Pros

  • Arguably the best value for money people mover on the used market
  • Generally excellent Nissan build quality
  • A unique size and style of van/people mover
  • Wide range of variants to choose from
  • Smooth V6 engines

Cons

  • Fuel consumption can be frightening
  • Mechanical gremlins beginning to appear
  • Questionable history thanks to dishonest importers
  • Certain parts availability can be challenge

It’s a balancing act with the Elgrand.

Yes these are arguably some of the best value for money people movers or even vans on the used market but the money you save in actually buying one, may possibly be eaten up in fuel and running costs, not to mention that...

Publish: December 2, 2022

In terms of value for money, the 2002 to 2010 second generation E51 Nissan Elgrand may seem to represent one of the best options out there however, according to the internet, they have an interesting reputation when it comes to longevity and reliability.

Not to mention the ridiculous confusion of various models and trim levels available on the used market.

Overall, there are nearly a dozen trim levels available, but even what each trim level comes with will vary depending on the options fitted, plus each of these will decide if that particular Elgrand is rear wheel or all wheel drive or if it features the 2.5 or 3.5-Litre petrol V6 or even if it seats 7 or 8.

Also, quite a few Elgrand here have been modified in one way or another and there was a mid-life update in 2004 so this confuses the whole buying practice even more.

Which brings us to one of the reasons the Elgrand sometimes doesn’t have a great reputation.

The Elgrand was only ever sold officially by Nissan, exclusively in Japan meaning that everywhere else around the world, the Elgrand is a grey import and in the same way there are many shades of grey, there are many levels of honesty and corruption when it comes to grey importers.

Some importers are 100% legitimate and will only sell the highest quality vehicles, others will wind back odometers and falsify service documents, hence why knowing as much about the Elgrand as possible is critical

In terms of value for money, the 2002 to 2010 second generation E51 Nissan Elgrand may seem to represent one of the best options out there however, according to the internet, they have an interesting reputation when it comes to longevity and reliability.

Not to mention the ridiculous confusion of various models and trim levels available on the used market.

Overall, there are nearly a dozen trim levels available, but even what each trim level comes with will vary depending on the options fitted, plus each of these will decide if that particular Elgrand is rear wheel or all wheel drive or if it features the 2.5 or 3.5-Litre petrol V6 or even if it seats 7 or 8.

Also, quite a few Elgrand here have been modified in one way or another and there was a mid-life update in 2004 so this confuses the whole buying practice even more.

Which brings us to one of the reasons the Elgrand sometimes doesn’t have a great reputation.

The Elgrand was only ever sold officially by Nissan, exclusively in Japan meaning that everywhere else around the world, the Elgrand is a grey import and in the same way there are many shades of grey, there are many levels of honesty and corruption when it comes to grey importers.

Some importers are 100% legitimate and will only sell the highest quality vehicles, others will wind back odometers and falsify service documents, hence why knowing as much about the Elgrand as possible is critical and hence why we’ve made this cheat sheet.

In terms of value for money, the 2002 to 2010 second generation E51 Nissan Elgrand may seem to represent one of the best options out there however, according to the internet, they have an interesting reputation when it comes to longevity and reliability.

Not to mention the ridiculous confusion of various models and trim levels available on the used market.

Overall, there are nearly a dozen trim levels available, but even what each trim level comes with will vary depending on the options fitted, plus each of these will decide if that particular Elgrand is rear wheel or all wheel drive or if it features the 2.5 or 3.5-Litre petrol V6 or even if it seats 7 or 8.

Also, quite a few Elgrand here have been modified in one way or another and there was a mid-life update in 2004 so this confuses the whole buying practice even more.

Which brings us to one of the reasons the Elgrand sometimes doesn’t have a great reputation.

The Elgrand was only ever sold officially by Nissan, exclusively in Japan meaning that everywhere else around the world, the Elgrand is a grey import and in the same way there are many shades of grey, there are many levels of honesty and corruption when it comes to grey importers.

Some importers are 100% legitimate and will only sell the highest quality vehicles, others will wind back odometers and falsify service documents, hence why knowing as much about the Elgrand as possible is critical and hence why we’ve made this cheat sheet.

In terms of the exterior, thanks to the Elgrand being built when Nissan were arguably in their prime, not a whole lot goes wrong.

The headlights tend to get a bit cloudy or hazy, but this is easily fixed.

There are the odd reports that the electric mirrors are known to glitch out and be a bit faulty, in the sense that the motor for them won’t work so they won’t fold in.

Also, some rare instances of the central locking smart key not locking/unlocking the car which could likely be a control module issue.

