NEWS: Nissan to bring back Stanza Wagon

To the surprise of many the automotive media, a leaked Nissan press release has revealed that the automaker is reviving the Stanza Wagon nameplate as a retro car aimed at millennials. The concept image accompanying the release shows a wagon-like car with sliding rear doors, just like the 1982 original. 

Nissan noted a spike in interest in classic Stanza Wagons and an unprecedented rise in price of the original Nissan Stanza Wagon as collector vehicles. While this may come off as a pander to the hipster market, perhaps it’s just a ploy to replace the fixed geared bicycle with a car. A stripped down base model will start at $12,250, which is below the price of the well-received Mitsubishi Mirage ES. A quote in the release from Design Manager Haruo Nakajima reads. “Our models released under Carlos Ghosn‘s tenure were pretty lame… So we’re going back to our roots, gimmicks and performance.”

While details about the production model are scarce, the press release hints at what might be coming. The plan is to use this model create a light-weight, stylized shooting brake based off of the Sentra, complete with pillarless doors and a promised curb weight below 2,800 pounds. At the moment, Nissan plans to utilize a series of engines including a variant of the 1.5L HR15DE from the Nissan Cube for the standard model and the MR16DDT from a Juke for a performance model. Choice of transmission includes a 5-speed manual for all trim levels and an optional CVT. Although the standard model will be front-wheel-drive, an optional active AWD drive system will be available.

Nakajima-san also confirmed that there is a plan for a NISMO Stanza Wagon. This is what gets us excited here at Japanese Nostalgic Car because Nissan has confirmed it will have actual performance, not just a NISMO badge. A transverse mounted MR16DDT 1.6-liter Juke engine is the planned powerplant. A 6-speed manual transmission will be the only gearbox option and a variant of the ATTESA AWD system will send power to all four wheels at a rear biased 30/70 torque split. If that’s not enough for you, Super-HICAS four wheel steering will be available. This sounds like a the best mashup of a Skyline GT-R with a Stanza Wagon and we are completely okay with that.

What we find particularly interesting is Interior Design Chief Vic Romano‘s attention to detail. In an attempt to honor the retro nameplate, Nissan will include 80s design cues throughout the cabin. A quote from Romano states, “It will be a truly unique experience,” and it seems that he’s not wrong about that.

A retro styled digital dashboard complete with only green and red LEDs will be found standard on all models with readouts for voltage, oil pressure, coolant temperature and, on the NISMO edition, a digital bar type boost gauge. Modern features such as a touch screen stereo and backup camera will be worked into the interior while trying to appear era-correct. Taking a cue from the new Mazda 6, a heads-up display will be projected onto the windshield with digital speedometer, tachometer, shift light, and g-meter. Manually adjustable seats will have 12-way adjustment including a pump-style lumbar support, akin to that found in an A60 Celica Supra.

Let’s get back to that stripped-down base model because this will be the car’s key to success. The HR15DE 1.5L engine will be mated to a manual transmission and offered in front-drive only. Inside, the touchscreen will be replaced with a standard double DIN single CD stereo unit. For the full retro experience, there’s even a cassette deck and, the pièce de résistance, a graphic equalizer.

Since no auxiliary port is available, the tape deck will have a cassette adapter included with the car. Humorously, they will have a “metal” button in lieu of a “loud” button. After all, it’s the little things that count.

We think this is a great direction for Nissan. Though they’re doing well financially, a “cool” model will help guarantee brand loyalty later on down the road. When JNC contacted Nakajima to ask if there would be more throwback cars, he hinted that the next one would be a replacement for the 370Z. he went on to reveal that “we are planning on bringing back the ZX nameplate with that model.”

The Stanza Wagon concept will be revealed next month at the New York International Auto Show, with an expected on-sale date in late 2018 as a 2019 model. Sales will begin in Japan first, where the Prairie name will be resurrected, with US sales to follow a few months after that. You can read the full press release here.

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31 Responses to NEWS: Nissan to bring back Stanza Wagon

  1. Randy says:

    HA, HA, HAAAAAA!!!

    You’re a day early.

    • Cesariojpn says:

      Well April 1st is on a Saturday. And Lexus released theirs a couple days early as well

    • Randy says:

      (If that’s the new Leaf, however, it’s INFINITELY better looking!)

    • Indiana Jones says:

      Well, it’s already April 1st in Japan, but no one “celebrates” April Fools Day there.

      I heard that there will be an executive order signed to extend celebrations for an additional 364 days in the US.

      Hmmmm, I feel like this would be a great opportunity for a Stanza burn. Lemme think…

      Shucks, I forgot to put on my thinking cap, whimsical striped outfit…and roller skates. Oh, well.

      I don’t think I could’ve added anything more considering the words “STANZA NISMO” are combined above.

      Wait. Clearly there’s skullduggery afoot!

      “STANZA NISMO” is a anagram of “NAZI MONSTAS”! This is awful. Just awful.

      Nissaaaan!!! DON’T build this caaaaaaar!!!!

      • Randy says:

        They should! From what I’ve read, the boss would LOVE to open his office door and find it FULL of balloons, and shrink-wrapped!

        Put tape on the jack going into the phone handset!

        Ahh, they’d laugh, and laugh, and laugh! 🙂

  2. Mr. Vaj Anya the third says:

    If proposing a new Stanza is an April Fools Joke then what was the IDx?

