Passo2004TOYOTA VS March2004NISSAN



If you live in a large urban area, and need a car, there are many things that you should consider. First, and foremost, buyers need to consider the total cost of owning a car. These costs include the purchase price of the car, insurance considerations, taxes, parking, fuel, and maintenance. All of these considerations often lead the savvy urbanite to the supermini class of cars. Many of the cars within this group offer outstanding km/l and avoid certain taxes related to the size of a car. They are incredibly easy to park and are often quite durable Most manufacturers, especially those who have entered the Asian markets, offer a variety of selections in the supermini classification. Two of the most prominent may be Toyota and Nissan.

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Toyota and Nissan have both been fervently involved in the supermini class for decades. Both manufacturers have pushed to evolve their offerings over time, creating cars that meet all of the needs of their customer base. Two of the top offerings from these elite manufacturers are the 2004 Toyota Passo and the 2004 Nissan March. Toyota introduced the Passo in 2004 to replace the Daihatsu Storia. Nissan introduced the March in 1982 to replace the Cherry line-up. While the 2004 Toyota Passo is part of the first generation, it was introduced with many of the comforts that buyers expect from a Toyota offering. On the other hand, the 2004 Nissan March is part of the K12 third generation that many buyers covet.

Both vehicles offer ample of room for five passengers. Each car features enough cargo space for any commute or an extended trip. The Passo and the March offer class leading fuel efficiency along with multiple engine and transmission options. Both cars score well for crash safety, reliability, owner satisfaction, and have a very affordable price point. With both cars having so many positive features, it can be hard to decide which to buy. The only rational solution is to offer a side-by-side comparison of the two. Running down every model year would be tedious, so we are going to focus on the 2004 Toyota Passo and the 2004 Nissan March.


Both the 2004 Toyota Passo and the 2004 Nissan March are well regarded by professional reviewers and current owners. Either vehicle will comfortably seat four adult passengers. If needed, a fifth passenger can find a seat. This is common with supermini cars. The Nissan March is a bit smaller than the Passo. While cabin space is an important feature, most buyers who shop for a supermini are more concerned with fuel efficiency than cabin space.

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The Passo and the March both deliver fuel efficiency that is at the top of the supermini class. The exterior of each is distinct, with the March offering a near feline stance that clearly defines it from other subcompact cars. The interior of each car is minimalistic, as you would expect from a supermini that is as concerned with price as it is efficiency. Neither car pretends to offer the type of deep comfort that you will find in a premium vehicle, but each displays functionality in every feature.

The 2004 Toyota Passo is only available as a five-door hatchback. The 2004 Nissan March, having gone through several generations, is offered as a three-door and five-door hatchback, as well as a two-door convertible coupe. The Passo can be powered by either a three-cylinder engine or a four-cylinder that offers power and fuel economy. The March features a variety of inline four-cylinder engines that range from a 996 cc petrol engine to a 1,461cc diesel powerplant. All of the engines can be paired to an automatic transmission or a manual, but a CVT was not offered in either model for the 2004 model year. Now, let's look at each car individually in order to showcase the main differences between the two.

Interior Comparison

PASSO's Interior

The interior of the 2004 Toyota Passo is exactly what you would expect from a supermini: it is efficient in every aspect. All controls and gauges are within easy reach of the driver, allowing constant road awareness. Where the Passo diverges from the supermini mold is in the ''feeling'' of the interior. For many years, fuel efficient cars were marred by the lack of basic comforts. The seats and interior mouldings were done as inexpensively. Toyota refuses to allow this concept to creep into even the smallest of their vehicles. While the Passo does feature a rather minimalistic interior, it is comfortably appointed for driver and passengers alike.

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The gear shifter is located on the dash, with the handbrake just under the steering column, a different layout than many 2004 models, but a more common layout today. Designed with the small family in mind, the Passo is a bit larger than the Storia that it replaced. Being both longer and wider, the Passo offers a great deal more interior room and cargo space. When the split folding rear seats are down, the 2004 Passo has a cargo capacity of 630 litres. Toyota Welcab Features a swiveling front seat to the elderly, and those who are wheelchair bound.

MARCH's Interior

The 2004 Nissan March is part of the K12 third generation that was revealed at the Paris Motor Show in 2002. The third generation marked a radical redesign that was badly needed to keep the March relevant in its key markets. The March, like the Passo, is known for its spartan, yet comfortable interior. In earlier generations, Nissan allowed the traditional minimalistic feeling of a supermini to creep into the interior of the March, but a collaboration with Renault for the third generation, pushed this tendency into history where it belonged.

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As part of the redesign, the interior was improved in several ways. The first was added headroom. This was accomplished in part by making the March 100mm taller. The 2004 model is also 85 mm wider, further increasing the car's interior space. The K12 version of the March features a sliding rear seat that adds to cargo space when needed. The gear shifter is placed in the more traditional floor position in the automatic and manual versions. The March Enchante features a swiveling front seat to accommodate ingress and egress by those wearing traditional Japanese clothing, the elderly, and those who are wheelchair bound.

