Unusual visitor's a Tiida little number

Amazed by its price, BILL CAVEN writes that this Nissan, imported from Ireland by Arnold Clark, is versatile and loaded with great standard spec

The Nissan Tiida might be a rarity on these shores - but this car definitely won't cost you a tidy sum.

Irish eyes have certainly been smiling on this hidden treasure from Nissan - and now we can enjoy it, too.

To explain, until recently, the Tiida has been restricted to the Southern Irish motoring scene, with the UK market largely ignored.

That has all changed after Arnold Clark managed to source these vehicles and make them available to Scottish buyers.

Now, normally, I tend to favour delivering the sting in the tail approach and list the cost of the car at the end.

Sorry, but sometimes you have to break with tradition and bite the bullet and be upfront from the outset.

How much would you be prepared to pay for a car that has the following as standard spec? Front and rear electric windows are now virtually common as are electric door mirrors.

But what about a CD sound system with steering wheel controls? Well, if you're buying at the top end, then push your hand firmly into the pocket.

How about the rear parking sensors or the Bluetooth mobile connectivity? Surely then you have to spend a quid or two? You would naturally expect with such spec as standard that you would need a fat wallet to afford it.

Wrong, so wrong.

When it comes to the Tiida SE that is currently available for the first time in Scotland, the price tag is a startling £8995.Yes, I'll say it again, £8995.

Personally, I couldn't believe it when I took the keys of the Tiida for the first time.

I had been loaned the SVE version, which, much to my amazement, also boasted a leather steering wheel, cruise control and climate control air conditioning.

And for all of this, I wouldn't be short-changed from £9495! Not bad, not bad at all.

Was there a catch? There had to be, surely? Perhaps the engine - in this case Nissan's frugal but ultra-efficient 1.6-litre petrol unit - wasn't included.

Maybe there was only one seat inside the cavernous cabin or, perhaps, they had forgotten to attach a luggage compartment? The answer is a definite no.

The Tiida provides generous leg and head room inside the interior, as well as a boot that could swallow up several suitcases and sports holdalls.

There was part of me that didn't want to like the Tiida, but I felt compelled to surrender.

It offers outstanding versatility as well as practicality that is hard to fault.

In terms of outward appearance, it looks almost like the Nissan Note but has the classic lines of a luxury saloon.

At the front end, it is almost identical to the Nissan Note, which is no bad thing. But where the Tiida scores is in its load capacity.

I have to say that I feared the worst, especially for my credit card, when Mrs C took this thing shopping.

Thankfully, I am still with funds, albeit considerably lighter.

But even she enjoyed the experience of a vehicle that goes about its business without even giving it a second thought.

The 1.6-litre powertrain delivers a healthy 110bhp, which is more than enough considering the light bodyshell.

Iwas initially unsure about the automatic transmission but quickly grew to accept it, especially when it came to putting boy racers in their place at traffic lights.

The rapid acceleration was quite inspiring.

With fuel returns approaching the 50mpg and beyond mark, then you certainly can't fail to fall in love with this little warrior.

When you consider that by nature we are a race of canny Scots, then the Tiida will more than fit the bill.

Shore-FIRE WINNER: Now available in Scotland in SE mode, the Tiida comes with an impressive standard spec list. For instance, it boasts a CD sound system, steering wheel controls, rear parking sensors and Bluetooth mobile connectivity, some of which are extras on other manufacturers' models

Factfile: Model: Nissan Tiida Engine: 1.6-litre petrol Power: 110bhp Fuel economy: 50+mpg Warranty: Three years/60,000 miles Price: From £8995 On sale: Now