Nissan Prairie

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Nissan Prairie
NISSAN LIBERTY Rider.jpg
Overview
Manufacturer Nissan
Also called Nissan Multi
Nissan Stanza Wagon
Nissan Liberty
Nissan Axxess
Production 1982–2004
Body and chassis
Class compact MPV
Chronology
Predecessor none
Successor Nissan Lafesta

The Nissan Prairie, introduced in Japan in 1981 and Europe in 1982, was a car from Japanese manufacturer Nissan. It was also known as the Multi in Canada and the Stanza Wagon in the United States. In Japan, it was exclusive to Nissan Bluebird Store locations, then later at Nissan Blue Stage sales channels. The Prairie is one of the very first compact MPV's placed into production, utilizing flexible seating arrangements, and sliding rear doors on both sides of the vehicle, with a liftgate in the back.

The second generation was renamed the Nissan Axxess in North America, and replaced by the larger Nissan/Ford joint venture called the Nissan Quest, and in Europe it was replaced by the Nissan Serena.

When the third generation of this vehicle was introduced in Japan, it was renamed initially Prairie Liberty, with the "Prairie" name eventually dropped in November 1998. This vehicle was replaced with the Nissan Lafesta December 2004 in Japan.

First generation (series M10 1982–1988)[edit]

Nissan Prairie
Nissan Prairie 19880311.jpg
Overview
Manufacturer Nissan
Also called Nissan Multi
Nissan Stanza Wagon
Production 1982–1988
Assembly Shonan, Japan
Designer Naganori Ito
Body and chassis
Class Compact MPV
Body style 5-door minivan
Layout Front engine/front wheel drive, AWD
Related Nissan Sunny
Nissan Pulsar
Powertrain
Engine 2.0 L CA20E I4
2.0 L CA20S I4
1.8 L CA18S I4
1.6 L E16 I4
1.5 L E15S I4
Transmission 3-speed Automatic
4-speed automatic
5-speed manual
Dimensions
Wheelbase 2WD: 2,515 mm (99.0 in)
4WD: 2,525 mm (99.4 in)
Length 2WD: 4,326 mm (170.3 in)
4WD: 4,229 mm (166.5 in)
Width 1,666 mm (65.6 in)
Height 2WD: 1,575 mm (62.0 in)
4WD: 1,615 mm (63.6 in)
Curb weight 1,020 kg (2,249 lb)

The Nissan Prairie, known in Canada as the Multi and the United States as the Stanza Wagon, was equipped with a 4 cylinder engine, with either a manual or automatic transmission. Available with front wheel drive or optional four wheel drive, the vehicle had rear passenger sliding doors on both sides of the vehicle, and a folding rear seat, designed to increase the carrying capacity of the passenger compartment. The rear tailgate opened upwards as one complete unit, in a similar fashion to a hatchback or station wagon. The Prairie competed with the Toyota Sprinter Carib with a similar wagon approach, and the Honda Shuttle.

Nissan Stanza wagon (USA-spec)
1987 Nissan Multi (Canada-spec)

The Prairie resembled a tall station wagon / estate with the addition of sliding side doors. It was available with five seats, though seven were available. It was developed from the Nissan Sunny platform, while using the powertrain from the Nissan Stanza.

The concept was inspired by the Lancia Megagamma show car from Giorgetto Giugiaro and ItalDesign, shown in 1979[citation needed].

It was originally launched in Japan with a 1.5 L I4 engine mated to a 5 speed gearbox, followed shortly after by a 1.8 L and a 2.0 L engine (certain markets only). A four wheel drive version followed later in the car's life. An extensive accessories and options list was available in the Japanese Domestic Market, including a kit that effectively turned the vehicle into a campervan

The Vehicle was launched as the Datsun Prairie in Europe and was rebranded to Nissan along with the rest of the range from 1984, at first featuring 'Datsun by Nissan' badging and then solely 'Nissan' badging from 1985. However as Prairie was a slow but steady seller, some instrument clusters remained with the Datsun script featuring on the centre of the speedometer. Nissan tried, with partial success, to cover over the script a grey sticker over the plastic fascia of the instruments, rather than on the speedometer itself. The 1.5L engine was dropped from the UK market sometime after the 1986 facelift with the 1.8 being the sole engine offered. From the facelift (larger front lights, larger front indicators with additional side repeat indicators, trim improvements, redesigned rear tail light clusters) onwards the UK model was available either in 1.5 GL, 1.8 SGL or 1.8 SGL Anniversary II specification (featuring two-tone paint, electric front windows, electric steel sliding sunroof, Power Assisted Steering and a dealer applied 'Anniversary II' badge on the tailgate). The Prairie was sold with a 3 year 100,000 mile warranty and a 6 year anti-corrosion warranty.[1]

The first generation Prairies were innovative vehicles - featuring no B-pillar between the front and rear doors (instead the interlocking front and sliding rear doors locked onto both the floor and roof of the vehicle); front seatbelts mounted on the doors (excluding the US versions) that facilitated a totally unimpeded side entrance; front seats that could be slid all the way to the front of the passenger compartment and fully reclined; rear seats that could not only be folded away conventionally, but could also be reclined fully to make a double bed (in combination with the front seats); rear window winders that folded into themselves (to prevent catching when the doors were slid open); tailgate that opened to the floor of the luggage compartment(the center section section of the rear bumper was mounted on the tailgate); optional front-facing third row of seats.

