Gear Review – Nissan Tilda Latio (2004)

This is a new feature to my blog to date, not that I’m looking for sponsorship (However, Nikon feel free to interject at any point given as how I have spent more on your kit than I probably have bringing up two children…) – No, this ‘review’ is more for the fact that I would like to get any knowledge or wisdom that I have learnt out there so that the general public can be better informed about what products adorn the market for them to spend their hard earned monies on.

Today’s Gear Review will be just that, some information about a thing…A thing that some of you may have used yourself even, I’d love to hear any other bloggers reviews that can support or likewise contradict what I’m saying as the more opinions on things the better….Today’s ‘thing’ comes to you courtesy of me hiring a car whilst in Wellington, not a short term loan, five weeks in total I believe which basically means that I went super budget…Let me begin.

The Nissan Tilda Latio


Firstly, that name – Whilst in Japan Nissan kept just the name ‘Tilda’ for some reason, however, South East of Japan in the early days of 2004 the car was called a Tilda ‘Latio’….I just looked that up, I don’t know why, I guess I just needed to find a true fact about the vehicle before I berated it. I thought of various things that reminded me of the name, like all car manufacturers these days the name itself has no real meaning apart from that of a similar title to a property management company in Latvia…Personally though I have named it the ‘Felatio’ and think this would have been a more appropriate title given how much it sucks…

Features: None

No really, it doesn’t have any – I expect this would be up there in the offerings for the Top Gear ‘Star in a reasonably priced car’ category of least exciting vehicles I have ever traveled in and I’ve been in many vehicles in many countries in my life to have seen a vast array of ‘low’ quality automobiles some of which I’d even owned myself. If this were a supermarket it would be ‘Pac N Stack’, if it were a brand of Stereo it would be ‘Khuntsui’ it’s just one of those ‘nothing’ totally forgettable vehicles that whilst it will likely be very reliable (and according to other reviews it is) you will not remember the journey unless you drove into a bus whilst gaffa taped to the bonnet with a gimp ball in your mouth stopping you from screaming.

The only exciting thing I could remotely find was not actually put there deliberately to be an exciting feature – For those of us who are not American you may have come across the option to have driven a manual car a few times in your life (or even prefer to like I do), for those who have done so you will of course realise that you need a thing called a ‘clutch’ to disengage the gears from the spinning noisy box at the front whilst changing between gears – For those familiar with the act of disengaging a clutch you will have come to realise that the pedal to do such an act is done with the left foot….

Have a look at this picture:


Now the handbrake on the Felatio is the left pedal and you press it in to engage it (then take your foot off) and then you press it in again to disengage it…where it releases. Now whilst that is a fairly simple action in itself, for someone, like me, who occasionally drives his wife’s equally shit car (Which is a manual) I unfortunately don’t always pay full attention to the controls of the car and tend to do all the drivey stuff instinctively……Like changing gear etc…. So coming up to a junction I drop down a gear….except I don’t, I now slam on the handbrake of which there is no release until I slam my foot on the pedal a second time to narrowly avoid death from behind. Likewise when dropping a gear to overtake on the freeway I perform a fancy skiddy stopping manoeuvre and instantly panic at the tail gaiting Kiwi driver who’s teeth I’d seen in my rear view mirror only seconds before going to change gear…

For that reason alone the car has been exciting but not by design….


From the front the Felatio looks a bit weird, it reminds me of the robot face ‘Theo’ that was mounted to the chest of ‘Twiki’ (the other robot) from the 80’s TV series ‘Buck Rogers in the 25th Century’…I haven’t been able to get that impression out of my head for the past month….


If when they designed the car it happened to be ‘let’s design a car that looks like a character from Buck Rogers in the 25th Century’ day then I wish they’d made the effort and decided that this one was to be modeled on the character ‘Wilma Deering’ instead as I’m sure it would have sold far more as my following example hopefully explains.


The Stereo:


Quite frankly I took one look at it and I’ve not bothered to turn it on once – If there were an earthquake or sudden flash in the sky that possibly constituted an atomic ‘white light’ experience I might then consider trying to use it to discover what Civil Defense warnings are happening but other than that I can only assume that this is a theft deterrent.


The Paint Job:


White, covered in bird shit, lacking in some areas, possibly also to provide a theft deterrent system.




Five if you include the steering wheel though it should be noted that the steering wheel does not come with hub caps cable tied to it, maybe that’s on the next model up..


Navigation System:


Well it has windows if they count? You can look out of them to see where you’re going which at the grass roots of navigation does count for something. Other than that there is none, I did bring my own GPS as I always do just in case and when I went to stick the ‘sucker thing’ on the window it has just a nice enough curve to it that it wouldn’t stick on…..anywhere….So the GPS sits in a hole in the centre console which I can’t read when handbrake stopping whilst I change gear…


Garbage Storage:
This is where the Felation comes into a class of it’s own I have to say, I found that the garbage storage facility has a vast capacity that after even four weeks I am nowhere near filling to a point where it needs to be emptied. I expect that even next week when I drop this beauty off I’ll still have plenty of room for at least a couple of trips more and that this capacity would cater for even the most ‘refuse’ dependant of carpet fitters transport needs..



Get out and walk.

Oh OK, I can’t be that unkind, it’s got the acceleration of a ‘Walking Dead’ zombie and you can probably likewise kill it with a stick of rolled up Blu Tac but it’s got me where I needed to go albeit rather embarrassingly at all the squealing from the water pump and brakes as I turn corners and randomly brake when trying to change gear…

It cost me $1300 NZD for 5 weeks and of that I paid $19 a day for the car and $11 for the no quibble  insurance, they were the cheapest on offer…
Would I use them again? Most certainly but I’d probably ask them if the ‘Felatio’ was available first, if they say ‘No’ great, but if they say ‘Yes’ I might have to fly to Auckland and see what cars they have there I can drive down instead…





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