Used Nissan Almera Tino
A history lesson…
The Almera Tino was released in 2000 and looked to take advantage of the building popularity of mini-MPVs as popularised by various European manufacturers.
While it offered an enjoyable driving experience and plenty of family-friendly interior flexibility, it never set the sales charts alight and so if you want to buy a used example you'll be in with a good chance of bagging an affordable and practical vehicle.
The used Nissan Almera Tino was phased out in 2006 and over its life span it was outfitted with three different engines. You could choose a 1.8 or 2.0 litre petrol power plant, while fans of diesel could go for a 2.2 litre unit with a decent 114bhp on tap and plenty of torque to provide pulling power when required.
Nissan gave buyers four trim setups at first, although it chopped this down to three from 2003 to lessen confusion when making purchase decisions.
This was the year in which the engine choices also got a shake up, with Nissan cutting the selection to one 1.8 litre petrol and a pair of diesel units.
A minor facelift towards the end of its life cycle helped the second hand Almera Tino to remain competitive, although it was pulled out of the market in anticipation of the Nissan Note's arrival.
Bang for your buck
This isn't a seven seater MPV, but the five seats that you do get are very flexible, allowing for up to 24 different possible combinations in the way they are arranged. You can even remove the rear seats altogether, giving you acres of room in the back for when you need to swallow up those big loads.
In fact the rear of the Almera Tino's cabin is designed with kids in mind, perhaps to a greater degree than any other car of its class. An elevated seated position in combination with big windows means that the little ones can see everything with ease, as well as being in direct view of the parents sitting up front.
There are plenty of cubby holes and storage compartments all over the cabin, so families can stash their essential travel items and have them within easy reach.
The base S trim comes with electric windows, ABS and twin airbags as standard, but if you want things like air con and side airbags you'll need to look at the more luxurious trims.
In terms of design the exterior was sleek and stylish for its time, but looks a little dumpy by modern standards. Inside you get a dash layout that initially seems odd, but will quickly become second nature.
What you'll pay
The Nissan Almera Tino for sale is not the most common of cars, but low demand levels makes sure that used prices are pretty affordable.
You'll pay under £1000 for an early model Almera Tino, while even those cars sold right at the end of its life cycle will only set you back around £4000 with a low mileage.
Expect to pay a little more if you want a diesel iteration, while insurance should be cheap thanks to the cars falling into groups 5-8, depending on the engine.
What to check
Nissan has made the used Almera Tino a reliable and rather fault-free vehicle, so sound mechanicals and a hardy interior should be present on most used examples. Kids can play havoc with the trim, so give this a thorough examination before you buy.
As long as you see a full service history, there's not much to complain about when it comes to this range.
Air and oil filters will cost £7-£10 each, with the timing chain setting you back £70. Many of the parts are cross-compatible with the more common Almera hatchback, which makes them a bit cheaper, although there are some specific bits and bobs found only on the Tino variant.
How it drives
Unusually for a family car, the used Nissan Almera Tino is quite an enjoyable drive thanks to its clever suspension which is stiff and lively as well as being comfortable. Performance is not spectacular, but the diesels make up for their lack of speed with bags of torque, so you won't be left wanting on motorway cruises or jaunts across the town.