Inside it’s much the same, hardly any common faults as such, the odd sporadic report of dashboard and infotainment displays glitching out and not showing the correct readings and occasional reports of the blower for the Air Conditioning operating randomly but these are rare.

Mechanically The VQ series engines in these are bit of a Nissan workhorse that are in more cars than you can poke a stick at, and in the Elgrand, range in displacement from 2.5-Litres right up to 3.5-Litres, however by far the most common is the 3.5.

Although, the VQ35 (and VQ25 to a lesser extent) are widely considered to be reliable they do have a few common issues. The most common complaint is oil consumption and this is an issue even if they’ve been well looked after.

Another issue common to these engines is oil leaks, particularly valve cover oil leaks and in an Elgrand this is where access becomes

In terms of the exterior, thanks to the Elgrand being built when Nissan were arguably in their prime, not a whole lot goes wrong.

The headlights tend to get a bit cloudy or hazy, but this is easily fixed.

There are the odd reports that the electric mirrors are known to glitch out and be a bit faulty, in the sense that the motor for them won’t work so they won’t fold in.

Also, some rare instances of the central locking smart key not locking/unlocking the car which could likely be a control module issue.

Inside it’s much the same, hardly any common faults as such, the odd sporadic report of dashboard and infotainment displays glitching out and not showing the correct readings and occasional reports of the blower for the Air Conditioning operating randomly but these are rare.

Mechanically The VQ series engines in these are bit of a Nissan workhorse that are in more cars than you can poke a stick at, and in the Elgrand, range in displacement from 2.5-Litres right up to 3.5-Litres, however by far the most common is the 3.5.

Although, the VQ35 (and VQ25 to a lesser extent) are widely considered to be reliable they do have a few common issues. The most common complaint is oil consumption and this is an issue even if they’ve been well looked after.

Another issue common to these engines is oil leaks, particularly valve cover oil leaks and in an Elgrand this is where access becomes an issue. The Elgrand has a small bonnet and the engine is tucked right up under the cowling and because access is a problem, it takes longer to fix resulting in the cost to repair adding up.

Having said that, this lack of access is not exclusive to the Elgrand, engine access in nearly all vans is more difficult.

Another common and potentially expensive issue is catalytic converter failure. The Elgrand has a primary & secondary cat per bank (4 cats in total) and these have a bad habit of failing and subsequently blocking the exhaust and making the car virtually un-drivable. It is an expensive repair if done right and even more expensive if the root cause of the melt down needs fixing too. Which can be anything from dead oxygen sensors or fuel system issues and even mechanical complications. Some owners choose to delete the catalytic converters all together which here in Australia is completely illegal so not recommended.

Transmission and driveline issues are less common but they do tend chew through wheel bearings more than most.

Other than that, it’s just age-related issues you need to be careful of and with the newest of this generation now being 12 years old, they’re all likely to have some issues so a pre purchase inspection is highly recommended.

In terms of the exterior, thanks to the Elgrand being built when Nissan were arguably in their prime, not a whole lot goes wrong.

The headlights tend to get a bit cloudy or hazy, but this is easily fixed.

There are the odd reports that the electric mirrors are known to glitch out and be a bit faulty, in the sense that the motor for them won’t work so they won’t fold in.

Also, some rare instances of the central locking smart key not locking/unlocking the car which could likely be a control module issue.

Inside it’s much the same, hardly any common faults as such, the odd sporadic report of dashboard and infotainment displays glitching out and not showing the correct readings and occasional reports of the blower for the Air Conditioning operating randomly but these are rare.

Mechanically The VQ series engines in these are bit of a Nissan workhorse that are in more cars than you can poke a stick at, and in the Elgrand, range in displacement from 2.5-Litres right up to 3.5-Litres, however by far the most common is the 3.5.

Although, the VQ35 (and VQ25 to a lesser extent) are widely considered to be reliable they do have a few common issues. The most common complaint is oil consumption and this is an issue even if they’ve been well looked after.

Another issue common to these engines is oil leaks, particularly valve cover oil leaks and in an Elgrand this is where access becomes an issue. The Elgrand has a small bonnet and the engine is tucked right up under the cowling and because access is a problem, it takes longer to fix resulting in the cost to repair adding up.

Having said that, this lack of access is not exclusive to the Elgrand, engine access in nearly all vans is more difficult.

Another common and potentially expensive issue is catalytic converter failure. The Elgrand has a primary & secondary cat per bank (4 cats in total) and these have a bad habit of failing and subsequently blocking the exhaust and making the car virtually un-drivable. It is an expensive repair if done right and even more expensive if the root cause of the melt down needs fixing too. Which can be anything from dead oxygen sensors or fuel system issues and even mechanical complications. Some owners choose to delete the catalytic converters all together which here in Australia is completely illegal so not recommended.

