Premium compact car; Built in Japan
  • 4-door sedan
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $1,100 – $2,400*


1996 Infiniti G20t


1991 Infiniti G20


1992 Infiniti G20


1993 Infiniti G20 interior


1991 Infiniti G20 interior

Pros:
  • Acceleration (manual)
  • Antilock brakes
  • Steering/handling
Cons:
  • Acceleration (early automatic transmission)
  • Climate controls
  • Engine noise
  • Ride (early models)
  • Road noise

Though capable and well-designed, the small Infiniti’s lack lies in its engine department–neither as quiet nor as quick as expected, especially with automatic–and in the overly taut suspension. Even so, it’s a spirited machine with a sensible design, thus worth a test-drive.

Overview

Nissan’s upscale division moved into the entry-level arena for 1991 with a front-drive compact 4-door sedan called the G20. Under the hood sat a 2.0-liter dual-cam 4-cylinder, same as in the Nissan Sentra SE-R. A 5-speed manual shift was standard; 4-speed automatic optional. Steering has variable power assist, while brakes are antilock 4-wheel discs. Well-equipped from the start, the only factory options were leather upholstery and a glass moonroof. Motorized front seatbelts were standard, as the G20 lacked an airbag.

Yearly Updates

1992 G20
Standard power door locks were revised, and all-season tires joined the option list.
1993 G20
Driver- and passenger-side airbags were added in midyear, when the ’93s gained substantial revisions, including a new 4-speed automatic transmission with electronic shift controls.
1994 G20
After ample modification in mid 1993, the G20 continued into ’94 with minimal change. In spring 1994, a sporty G20t Touring sedan joined the base model.
1995 G20
Rocker panels switched from black to body color, and the Touring model added all-season tires.
1996 G20
Except for fake wood interior trim in the optional Leather Appointment Group, the G20 saw no notable change for 1996–the model’s final season.

Engines

transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

A 2.0-liter dual-cam 4-cylinder engine with sequential fuel injection went into all G20 sedans, hooked to a 5-speed manual gearbox or optional 4-speed automatic transmission. Automatics got electronic shift controls in mid-1993.

dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.0/122
Engine HP 140
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 132
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
24/32
22/28
21.7

Road Test

The 5-speed gearbox blends neatly with the fast-revving engine for a lively feel, whether off the line or meandering through tight, twisty roads. However, the automatic transmission cuts rather sharply into performance, shifting too often even on moderate uphill grades and impairing standing-start action. As for economy, we averaged 21.7 mpg with an automatic G20.

Though wind noise is low, road and engine noise can be a problem. However, the G20 suffers a stiff, jolting ride as soon as any big bumps appear. On the plus side, softer suspension bushings, introduced in mid 1993, deliver a ride that’s still firm, but no longer too stiff on bumpy roads. In any year, body lean is minimal, power steering is quick and responsive, and brakes respond eagerly.

Space is more than adequate for four adults, and the handsome dashboard is well-organized. Gauges are clearly marked; controls handy, except for a low heat/vent panel. A low beltline and thin roof pillars contribute to a commanding driving position and good visibility. Firm front bucket seats offer good support. Six-footers can ride in back without feeling cramped. The ample trunk has a long, flat floor, and its lid opens from bumper height to more than 90 degrees.

Ratings

Model Tested: 1996 Infiniti G20

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 - 5
50%
Fuel Economy - 6
60%
Ride Quality - 4
40%
Steering/Handling - 5
50%
Quietness - 4
40%

Accommodations

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

Other

Value - 6
60%

Total: 46

Specifications

4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
100.4 174.8 66.7 54.7
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
14.2 15.9 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.8 37.3 42.0 32.2
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 1995 G20 4-door sedan

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

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

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 122
Injury 99
Theft 118

Trouble Spots

Automatic transmission
Description: A campaign was conducted to improve automatic-transmission life by installing an inline filter and auxiliary oil cooler. (1991)
Automatic transmission
Description: The dropping resistor on the inner left fender can be damaged by rain or windshield-washer fluid causing harsh, noisy, or jerky transmission shifts. A new resistor, with a protective cover, is required to fix the problem. (1994)
Automatic transmission
Description: If the transmission won’t upshift to third or fourth or slips on acceleration, the high clutch assembly may be burnt and debris gets lodged in the valve body. (1991-93)
Dashboard lights
Description: If the check-engine light comes on, but the technician can find no faulty components, there may be inductive interference on the wiring harness leading to the onboard computer. Separating and isolating the wires from one another cures the problem. (1994-95)
Engine stalling
Description: If a cold engine stalls when coming to a stop and is hard to restart, replacing the hydraulic-valve lash adjusters may restore performance. (1991-92)
Fuel odors
Description: Fuel odors on cold start can be solved by a free repair that may include new fuel injectors, hoses, fuel rails, regulator, and wiring. (1991-92)
Transmission noise
Description: If the automatic transmission chirps when shifting from second to third, a redesigned input shaft and high clutch assembly with an improved friction material should eliminate the problem. (1991)
Trunk latch
Description: The electric trunk-release solenoid may stick in the open position, preventing the trunk from closing properly. (1992-94)

Recall History

1991-92
Description: Rear seatbelt buckle may engage only partially.
1991-96 19 states and D.C.
Description: Fuel-filler tube assembly can corrode, resulting in leakage.
1993-95
Description: Harness-connector protector near seatbelt pretensioner can ignite, due to proximity to combustion gas generated by pretensioner when device is triggered; fire can then occur in passenger compartment.

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.