  3. Scotty G says:

    Dang hipsters. Here’s mine that arrived a week ago from Sacramento: one-owner, rust-free 4WD 5-speed! I’ve wanted one before hipster was even a thing.

    • Randy says:

      Looks good!

      No winter time for that!

      What’s the mileage, interior color, etc.?

      (Hey, they started us off with a Stanza joke, so it’s fair…)

      • Scotty G says:

        Ha! I read it too quickly and totally missed the April Fool’s thing, not a good sign..

        It has 101,000 miles, blue-check interior, no cruise or AC, unfortunately, but it has a factory sunroof. I’ll be looking hard for a couple of things, like a sunroof (or, is it moonroof?) seal, this one is bad news, sun-fried and not sealing at all. And, a couple of interior trim pieces and a rear defroster switch, weird little things like that. But, the sunroof seal is the biggie, there’s literally a gap – it will take in water and that’s not good. If you know where to get oddball parts and pieces. like that seal, I’d appreciate a head’s up!

        100 hp isn’t a lot of power, my 1997 Outback feels like a Ferrari after driving the Stanza!

        • Randy says:

          Might have to go aftermarket, like SoffSeal for the gasket. One of the generic weatherstrips, and modify it just slightly in this usage…

          (As I understand it, “sunroof” was the metal one, and “moonroof” was the glass one, but sunroof gets used more often.)

          Switches were probably shared among models.

          Correct interior trim is going to be a challenge. If it’s fabric stuff, and you’re not totally DEVOTED to original/correct, fabrics and vinyls can be had.

          It’s a project car, so it’s that “something to do” when the in-laws come over.

          Are there any salvage yards around you? I haven’t been to any of my “local” yards in forever. I think a couple have even gone under. J-tin wasn’t big around here anyway, so there never was much. Anything rubber would be baked by now, anyway.

          Would A/C parts from a Sentra work to upgrade it? NAPA, etc., might be an easy source.

          I THOUGHT it was “Parts123” that had parts for about EVERYTHING, but I was wrong… Looks like it’s more for streetrods and such now. Any of the sources in that right-side column over there useful? —>>>

          At the risk of upsetting the mods, I tripped over this:

          About 1,000 parts involved in the sunroof… Don’t forget the drain tubes!

          A neoprene sheet, perhaps, for the gasket/grommet? Cut to your needs.

          I’ll be poking around tonight for some ideas.

        • Randy says:


          Just typed:
          1987 nissan stanza wagon sunroof

          into google.

          If it shares the sunroof of the regular Stanza, here be the link ($75.48 at Pence Nissan):

          It says: Weatherstrip. Welt.

          Are they integral to each other?

          Listing sez: “This product fits 18 vehicle variants.
          Nissan: 2 models, 18 variants between 1987 and 1988.”

          This might not be the PITA it originally promised to be!

          *I’m* actually somewhat excited, and it ain’t my car!

  4. Dave says:

    Dang. Got me all excited. Then I remembered the date. Doh! I like the “models released under Carlos Ghosn’s tenure were lame” comment.

  5. Nigel says:

    Ha ha, the best one yet !

  6. Taylor says:

    Man, you had me right up to the cassette option (nice pic grab from the Z31, btw). Now, if only we could get a retro-modern version of those classic Stanza wheels!

  7. Andrew L says:

    Dammit… I got way too far into this — breezing right past the designer bashing Ghosn — before the red flags piled up higher than my want.

    Well done, JNC.

  8. Alan says:

    I think it needs more styling. There’s easily room for another dozen or so styling gimmicks.

  9. Randy says:

    Actually, considering some of the names out there, “Stanza” isn’t half bad… “Juke?” Do many people even know what the word means today? Haven’t heard it used in a sentence in forever. “Note?” “Versa Note.” ?

    At least with Stanza, the NOTES would be the features… Things to take NOTE of… Put little musical notes in the light housings, or internal lenses, like Jeep does with their Compass, etc., or how Chevy did with the rear side markers on the last-gen Malibu.

    It’s not a bad looking vehicle, either, and with nothing around it for size reference, it could be a Versa -Hatchback- (NOT “Note”). “Versa-5.” Not the “Versa Tile…” Maybe some hybrid, or electric, Murano-sized people mover, slotted below the Quest?

  10. Matt says:

    I hate you all so much right now, I was genuinely excited for a super cheap gimmicky Nissan again. Why do you have to play with the emotions on us old school Nissan fans.

  11. Cho says:

    Just build the IDX and new 620,s15 and a real Maxima. Inline 4’s/6’s. No CVT but regular Manuals and 6-speed only automatics,all on rear whell or all wheel drive platforms.

  12. Punto8 says:

    Sike….Modern Nissan stopped being cool a long time ago.

  13. Negishi no Keibajo says:

    When I saw the picture, I thought I was looking at a Scion I’m. I didn’t see this coming but I guess it makes sense that Carlos is gone. I’m really excited about the new Nissan. The design language, the engineering, the retro-ness of the 4/1 concept.

    • Nathan says:

      It’s an April Fools joke. Hahaha! Well played, Ryan!

      That hideous excuse for a “grill” is something Nissan needs to kill in its next design language.

  14. viney says:

    I want it badly

  15. Rhonda McGruder says:

    I would LOVE another Nissan Stanza , I had a 1987 one I actually fell in love with it. It was a automatically/4×4 sunroof back slide doors, extra seats in the back w/ seatbelts.I want them to bring them back.??

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