Transmission and driveline issues are less common but they do tend chew through wheel bearings more than most.

Other than that, it’s just age-related issues you need to be careful of and with the newest of this generation now being 12 years old, they’re all likely to have some issues so a pre purchase inspection is highly recommended.

Body style:
5-door minivan (MPV)

Engines:

  • 2.5 litre V6 petrol
  • 3.5 litre V6 petrol

Power:

  • 137kW – 2.5 litre V6 petrol
  • 177kW – 3.5 litre V6 petrol

Torque:

  • 232Nm – 2.5 litre V6 petrol
  • 353Nm – 3.5 litre V6 petrol

Transmission & drivetrains:

  • 5-speed automatic transmission, rear-wheel drive (RWD)
  • 5-speed automatic transmission, four-wheel drive – all mode 4×4 (4WD)

Fuel consumption:
10.5 – 12.8L/100km

Length:
4795 – 4835mm

Width:
1795 – 1815mm

Height:
1910 – 1920mm

Kerb weight:
2010 – 2450kg

Body style:
5-door minivan (MPV)

Engines:

  • 2.5 litre V6 petrol
  • 3.5 litre V6 petrol

Power:

  • 137kW – 2.5 litre V6 petrol
  • 177kW – 3.5 litre V6 petrol

Torque:

  • 232Nm – 2.5 litre V6 petrol
  • 353Nm – 3.5 litre V6 petrol

Transmission & drivetrains:

  • 5-speed automatic transmission, rear-wheel drive (RWD)
  • 5-speed automatic transmission, four-wheel drive – all mode 4×4 (4WD)

Fuel consumption:
10.5 – 12.8L/100km

Length:
4795 – 4835mm

Width:
1795 – 1815mm

Height:
1910 – 1920mm

Kerb weight:
2010 – 2450kg

Body style:
5-door minivan (MPV)

Engines:

  • 2.5 litre V6 petrol
  • 3.5 litre V6 petrol

Power:

  • 137kW – 2.5 litre V6 petrol
  • 177kW – 3.5 litre V6 petrol

Torque:

  • 232Nm – 2.5 litre V6 petrol
  • 353Nm – 3.5 litre V6 petrol

Transmission & drivetrains:

  • 5-speed automatic transmission, rear-wheel drive (RWD)
  • 5-speed automatic transmission, four-wheel drive – all mode 4×4 (4WD)

Fuel consumption:
10.5 – 12.8L/100km

Length:
4795 – 4835mm

Width:
1795 – 1815mm

Height:
1910 – 1920mm

Kerb weight:
2010 – 2450kg

Warranty:

No manufacturers warranty as it is a grey import. Some import companies offered warranties when these were newly built.

Servicing:

12 months/10,000km

Model range, pricing & features

V

Price when new: $38,600 - $43,200

Price used: $8,500 - $14,500

The Elgrand V was the base model of the range, comprising of 16-inch alloy wheels, dual airbags, ABS, EBD, electric windows & mirrors; dual-zone climate control, rear air vents and a 4-speaker sound system with AM/FM radio and a CD player. The V model was available as an 8-seater people mover.

Initially available with the 3.5 litre V6, either in rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive. With later updates, the V model became available with a 2.5 litre V6 engine, and Nissan altered the model naming – adding the engine spec to the model, with the 250V being the 2.5 litre V6 V model and the 350V being the 3.5 litre V6 V model respectively.

Standard features:

  • 16-inch alloy wheels
  • Body-coloured door handles
  • Rear spoiler
  • 4-wheel ventilated disc brakes
  • Independent front and rear suspension
  • Driver and front passenger airbags
  • 3-point (lap sash) seatbelt for front and rear outboard seated passengers
  • Seat pretensioners and load limiters for for driver and front passenger
  • Child seat anchor points
  • Headrests for all occupants
  • Anti-lock braking system (ABS)
  • Electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD)
  • Brake assist
  • Engine immobiliser
  • Central locking
  • Halogen headlights
  • Auto headlights
  • High-mount stop lamp
  • Intermittent wipers
  • Foot operated parking brake
  • Electric mirrors – electrically folding
  • Electric windows with driver’s side auto up/down
  • Electric flip-out window (third row)
  • Power steering
  • 4-spoke steering wheel – tilt adjust
  • Steering wheel with woodgrain effect
  • Dual-zone climate control
  • Rear air vents
  • Rear seat multi-control for air conditioning, audio system and sunroof
  • Cloth upholstery
  • Manually adjustable driver’s and front passengers seat
  • Front seat armrests
  • 120W 4-speaker sound system
  • AM/FM radio
  • CD stacker/auto changer
  • Mini-Disc player
  • Second row rotating facing seat
  • 2x cup holders – front
  • 2x cup holders – second row
  • Bottle holders
  • Glovebox
  • Centre storage
  • Front door pockets
  • 4x luggage hooks

VG

Price when new: $40,000 - $47,300

Price used: $11,000 - $16,000

The VG was available in a 8-seater configuration with either 4 or 5 doors and added xenon headlights, low-beam headlight levelling, automatic sliding door on the passenger’s side and suede cloth upholstery. This spec was discontinued later in the E51’s life.