Exterior Comparison

PASSO's Exterior

As part of the first generation of the Passo, the 2004 model was built with a tried and true design. It is very aerodynamic, but rather plain and simplistic. Japan model code DBA-KGC10 is a perfect example of this styling concept; focusing more on fuel economy, safety, and price point than exterior styling.

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Built to replace and improve on the Storia, the Toyota Passo is larger in every possible measure. The 2004 Passo is 3,630 mm in length, 1,665mm wide, and 1,550 mm tall. The additional size gives the Passo a sturdier look and less sway in turns and while cornering. When buyers upgrade to the Japan model code DBA-QNC10, they are treated to matching colored bumper, side mud guards, and a rear spoiler, giving the Passo a more unique look.

MARCH's Exterior

For the third generation of the March, Nissan had the foresight to collaborate with Renault to improve styling and grace. The result was a car that was greatly improved over all past iterations. The K12 release closely followed the lines of the Nissan MM-e concept displayed at the 2001 Frankfurt Motor Show.

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The new features of the March include a wheelbase that is 70 mm longer than previous generations, an exterior that is curvy and vivacious, headlamps that touch the wing-tops, and a stance that is both taller and wider. All of these new features combine to create a car that stands head and shoulders above other subcompacts. The third generation of the March also introduced a versatility in body styles that is uncommon in the supermini class; offering a three-door and five-door hatchback as well as a two-door convertible coupe. With the introduction of the K12 March, Nissan took a leadership role within the subcompact market in styling, a trend that continues today.

Driving Experience

PASSO's Driving Experience

The 2004 Toyota Passo is a very fuel efficient car, offering an efficiency rating that is among the highest for non-hybrid vehicles. Small cars often suffer from a feeling of sudden pitch and roll in turns and while cornering, the Passo counters that by being wider, taller, and heavier than its predecessor, the Daihatsu Storia. The increased dimensions give the car a stability in turns that many drivers will feel is very solid, perhaps even nonchalant.

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Subcompact cars like the Passo are often taken to task for their moderate acceleration. Again, the Passo stands out. The 996 cc I3 that is featured in units with the Japan model codes DBA-KGC10 and DBA-KGC15 offers 71 bhp, more than you will need for daily driving in congested urban conditions. The I3 (Inline 3 cylinder engine) offers 21.0 km/l in the front-wheel drive models. Owners report 18.4 km/l from units featuring full-time four-wheel drive. In either iteration, the 996 cc engine provides a fun and entertaining driving experience. If you upgrade to the larger 1,297 cc I4 (Inline 4 cylinder engine) that is available in units with Japan model code DBA-QNC10, you will find the accelerator is much more responsive. With 90 bhp available on demand, how could you not enjoy yourself? Excitingly, the I4 is capable of 18.0 km/l.

MARCH's Driving Experience

Nissan decided to revamp the line in 2002. Not only did Nissan completely restyle the exterior of the March, the automaker gave it a much needed set of engine upgrades. The upgraded stance of the K12 platform allows the March to stand solid in turns as well as ride comfortably during long distance commutes. One of the most exciting features of the 2004 Nissan March is its sporty engine lineup. With the 2004 March, Nissan opted for stronger four-cylinder engines, eschewing an I3 option.

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The most common engine, often found in cars with the Japan model code CBA-AK12, is a 1,240 cc CR12DE I4 that is more than adequate for any urban need. Despite its larger size, the I4 (Inline 4 cylinder engine) still offers a fuel efficiency rating of 19.0 km/l with front-wheel drive. Another popular engine offered in the Japanese market is the 1,386 cc CR14DE I4 that is featured in units with the Japan model code CBA-BNK12. The 97 bhp produced by this engine offers a fun, sporty drive, even if it is just across town. This engine is usually featured in cars that also have full-time four-wheel drive, lowering its fuel efficiency to 16.6 km/l.


Side-by-side, the 2004 Toyota Passo and the 2004 Nissan March are as different as night and day; each appealing to a certain set of buyers. Both are solid cars in their own right, but their manufacturers have taken different tacks to deliver a car that appeals to the public.

The 2004 Toyota Passo offers a comfortable ride and surpasses the fuel efficiency offered by the March by several km/l. Despite its modest styling, the Passo is the superior choice for buyers who are looking to minimize their carbon footprint and deal with the congestion of urban traffic, while riding in comfort. It is also backed by the legendary reliability of Toyota Motors.

On the other hand, the 2004 Nissan March offers the superior styling that a young urbanite is looking for. Its aggressive stance and artistic design allow it to stand out from the supermini crowd. The lower fuel efficiency can be forgiven when you experience the thrilling acceleration and power offered by the larger engines featured in the March line-up.

Making a final decision to buy one over the other will come down to your personality. Are you more concerned with fuel economy or would you rather feel a bit of exhilaration when you touch the pedal? While we are not recommending one car over the other, you now have the information you need to make an informed decision. Good luck with your new car!

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