Some reviewers commentated that when driven hard undesirable body characteristics were exhibited, possibly due to the combination of missing B-pillar and torsion beam rear suspension.[2]

Second generation (series M11 1988–1998)[edit]

Nissan Prairie
Nissan Prairie 1988.jpg
Overview
Manufacturer Nissan
Also called Nissan Axxess
Production 1988–1998
Assembly Shonan, Japan
Body and chassis
Class Compact MPV
Body style 5-door minivan
Layout Front engine/front wheel drive, AWD
Related Nissan Stanza
Nissan Avenir
Nissan Bluebird series U12
Powertrain
Engine 2.4 L KA24E I4
2.0 L CA20S I4
2.0 L SR20DE I4
Transmission 4-speed automatic
5-speed manual
Dimensions
Wheelbase 2,611 mm (102.8 in)
Length 4,366 mm (171.9 in)
Width 1,689 mm (66.5 in)
Height 1,641 mm (64.6 in)
Curb weight 2,910 lb (1,320 kg)
Chronology
Successor Nissan Quest (North America)
Nissan Serena (Europe)
1992 Nissan Prairie (European-spec)
Nissan Prairie Joy (Japan-spec)

The second generation of the Prairie was introduced September 1988 and marketed as the Axxess in North America. The second generation Prairie lost some of the innovative features that made the 1st generation standout - the B-pillar was re-instated, the torsion beam rear suspension was replaced with a more conventional coil setup that prevented the rear seats from reclining. The vehicle sold for six years (1990–95) in Canada, but only in 1990 in the United States. The U.S. version had motorized automatic seatbelts while the Canadian versions had manual belts.

The Prairie came with optional AWD and a 2.0 litre engine In Europe, the Prairie was later replaced with the larger Nissan Serena, also originally sold in Japan in 1991.

In Japan, Nissan stretched the rear of the vehicle to better accommodate third seat passengers and load carrying, calling the vehicle the Prairie Joy and offering the vehicle in August 1995. The platform used was upgraded from the smaller Nissan Sunny to the larger Nissan Bluebird. Conversions offered a raised roof over the passenger space up to the rear hatch. As of May 1997, anti-lock brakes and driver and front passenger airbags were offered, along with ultraviolet restricting tinted glass.

Third generation (series M12 1998–2004)[edit]

Nissan Prairie
NISSAN LIBERTY 01.jpg
Overview
Manufacturer Nissan
Also called Nissan Prairie Liberty
Production 1998–2004
Assembly Shonan, Japan
Body and chassis
Class Compact MPV
Body style 5-door minivan
Layout Front engine/front wheel drive, AWD
Related Nissan Avenir
Powertrain
Engine 2.0 L SR20DE I4
2.0 L SR20DET I4 turbo
2.0 L QR20DE I4
Transmission 4-speed automatic
CVT
Dimensions
Wheelbase 2,690 mm (106 in)
Length 4,575 mm (180.1 in)
Width 1,695 mm (66.7 in)
Height 1,690 mm (67 in)
Curb weight 1,630 kg (3,590 lb)
Chronology
Successor Nissan Lafesta

The Nissan Liberty is the new name for the Nissan Prairie minivan in 1999. It has rear sliding doors and is available with either front wheel drive or all wheel drive. It is equipped with either the SR20DE or the SR20DET engine, both of which are mated to either a 4-speed automatic or a CVT transmission.

Nissan Liberty (Japan-spec)

The third generation Prairie now shared a platform with the compact station wagon Nissan Avenir with the Prairie/Liberty focused more on flexible seating and cargo carrying duties.

Some of the issues buyers had with the Prairie was its appearance and performance, so the styling was given more attention, and Nissan's Autech division punched up its performance image, by offering the Liberty Rider that replaced the Axis trim package. The turbocharged engine was offered in the "Highway Star 4WD" package October 12, 1999, as well as the "Highway Star GT4", also enhanced by Autech. Front wheel drive vehicles were only available with the CVT transmission. Styling and luxury items offered on the larger Nissan Elgrand were also offered on the Liberty.

The Liberty saw competition from Toyota and Honda during this generation from the Toyota Ipsum, Mitsubishi Chariot, and the Honda Stream, and was joined with the new, larger Nissan Presage at Nissan Bluebird Store locations.

June 19, 2001 Nissan offered a rear door that swung up electrically, with a platform that extended out for passengers that used a wheelchair, and by remote control. The sliding doors were offered with an electrically opening feature on both sides May 7, 2001. Various appearance packages were offered to update the appearance until the vehicle was cancelled December 2004, and replaced by the all new Nissan Lafesta.

References[edit]