In addition to the V:

  • Xenon headlights
  • Low beam headlight levelling
  • Automatic sliding door (passenger side) with key fob operation
  • Suede cloth upholstery

VG version L

Price when new: $42,000 - $50,200

Price used: $11,000 - $24,000

The version L was a special edition commemorating the sale of over 250,000 units of the Elgrand since 1997, and added rear-view camera, 2x intellgent keys, 160-watt 6-speaker sound system, Car Wings 8-inch infotainment system with satellite navigation; TV function, handsfree phone capability, DVD player and voice command.

In addition to the VG:

  • Rear-view camera with distance/car guidelines
  • 2x intellgent keys
  • 160W 6-speaker sound system
  • Car Wings 8-inch infotainment system
  • Navigation system
  • TV function
  • Handsfree phone capability
  • Voice command
  • DVD video playback

Rider

Price when new: $42,500 - $51,340

Price used: $9,500 - $26,000

The Rider was introduced as a sportier version to the VG and added 17-inch alloy wheels, a Fujitsubo sports muffler, low-riding suspension, sports front bumper, billet griller, clear indicator lamps and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with stone texture inserts.

In addition to the VG:

  • 17-inch alloy wheels
  • Fujitsubo sports muffler
  • Low-height suspension
  • Front sports bumper
  • Billet grille
  • Clear indicator lamps
  • Leather-wrapped stone texture steering wheel

Autech Elgrand Rider S

Price when new: $43,800 - $51,500

Price used: $11,000 - $26,000

The Autech Elgrand Rider S is a Nismo modified model with an 8-seat configuration, sports bodykit, warm grey interior trim and a sports steering wheel.

In addition to the VG:

  • Warm grey interior trim
  • 4-spoke sports steering wheel

Highway Star

Price when new: $43,200 - $53,500

Price used: $8,000 - $27,000

The Highway Star is commonly referred to as a sports-orientated model featuring a lowdown suspension, 17-inch alloy wheels, aero bodykit, leather steering wheel with titanium-effect inserts, halogen fog lights and a 6-speaker sound system. Updates over the years included fully plated front grille, chrome alloy wheels and fog lamp surrounds in the body colour.

In addition to the VG:

  • 17-inch alloy wheels
  • Lowdown suspension
  • Front aero bumper
  • Side sill protector
  • Rear aero bumper
  • Leather/titanium-effect steering wheel
  • Fog lights – halogen
  • 6-speaker sound system

2003 updates:

  • Fully plated front grille
  • Chrome alloy-wheels
  • Fog lamp surrounds in body colour

Highway Star version L

Price when new: $44,500 - $53,700

Price used: $9,000 - $27,500

The version L was a special edition commemorating the sale of over 250,000 units of the Elgrand since 1997, and added rear-view camera, 2x intellgent keys, 160-watt 6-speaker sound system, Car Wings 8-inch infotainment system with satellite navigation; TV function, handsfree phone capability, DVD player and voice command.

In addition to the Highway Star:

  • Rear-view camera with distance/car guidelines
  • 2x intellgent keys
  • 160W 6-speaker sound system
  • Car Wings 8-inch infotainment system
  • Navigation system
  • TV function
  • Handsfree phone capability
  • Voice command
  • DVD video playback

X

Price when new: $45,000 - $54,300

Price used: $14,000 - $27,000

The X is a the most luxurious 8-seater model in the Elgrand range sporting comfort features like insulated glass, second and third row armrests; driver’s seat electric adjustment, step lamps, 160W 6-speaker sound system with Car Wings infotainment system; satellite navigation, TV function, hands free phone functionality and DVD player.

In addition to the Highway Star:

  • Insulated glass
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel with woodgrain effect
  • Third row centre armrest
  • Second row footrest
  • Large headrests
  • Electric adjustment of driver’s seat
  • Step lamps
  • 160W 6-speaker sound system
  • Car Wings 8-inch infotainment system
  • Navigation system
  • TV function
  • Handsfree phone capability
  • Voice command
  • DVD video playback

XL

Price when new: $51,520 - $59,900

Price used: $16,000 - $27,000

The XL is the top-of-the-range model in the Elgrand range and comes only as a 7-seater model.

