Compact car; Built in Japan
  • 4-door sedan
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $1,000 – $1,500*


1992 Nissan Stanza SE


1990 Nissan Stanza GXE


1990 Nissan Stanza GXE


1990 Nissan Stanza interior


1990 Nissan Stanza interior

Pros:
  • Acceleration
  • Optional antilock brakes
  • Handling/roadholding
  • Visibility
Cons:
  • Noise
  • Rear-seat room

Stanza’s not as big inside as some competitors, such as the Toyota Camry, Hyundai Sonata, and Dodge Spirit/Plymouth Acclaim. Lack of a V6 engine also was considered a drawback.

Overview

The final generation of Nissan’s front-drive compact sedan got a big boost under the hood, as part of its 1990 redesign. A 138-horsepower, 2.4-liter four replaced the former 2.0-liter engine. Wheelbase was unchanged at 100.4 inches, but the sedan wore a more rounded profile and measured 2.1 inches longer overall than the square-rigged 1987-89 Stanza. Base XE and upscale GXE models were available, with either a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission. Front-disc/rear-drum brakes were standard, but the GXE could be ordered with an all-disc brake package that included an antilock braking system.

Yearly Updates

1991 Stanza
Only one change was evident on the 1991 Stanza: Power mirrors became standard on the base XE model.
1992 Stanza
A sporty SE model joined the Stanza lineup for 1992. Offering most of the features of the luxury-oriented GXE, the SE added a blackout grille, rear spoiler, fog lights, and leather-wrapped steering wheel and gearshift knob. Stanza was replaced by a brand-new Altima sedan for ’93.

Engines

transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

All Stanzas got the new 2.4-liter overhead-cam 4-cylinder engine, which produced 44 more horsepower than the engine that powered 1987-89 Stanzas. Either a 5-speed manual transmission or a 4-speed automatic might be installed.

ohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.4/146
Engine HP 138
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 148
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
22/29
21/27
21.1

Road Test

Standing-start acceleration ranks as average, but competitive. A 1990 GXE with automatic took 10.5 seconds to reach 60 mph. But ample low-speed power yields brisk takeoffs, and the 4-cylinder mates well to the responsive, smooth-shifting transmission, which always seems to be in the correct gear. The big payoff with this engine, however, is swifter, safer passing in the 30-50 mph range.

Unfortunately, the engine gets quite raucous under hard throttle. Add constant road noise and suspension thump, and a Stanza grows annoyingly loud.

Some find it to be a rough-riding compact as well, though the taut suspension helps handling and high-speed stability. Road manners, in fact, are sportier than most compact sedans. Stanza has firm, responsive steering, nimble handling, and impressive cornering grip, even on wet roads.

Essentially a 4-seat automobile, the Stanza will hold five, but it’s a stretch. Cargo space comes to 14 cubic feet, but rear seats do not fold down. The modern dashboard has analog gauges with clear white markings on a flat black background. All controls are close by and easy to operate.

Ratings

Model Tested: 1992 Nissan Stanza SE automatic

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 4
40%
Fuel Economy - 5
50%
Ride Quality - 5
50%
Steering/Handling - 4
40%
Quietness - 4
40%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 5
50%
Room/Comfort Front - 4
40%
Room/Comfort Rear - 4
40%
Cargo Room - 3
30%

Other

Value - 5
50%

Total: 43

Specifications

4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
100.4 179.9 66.9 54.1
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
14.0 16.4 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.6 36.8 42.6 33.6
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 1992 Stanza 4-door sedan

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 4
80%
Front Passenger Injury - 4
80%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision 110
Injury 133
Theft 104

Trouble Spots

Engine misfire
Description: Rough running, poor fuel economy, or poor power may be caused by clogged intake manifold runners allowing excessive EGR flow to some cylinders. (1990-92)
Engine stalling
Description: Contaminated transmission fluid causes the torque-converter clutch to stay engaged, which causes stalling when slowing to a stop. (1991)
Vehicle shake
Description: Cars with a manual transmission my shake or vibrate as the clutch is engaged due to a problem with the clutch-release lever, while a bad transmission front bearing results in a growling noise. (1990-92)
Paint/body
Description: The rear fenders tend to rust out in the area of the fuel-filler door. (1990-92)

Recall History

1990-92
Description: In cars registered in specified states, mud/sand mixture could become trapped between fuel-filler tube and wheel housing; corrosion could result in fuel leakage.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.