean sweep", they released a limited edition 'GTLE' model with 16" multi spoke Enkei alloy wheels, full leather interior with silver piping, Momo gearknob and a colour choice of flame red, kuro black, starburst silver, and Nordic blue.
Nissan Primera Traveller in Europe
In the autumn of 1999, Nissan gave the Primera a facelift, giving it a more modern front end with clear style headlamps featuring projector units, instead of the traditional Fresnel lens type. Nissan also introduced their "corporate identity" front, with the "flying wing" grille. The new code name for this model was "P11-144".
Along with the exterior changes, improved specification levels were present; with the entry level models such as the "S" featuring automatic climate control, driver, passenger, and side airbags. Further up the model range, other features were seen such as xenon headlamps.
A new "lean burn" 1.8 L petrol engine, the QG18DE was added to the range. This facelift was not generally applied outside Europe and was not available in Japan when Nissan "formalized" the fronts of other Primeras and Caminos instead, bringing them into line with the look of the American Infiniti model.
Nissan Primera sedan facelift (Europe)
Nissan Primera hatchback facelift (Europe)
The Primera STCC edition (named for the Swedish Touring Car Championship) is a limited production model based on the Primera Sport. One-hundred examples were made. It had the same engine as the Primera Sport, but it was lowered 25 mm (1.0 in), had headlight "goggles" and had a bigger wing.
4,481 mm (176.4 in) (saloon, hatchback) 4,631 mm (182.3 in) (estate)
1,747 mm (68.8 in) (saloon, hatchback) 1,745 mm (68.7 in) (estate)
1,372 mm (54.0 in) (saloon, hatchback) 1,391 mm (54.8 in) (estate)
In December 2001, Nissan introduced the third generation Nissan Primera, its first all new car since the alliance with Renault was formed two years earlier. The new Primera was more radically styled than previous versions. No Infiniti equivalent was released; the Nissan Skyline based Infiniti G35 replaced the G20 in the United States.
New Zealand Primeras were introduced in 2002, and were all equipped with continuously variable transmission; there was no manual option. In that market, Japanese-built sedans and wagons were available. This remained true until 2006, when United Kingdom-assembled hatchbacks and estates were made available. The CVT is also available in the European 2.0 L and the Japanese 2.0/2.5 L (an engine not available in Europe).
Falling sales saw the Primera withdrawn from sale in the RHD United Kingdom in November 2006. However, LHD production ceased during 2007. In Japan, production of RHD Primeras also continued until 2007. In 2011, a large number of brand new Primeras appeared in the Irish market, after apparently having been in storage since 2006.
The 2.0 L six-speed Manual Nissan Primera 20V has Nissan's SR20VENeo VVL engine with variable valve lift and timing. It produces 150 kW (204 PS) of power at 7200 rpm and 206 N·m (21.0 kgf·m) of torque at 5200 rpm.
Speculation in the motoring press suggested that a 'tweaked' version of the Nissan Altima would be the replacement, but this was never confirmed by Nissan.
In August 2006, Auto Express reported pictures of an disguised prototype testing in Germany. However, it was actually the then new Nissan Sentra, which was built in Spain rather than at Sunderland for European buyers.
However, such has been the success of the Qashqai in Europe, that Nissan has not launched a direct replacement for the Primera, despite earlier plans for such a model to be developed for at least some European markets.
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