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Expert Review

Nissan Pixo Hatchback (2009 - 2013) review

Read the Nissan Pixo hatchback (2009 - ) car review by Auto Trader's motoring experts, covering price, specification, running costs, practicality, safety and how it drives.

The Auto Trader expert verdict:


The Nissan Pixo offers affordable urban motoring. It’s easy to drive, easy to park and cheap to run.

Reasons to buy:

  • tickLow running costs
  • tickEasy to manoeuvre
  • tickGood visibility

At a glance:

How good does it look?

Despite the Nissan Pixo being sold with a bargain basement price tag, its an attractive, if conservative looking car – it’s tricky making such a short car look good in five-door guise. Its main features are large, swept back headlights and an aerodynamic grille. At the rear it’s the big taillights which dominate. Pixos in Acenta trim benefit from front fog lights.
Expert rating: 3/5

What's the interior like?

The Pixo is a cheap car, something that’s obvious from the drivers’ seat – a rev counter isn’t supplied, which makes it highly unusual. Plastics are cheap and brittle and the central vents are unattractive and don’t match the round side vents. The seats offer little support and start to get uncomfortable after a few hours. On the plus side, the red cockpit illumination is pleasant and visibility out of the car is excellent.
Expert rating: 2/5

How practical is it?

There’s plenty of room for front occupants, and the rear seats offer reasonable legroom for two adults on short trips, while access is made easy by the rear doors. As you’d expect from a city car, the boot is tiny with 129 litres of luggage space. It’s one of the easiest cars on the market to park thanks to a sharp turning circle, light steering and good visibility – all attributes which make it an ideal first car.
Expert rating: 3/5

What's it like to drive?

The Pixo’s suspension is more biased towards handling than we were expecting, making it quite fun to drive but ultimately tiring on long runs. Short trips across town, ducking in and out of gaps suit it best. The car resists crashing over bumps, but it has a tendency to bob up and down and it’s this fidgeting motion which grates after a while.
Expert rating: 3/5

How powerful is it?

While 0-62mph in 13.5 seconds (17 seconds for the automatic) won’t win any pub arguments, the enthusiastic nature of the 67bhp, 1-litre, three-cylinder engine suits the lightweight Pixo well around town. Just don’t expect performance to remain the same if you fill your Pixo with three friends. Its 66lb/ft of pulling power is produced at high revs and it’s easy to get bogged down if you choose the wrong gear. A Pixo in the fast lane of a motorway will be a rare sight, but it can keep up with traffic in the first two, and the stereo just about drowns out the engine noise.
Expert rating: 2/5

How much will it cost me?

Here the Pixo shines. At £6,995 the Pixo is a cheap car, and you get the backup of the large Nissan dealer network and warranty. Insurance groups one and two make the Pixo accessible to drivers of all ages, and the combined fuel consumption of 64.2mpg is excellent for a petrol-engined car.Emissions of 103g/km (122g/km for the automatic) make the Pixo cheap to tax too (£35 for one year’s road tax in 2009).
Expert rating: 5/5

How reliable is it?

By virtue of its simplicity, the Pixo should be relatively trouble free to maintain and repair should a problem arise. Our test car suffered a problem with its heater controls sticking, but this rectified itself of its own accord.
Expert rating: 3/5

How safe is it?

While the Pixo has yet to undergo EuroNCAP crash testing, its sister car the Suzuki Alto, scored a worrying three stars. By comparison, the smaller (but more expensive) Toyota iQ scored five stars. The entry-level Visia model only has front airbags, while the Acenta has side airbags.
Expert rating: 2/5

How much equipment do I get?

The Visia trim Pixo is fitted with power steering, radio, CD Player, anti-lock brakes and electronic brakeforce distribution. Acenta models get electric front windows, fog lights, remote central locking, 50/50 split folding rear seats.
Expert rating: 3/5

Why buy?

Motoring doesn’t get much easier on the wallet than this. The Pixo is also quite fun to drive, and put a smile on our face with its manoeuvrability in town. But, we felt it was out of its depth carrying a car full of passengers over longer distances.
Expert rating: 3/5

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