A collaboration with Suzuki has brought a new city car to Nissan’s model line-up: the Pixo.
The A-segment has been the only real success story of the recession, with existing growth in registrations now set to be boosted further by the scrappage scheme.
Nissan, with its B-segment Micra the smallest car in its range, is desperate to get a slice of the action
Which is why it has taken the new Suzuki Alto – built at relatively low cost in India – and, in its own terminology, “Nissanized” it.
If it succeeds in tempting buyers with its low-cost approach – the base-spec Visia derivative costs just £6,995 – Nissan will be pleased to grab a share of the spoils. Its aim is to achieve 7,000-8,000 sales a year in the UK.
Nissanizing means changing the grille, bumpers, bonnet, headlamps and, depending on the derivative, wheel covers or alloys. Pixo also has a ‘PureDrive’ badge – the first model to sport a new brand from Nissan to indicate low emissions.
Pixo has the Alto’s three-cylinder 1.0-litre engine that produces 67bhp.
It’s not particularly enthusiastic, especially when coupled to the optional torque converter automatic transmission, but its 64.2mpg combined economy and £35 VED cost will mean more to buyers in this segment than its performance credibility.
It seats four adults, providing the rear passengers have skinny legs.
The budget-priced Visia is very basic transport as befits its price tag, with highlights consisting of a CD-player and rear wiper.
A £700 price uplift for comforts such as remote central locking, electric front windows, split-fold rear seats and colour-coded handles and mirrors will bag the Acenta derivative, which is expected to win the bulk of sales.
Another £900 gets the top-spec Tekna, with air-con, ESP, curtain airbags and three years’ free servicing.
Nissan says Pixo will appeal to “particular and rational” consumers. With the benefit of scrappage-related marketing, dealers should see a fair number of these in their showrooms.
The consumer view
The Pixo’s big headlamps and Note-style grille leave it trailing its Suzuki stablemate in the battle for kerb appeal.
It’s among the cheapest cars you can buy in the UK, it’ll do more than 64mpg and low carbon dioxide emissions mean it costs you a pittance to tax. Insurance premiums are among the lowest you can get, too.
The Pixo, at 3.56 metres long, is no-frills, gimmick-free motoring for those on a budget who put value top of the list.