Used Nissan Pixo
In these frugal times there is probably no more hotly contested car sector than the sub supermini city car. With petrol prices sky high and CO2 emissions being penalised in road tax, more motorists than ever before are turning to these little cars that deliver fantastic fuel economy and barely a whiff of those nasty and costly, emissions. That has been a problem for Nissan who have not really had a clear offering in this bracket. The Micra is of course a long standing success but since its launch other manufacturers have developed even smaller and more frugal cars, leaving Nissan's smallest car more in the supermini bracket than a true city car. Now though, they have filled that gap in their line up with the Nissan Pixo. Perhaps fittingly, Nissan has approached this project in a suitably economical manner. Instead of spending all that development money on a truly new car, they have simply teamed up with those experts in the tiny car segment, Suzuki. What the Nissan Pixo for sale really is then is a re-badged Suzuki Alto, a car that Suzuki in turn farms out to an Indian partner for construction in Delhi. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing. At this end of the market, what is important is economy and the little Pixo delivers that in spades.
Bang for your buck
Other cars may trumpet their 0-60mph times or top speeds but in this sector statistics like that are pretty meaningless, no one buys these cars for their performance. Instead we can cut to the chase and say that the used Nissan Pixo is capable of 74.3mpg and spits out just 99g/km of CO2 at the rear end. These figures place the car squarely among the cleanest and most frugal motors and with insurance in group 1 or 2, it is a thoroughly Spartan little package. Outside, that package consists of a revised front bumper, grille, bonnet and headlights, but elsewhere it is indistinguishable from the Alto. Inside, the package continues to be Spartan, with the base version offering two front airbags, a stereo, ABS and power steering. The cabin trim is best described as simple, with lots of shiny plastic, cheap and cheerful switchgear and the odd bit of exposed metal and screw heads. The engine choice is simple too, there is one; a 1.0 litre petrol unit which, if you are interested, takes 14 seconds to get to 62mph in manual form and 17 seconds in the automatic. For the patient, top speeds are 93mph and 96mph respectively. In some respects the city car market is divided into clever, trendy cars like the Fiat 500 or Toyota iQ and more utilitarian models like the Kia Picanto. The Pixo is very definitely of the latter sort.
What you'll pay
A base Pixo from 2010 on a 59 plate with 20,000 miles on the clock is yours for a very reasonable £3,790. A 2011 model on a 61 plate with just 3,500 miles showing meanwhile will cost around £6995.
What to check
There was a recall on the very early (pre August 2009) Nissan Pixo cars which concerned potential fuel leakage, so check this has been carried out if your model dates from this period. There have also been some reported problems with engine mounts. Apart from these issues the car is solid enough and no major problems are being reported.
Most parts are obviously the same as the Suzuki model. They are reasonable rather than cheap with a clutch assembly at around £140, front brake pads £45 a pair and rear shoes approximately £35. A new starter motor will cost around £180.
How it drives
The upright driving position is quite commanding and gives a good sense of the road which is also allowed to feed through the power steering rather nicely. That 1.0 litre three cylinder petrol unit is thrashy though and you are going to have to push your right foot quite firmly into the carpet and work the gears to get any sort of acceleration. There is little body roll though and the light car feels nimble and almost fun around the bends. The urban environment is where the car excels however and that light construction allied to power steering and a tiny turning circle make it very agile indeed around town.