Despite rapidly running out of money, it seems Nissan never stopped developing sophisticated luxury cars until Renault and Ghosn forced the issue. This first generation Nissan Stagea (just think of it as a Skyline Wagon) is a perfect illustration of this point. It’s another Cohort upload photographed by donandreina, and when I saw it, I immediately saved the image file so that I could write about it. Check out that caster angle and those driving lights; very sexy.
I try to avoid revealing any blatant fanboi-ism, but unless we’re talking the Datsun 510 or Datsun 240Z, the brand’s cars don’t seem to raise anyone’s pulse around here. I guess that makes me the resident Nissan patron, but it’s a role I’m happy to take on.
The Stagea was intended to compete with the Subaru Legacy touring wagon, but based as it was on the Laurel and Skyline chassis and equipped with an inline six, it was an altogether more luxurious–and balanced–affair. Both the Nissan and the Subaru epitomize Japanese luxury car styling. Japanese manufacturers looking to advertise their heritage, take note: this is your template, albeit maybe with more chrome and fewer ground effects.
These days, it’s the Aussies and Russians who get to benefit from the best of Japan’s automotive fat years. Since none of these companies bothered to cultivate a market in the US for these honest, performance-oriented cars, there’s no reason to continue investing in their development.
That’s a true shame, as not everyone wants an 3-series or S-class clone. Subaru, despite recently throwing away its styling heritage, understands this very well and has made a healthy business building off the performance reputation established by the WRX. Nissans latest concepts are a sign that they understand the value of staying true to their character, but the most recent crop of Infinitis is less encouraging. Ignoring the realities of today’s market, though, I would have easily preferred this Nissan to a Volvo 850R or Audi A6 Avant back in the mid-to-late ’90s.