The XL added an intelligent key with memory function, front and rear sunroof, privacy blinds, leather upholstery, second row captains chairs, AC power outlet and 8-inch front and rear video monitors.

Updates throughout its life included the addition of a rear view camera, blindspot monitoring, 5.1 channel surround system car theater system with a 360-watt 11-speaker sound system and bluetooth connectivity,

In addition to the X:

  • 7-seat configuration
  • Intellegent key with memory function
  • Front sunroof – manual tilt
  • Rear sunroof – electric tilt and slide
  • Privacy blinds
  • Leather upholstery
  • Second row captain chairs
  • AC power outlet
  • Front and rear video monitors (8-inch)

2008 updates:

  • Rear-view camera
  • Blindspot monitor
  • 5.1 channel surround sound car theater system
  • 360W 11-speaker sound system
  • Bluetooth – phone and audio streaming

Autech Elgrand VIP

Price when new: $78,000 - $85,000

Price used: $23,000 - $32,000

The Autech Elgrand VIP is a VIP model with 4-seats, 2x in the front row, and 2x seats in the rear with extended legroom.

The model featured leather upholstery, captains recliner chairs, rear centre armrest, electric footrest/ottoman, rear-seat reading lamp, rear-seat entertainment and sound system including VHS, CD and DVD player and a partition for the boot.

In addition to the XL:

  • Electric side step
  • 4x rear seats
  • Leather upholstery
  • Rear centre armrest
  • Electric footrest
  • Electric ottoman
  • Rear-seat reading lamp
  • 6-speaker rear seat audio system
  • Rear seat VHS system
  • Rear seat CD/DVD player
  • Boot partition

It’s a balancing act with the Elgrand.

Yes these are arguably some of the best value for money people movers or even vans on the used market but the money you save in actually buying one, may possibly be eaten up in fuel and running costs, not to mention that if something goes wrong with the Elgrand, depending on what has gone wrong, finding parts can be more of a challenge than it needs to be and as they are a challenge to work on, labour costs can quickly add up.

However, look at it this way, $20,000 should get you into a top spec mint condition Elgrand with about 60,000kms on it whereas a top spec Kia Carnival with about 60,000kms on it is going to be asking around $50,000.

Yes the Kia is newer and larger and more fuel efficient but is it really worth $30,000 more, we don’t think so.

Find a great condition one of these with a full and legitimate service history, make sure you put it through a pre-purchase inspection and if it checks out, yes buy it but keep on top of the required servicing and maintenance.

It’s a balancing act with the Elgrand.

Yes these are arguably some of the best value for money people movers or even vans on the used market but the money you save in actually buying one, may possibly be eaten up in fuel and running costs, not to mention that if something goes wrong with the Elgrand, depending on what has gone wrong, finding parts can be more of a challenge than it needs to be and as they are a challenge to work on, labour costs can quickly add up.

However, look at it this way, $20,000 should get you into a top spec mint condition Elgrand with about 60,000kms on it whereas a top spec Kia Carnival with about 60,000kms on it is going to be asking around $50,000.

Yes the Kia is newer and larger and more fuel efficient but is it really worth $30,000 more, we don’t think so.

Find a great condition one of these with a full and legitimate service history, make sure you put it through a pre-purchase inspection and if it checks out, yes buy it but keep on top of the required servicing and maintenance.

It’s a balancing act with the Elgrand.

Yes these are arguably some of the best value for money people movers or even vans on the used market but the money you save in actually buying one, may possibly be eaten up in fuel and running costs, not to mention that if something goes wrong with the Elgrand, depending on what has gone wrong, finding parts can be more of a challenge than it needs to be and as they are a challenge to work on, labour costs can quickly add up.

However, look at it this way, $20,000 should get you into a top spec mint condition Elgrand with about 60,000kms on it whereas a top spec Kia Carnival with about 60,000kms on it is going to be asking around $50,000.

Yes the Kia is newer and larger and more fuel efficient but is it really worth $30,000 more, we don’t think so.

Find a great condition one of these with a full and legitimate service history, make sure you put it through a pre-purchase inspection and if it checks out, yes buy it but keep on top of the required servicing and maintenance.

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Disclaimer

Please note that pricing information is subject to fluctuations in the automotive market.

Information correct as of December 02, 2022.

The advice provided on this website is general advice only. It has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on this advice, you should consider the appropriateness of the advice, having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs.

Read our full terms and conditions here.

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