Car reviews - Nissan - Bluebird - LX 4-dr sedan
Styling, comfort, equipment levels, performance
Room for improvement
Parts can be expensive, 2.4 engine thirsty and coarse if extended
20 Jun 2003
THE Bluebird was released in October, 1993, to fill the medium- size gap in Nissan's range when the Australian manufacturing plant closed and the Pintara was discontinued.
The Bluebird was styled at Nissan's design centre in California and was a big success in the US.
In Australia it had to overcome the negative images left by the Pintara and its namesake of the 1980s, the rear-wheel drive Bluebird.
The Bluebird succeeded. It was a good all-round package with a competitive new price which made it a popular buy in the upper priced medium-size sector.
The Bluebird is a slightly narrower car than some of its direct competitors but does have generous rear seat knee and head room so can carry four adults in comfort and five at a squeeze.
The base model is the LX, next up is the sport/luxury orientated SSS and the luxury TI is the top of the range.
The SSS introduced Australian drivers to the head-up display which projected driver information onto the windscreen.
The LX is well equipped considering it was the base model with power steering, air-conditioning, central locking and electric windows all standard.
Safety equipment was improved in April, 1995, with the addition of a driver's airbag and better seatbelts but cruise control became an extra cost option.
The 2.4-litre, four-cylinder engine drives the front wheels and is one of the Bluebird's strong points. It is an up-to-date design with two overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder and electronic fuel-injection.
The camshafts are chain-driven which is a more durable method than the more commonly used rubber belts.
The larger than normal engine for this class has a power output of 112kW at 5600rpm with good mid-range torque. This gives the Bluebird class-leading performance with either five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmissions.
The all-independent suspension has been set up for a ride and handling compromise biased towards sporty.
The 15-inch alloy wheels and wide-section tyres give the Bluebird plenty of grip and good primary safety with little if any loss of ride comfort.
The boot space is large but the small boot-lid opening and lack of a folding rear seat restricts access and the ability to cart bulky luggage.
The Bluebird makes sense for buyers who do not need a full- sized car and are looking for something with driver appeal, creature comforts and better than average performance without paying too big a penalty at the petrol pump.
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