The Nissan Tiida is a dangerous car to drive in New Zealand. I would not rent one again.
We booked a car from Australia for use in New Zealand. The Australian travel agent passed the booking to an Australian company who passed the booking to a new Zealand company. We ended up with a different car to the one we booked. One reason to not book through travel agents.
The insurance terms were different. The New Zealnd company may have cheated us. The Australian company may have lied to us. The travel agent may have failed to pass on important information. Another reason to go online and reasearch direct instead of trusting a bunch of people with no personal experience. Always ask your travel agent if they have personally travelled to whereever you are booking and personnally used the car rental company they recommend.
The car was a Nissan Tiida and was too small. We booked a car similar to one of the cars we use in Australia. The Tiida is shorter and so short that I cannot see clearly out of the front window when driving. Important areas are covered by the rear view mirror and the horrible sloping column at the edge of the window. The Tiida might be drivable if you are short.
Everywhere we went, there were warnings about
slippery when wet and ice on the roads. We drove at the end of winter in higher altitudes where ice did form overnight and could be on the roads in the morning where trees share the road. The Tiida does not have traction control and is dangerous in those conditions.
The slightly larger Nissan Dualis 2WD has traction control. I recommend, when renting or buying a car for travel around New Zealand, or the colder parts of Australia, in winter, demand a car with traction control as the minimum safety level. In Australia the Nissane Dualis 2WD is the cheapest Nissan with traction control. The options included in the car may be different in other countries. Specify traction control in the rental agreement and check the car specifications online for the country where you rent the car.
The suspension on the Tiida is rubbish. Anything on the road larger than a matchbox produced a horrible punk rock seuence of cruches, screatches, squeaks, and bumps. The wheels look large enough to cope with potholes and bumps. The problem appears to be the suspension or a lack of suspension. I cannot recommend the car for anywhere outside the city in either New Zealand or Australia. Many parts of suburban Sydney have roads that are too rough.
Traction control, as used on the Nissan Dualis, is the minimum you need for those occasions when one of your wheels touches the gravel at the side of the road. Constant all wheel drive is a better option when combined with traction control.
In the area of New Zealnd where we travelled, there were frequent landslips at the side of the road and many of those landslips threw gravel across the road. You need traction control in New Zealand.
A lot of New Zealand country car parks featured piles of broken window glass. Based on the glass, lots of signs warning about thefts from cars, and comments from staff in shops and cafes, lock your luggage in the boot (trunk in some countries) and carry your most valuable items with you when walking in the bush (scrub, forest, country, woods).
Cars in Australia often have a quick release lever for the boot lid on the dashboard. I noticed that a lot of cars in New Zealand do not have the same release mechanism. Perhaps it is to stop people smashing a front window then openting the boot from the front. The Nissan Tiida boot lid could be opened only with the key or by an electric switch that worked only when the key is in the ignition. That helps reduce the theft from the car in public places but not in remote car parks such as those in National Parks.
The Tiida is available in a hatch version and theives can easily steal stuff from any part of the hatch. The Sedan makes theft from the boot difficult. Rent the sedan. If you rent a hatch, leave your valuables in the hotel/motel.
Do not leave things on the seat where theives can quickly steal stuff through a broken window. Do not leave things on a seat then throw a caot over the top because theives with break the window, lift the cat, and steal everything. Do not leave a coat or similar items on the seat because theives will smash the window to see what is under the coat. Do not part them move things to the boot because theives may wait behind bushes to see exactly what valuables you are leaving in the boot. If you do carry something of value in the car and leave it in the car while you walk, transfer the item to the boot at a stop a long way before you stop to walk. Do not open the boot at the stop where you walk.
The Tiida electric boot opening button is a nice idea for cars that are too cheap to have a separate remote button for the boot.
1.8 or 1.4 litre
The Nissan Australia web site says the Tiida has a 1.8 litre engine. The Tiida rented in New Zealand felt like it has a 1.4 litre or smaller engine. The gearbox was automatic. Either the engine or gearbox or both were inadequate for the job. I do not recommend the Tiida automatc for use anywhere where you might have to go uphill. The manual version might be adequate but, driving around the mountainous centre of the New Zealand North Island, you would get repetitive strain injury from constantly changing gears.
We drive the Tiida a little bit slower than normal because of the problems with visibility, suspension, and lack of traction control. Fuel cost NZ$1.73 per litre (NS$6.54 per gallon). I expected to use 45 litres between our first major stops and used only 37 litres, a saving of almost 20 percent. I do not know how much was from the car being small and how much was saved by us driving slow. Based on past tests of car efficiency, most of the saving is from driving slowly.
The biggest fuel savings in modern cars is the move from 4 speed gearboxes to 6 speed. 6 speed automatics are common. If the Tiida had a modern 6 speed gearbox, you would get both acceptable acceleration and fuel economy. The Dualis has a more modern automatic and might be a better choice based just on the gearbox.
In Australia, the worst drivers are in New South Wales where they frequently tailgate despite the nightly news showing massive multiple car crashes. The people in New Zealand are friendly but tailgating is more common than in New South Wales. On several of our trips, I wished we were traveling by bus instead of car so we did not have to endure the almost constant threat of a crash.
On most trips, the instant we frove our car out of the car park onto the road, there was a car in our rear vision mirror. The car was always within one or two car lengths of ours, breaking every rule for safe driving. No 2 second separation as required by law in some countries. No car length per 10 kilometres per hour as taught in some places. No 4 second separation in wet weather as recommended on frequent signs all over New Zealand. Just a tiny fraction of a second separating our cars, separating use from death.
The tiny Tiida is too small to be safe. You need at least a Nissan Pathfinder to be as large as the car trying to destroy your life. A bus would be safer against everything except the giant logging trucks. Anything less is dangerous.
The Tiida might work for a short person driving around the city in flat country when it is not icy. I will select something bigger and safer for my next trip.