Premium compact car; Built in Japan
  • 4-door sedan
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $2,500 – $4,800*


2000 Infiniti G20


2000 Infiniti G20t


2000 Infiniti G20 interior


2001 Infiniti G20


2001 Infiniti G20t

Pros:
  • Exterior finish
  • Instruments/controls
  • Steering/handling
  • Visibility
Cons:
  • Automatic-transmission performance
  • Engine noise
  • Passenger room

More a dressed-up compact than a true near-luxury car, Infiniti’s well-equipped four-cylinder sedan is not a great value when compared with a similarly equipped midsize Accord or Camry. Because some G20s were discounted when new, some tempting used-car prices might be found.

Overview

Nissan’s luxury division relaunched its front-drive, near-luxury compact sedan for 1999, after a three-year hiatus. Slightly larger than before, with sleeker styling, the second-generation G20 promised 2.4 more inches of rear leg room. Under the hood was a slightly revised version of the original 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, producing 140 horsepower. Either a manual gearbox or optional four-speed automatic transmission could be installed.

Standard safety features included front side airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, and antilocking all-disc brakes.

Base and sportier Touring (G20t) models were offered. The Touring edition added a rear spoiler, fog lights, limited-slip differential, automatic climate control, and slightly lower-profile tires (of the same 15-inch diameter). The G20t also got grippier seat fabric. An optional Leather and Convenience package included leather upholstery and automatic climate control. The G20 competed against the Acura TL, Audi A4, BMW 3-Series, Lexus IS 300, and Volvo S40.

Yearly Updates

2000 G20
Only a few upgrades were evident for the 2000 model year. The four-cylinder engine gained 5 horsepower, and both transmissions got revised gear ratios to help performance. A new remote power trunk release was operable from the dashboard or key fob. New features also included a one-touch up/down driver’s window and retained accessory power. A new cell-phone/satellite assistance/communication system was optional for the Touring edition.
2001 G20
Unchanged for 2001, the G20 continued to suffer from low sales. Options included heated front seats and a Leather/Sunroof package. The in-vehicle Communications System was similar to GM’s OnStar, with a satellite/cell-phone link but no dashboard display.
2002 G20
Infiniti dropped the sporty Touring sedan for 2002, in favor of a new Sport option package that included leather upholstery, a power sunroof, and 16-inch alloy wheels instead of the usual 15-inchers.

Engines

transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

In all G20 models, a 2.0-liter dual-overhead-cam four-cylinder engine mated with a five-speed manual transmission or optional four-speed automatic. Output was raised from 140 to 145 horsepower for 2000.

dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.0/122
Engine HP 140-145
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 132-136
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
24/31
23/30

Road Test

Performance is a problem with the G20, partly because most entry-level cars in this league have a V6, not a four-cylinder engine. Peppy enough once it’s up to speed, the four-cylinder’s relative lack of low-speed torque translates to lackluster off-the-line acceleration. Lacking spirit for around-town driving, a G20 with automatic needed 10 seconds to reach 60 mph. The automatic tends to change gears with a jolt and is slow to downshift. In contrast, the slick-shifting five-speed helps progress a bit and adds to the sedan’s sporting nature.

Fuel economy beats the near-luxury norm. When new, test sedans averaged 22.8 to 26.9 mpg.

Handling is agile and front-drive assured. Stable and maneuverable, a G20 is right at home on twisty roads–nearly as nimble as some costlier rear-drive sports sedans. The ride is surprisingly absorbent for a compact. Braking is swift and sure in emergencies and routine driving alike.

Vocal when worked hard, the engine never sounds pleasant. Tire roar is noticeable on coarse pavement, though wind noise is low.

Compared to most rivals, interior space is limited–a bit crowded with four adults aboard. Front and rear seats are comfortable and offer good support on long trips, but rear leg room is only adequate for larger adults. All-around headroom is tight with the optional sunroof.

Gauges and controls are exactly where expected, while the available automatic climate system is welcome and easy to operate. Visibility is excellent. Interior storage space is good. Standard 60/40 split folding rear seatbacks augment a usefully roomy trunk. Exterior fit and finish are excellent, but the cabin has a faint economy-car look and feel even if equipped with leather upholstery.

Ratings

Model Tested: 2002 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 - 3
30%
Fuel Economy - 6
60%
Ride Quality - 4
40%
Steering/Handling - 6
60%
Quietness - 4
40%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 6
60%
Room/Comfort Front - 5
50%
Room/Comfort Rear - 3
30%
Cargo Room - 3
30%

Other

Value - 3
30%

Total: 43

Specifications

4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
102.4 177.5 66.7 55.1
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
13.5 15.9 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.2 36.8 41.5 34.6
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: N/A

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 N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Coolant leak
Description: The expansion plug on the right-side intake manifold may leak coolant requiring installation of a revised manifold. (1999)
Fuel odors
Description: A rotten-egg odor from the exhaust may require reprogramming of the engine-control module. (2000)
Poor transmission shift
Description: The key may be difficult to remove and/or the shifter may be hard to move from park due to a bent spring in the shift-lever mechanism. (1999)
Poor transmission shift
Description: Unless the transmission cooler is thoroughly cleaned following a transmission repair, the newly serviced unit will likely soon fail. (1999-2002)
Power seats
Description: The power seat may not move fore and aft because the drive cable breaks. (1999-2001)
Starter
Description: Starter may grind, particularly when cold, due to loss of lubrication. Replacement starters have high-temperature grease. (1999-2000)
Vehicle noise
Description: A clunk from the rear of the car when driving over speed bumps or curb cuts (when the back seat and trunk are empty) is fixed by installing revised springs and shock absorbers. (1998-2000)
Windows
Description: Windows may stick and make a popping noise if not used for more than a day due to problems with the rubber window guides that must be replaced. (1999)

Recall History

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.