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

  • Acceleration
  • Optional antilock brakes
  • Handling/roadholding
  • Visibility
  • 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.


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.


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

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.


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.


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


Controls/Materials - 5
Room/Comfort Front - 4
Room/Comfort Rear - 4
Cargo Room - 3


Value - 5

Total: 43


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


(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 4
Front Passenger Injury - 4

Side Impact Test

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


(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)
Description: The rear fenders tend to rust out in the area of the fuel-filler door. (1990-92)

Recall History

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.


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.

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