Monday, October 21, 2013

Used Car Review - Nissan Cefiro (2000-2007)

Myk Belmonte revisits a former favorite of the elite, which can be now yours.

2000-2007 Nissan Cefiro

Ah, the problems when climbing up the executive ladder range from the responsibilities for his subordinates to the time that he will spend for his family. If we will put this on the perspective of a car enthusiast, going up means having a huge car plan budget. What shall the working man get? A minivan for his family is great. An SUV for himself. Or something luxurious similar to a Benz but has a Japanese badge. Choices, choices.

Whether it has the Maxima, Cefiro, or the Infiniti I30 badge, the A33 Cefiro was first launched in Japan back in 1998. Other nations had their own versions years later and Infiniti a year later, with the latter giving a more distinction from the Nissan counterpart. This model was discontinued in favor of the J31 Teana (still called the Cefiro in Hong Kong, Singapore, Brunei, Caribbean, and Latin America) in 2003.

After the success of the Cefiro A32, it was time for Nissan Motors Philippines Inc. to update the Cefiro at the turn of the millennium. With taxation reasons, only the 2.0 version was brought in with the 3.0 made available four years later. Good while it was new, the Cefiro lost ground when technologically superior competitors came into the scene. Finally, the A33 Cefiro was replaced by the  J31 Teana that arrived very late in 2007. Variants that were available from 2000 until 2003 include the Elite and Brougham VIP. A 2004 update had the Elite and Brougham VIP trims renamed to Classic and Superior (dropped sometime in 2005) respectively, while the 3.0 variant was named as the 300EX.

Value and Costs
As everyone knows it, Nissans aren't good when it comes to depreciation. But this vehicle can be yours for just between P220,000-P480,000, a great bargain since you get something classy for less.

Since this has a V6 engine, fuel expenses can be high and the same goes with maintenance costs. Parts can be purchased in Nissan specialist shops. Since this vehicle has tons of electronic gadgets, make sure they function well. Also lookout for normal wear-and-tear components, since at this vehicle's age they tend to get worn out.

Exterior and Interior
What makes the Cefiro appeal to executives? Stately appearance. The exterior resembles those of European vehicles and even the Brougham mimics them by offering a two tone color. Think that this one has the same size as the A32? Well, don't be fooled, it is 4,920mm long (previous model was 4,770mm), possess a width of 1,780mm (from 1,770mm), and 1,435mm tall (a gain from 1,415mm). Top end models get a hood ornament to distinguish them from their lowly counterparts.

The passenger is king inside the Cefiro's cabin since it is very cavernous, especially at the back. Again, the top end model gains air-con vents for the rear occupants, heads up display, and a VCD player with monitor. Leather is standard except for the Classic variant, while an analogue clock (that resembles 80s wrist watches) come standard across the board. Of course, there is the wood trim inside but not Snickers dark; you may describe it as elegant or tacky.

From the award winning VQ engine family moves the Cefiro in either ways. The lowest spec (and the veteran member) is the VQ20DE 1,995cc that carries 155hp (upgraded to 165hp in 2002) at 6,400rpm and
186Nm (uprated to 189Nm in 2002) at 4,400rpm. Added in 2004 as part of an update is the VQ30DE 2,987cc which is good for 220hp at 6,400rpm and 301Nm at 4,000rpm. Both of these engines are silky smooth, but how do they perform in the real world? Despite having two liters, this engine would have that purr when driven hard to the redline and carries the weight well. The 3.0, on the other hand, is smooth enough but we would pick the 2.0 since it has more than enough power and would cost less to maintain.

Driving Impressions
Fire the ignition and shift to drive, the Cefiro moves without any drama and importantly, no noise intrudes the cabin. Since the transmission is programmed, it can react to any driving conditions. Despite the heft, body roll is kept to a minimum unlike the main competitors. Braking can be spongy, but Electronic Breakforce Distribution and Brake Assist comes standard. If you are the driver, do not expect any excitement behind the wheel but handling is on the safe side.

Riding inside the Cefiro is like going to your destination safe and sound. Isolated from the outside world, that's what executives want. It may not have that prestige of a German sedan but you'll be amazed with the savings you get. Now, if you have that spare cash we suggest to save it for your wife's shopping spree, kid's tuition for the next five years, or for that dream vacation abroad (not paid by the company of course).

The Good:
  • Kitted to the brim
  • Tons of space
  • Engine purr
The Bad: 
  • Not fun to drive
  • Bulky
  • Can be expensive to own
The Pick: 2.0 Elite

Engines: 1,995cc VQ20DE and 2,987cc VQ30DE V6 gasoline
Power: 155hp @ 6,400rpm (2.0, 2000-2002), 165hp @ 6,400rpm (2.0, 2002-2007), 220hp @ 6,400rpm (3.0)
Torque: 186Nm @ 4,400rpm (2.0, 2000-2002), 189Nm @ 4,400rpm (2.0, 2002-2007), 301Nm @ 4,000rpm (3.0)
Fuel Consumption: 5-8km/L (city), 7-10km/L (highway) (*estimated and varies)
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Suspension: Front independent McPherson strut, rear independent multi-link

Price (New): P1,199,000-P1,500,000
Price (Now): P220,000-P480,000
Rivals: Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Chevrolet Lumina, Hyundai Sonata, Mitsubishi Galant, Mazda 6, Mercedes Benz C Class, BMW 3 Series
On Sale: 2000-2007

Nissan Mantrade - (02) 812-6789
Nissan Gallery Quezon Avenue - (02) 731-5308
Nissan Gallery Ortigas - (02) 635-5888

Photos courtesy of

No comments:

Post a Comment