That thing just screams “designed exclusively for the Japan home market” to the point where I have to wonder if it was offered Europe-wide or only in RHD UK and Ireland.
Yes, they were pretty common when I was living in London. I doubt they were very serene when full of kids.
IIRC they were available with a normally aspirated diesel and quite common as taxis/minicabs.
Edit – just looked on Wikipedia and the NA 2.3 diesel had the slowest 0-60 time on the market at 27.8 seconds.
That 2.3 must be a later “GT” model….the ad says it’s available with 1.6 and 2.0 liter petrol or diesel engines.
I don’t remember a 2.0D. Maybe just the early ones were 2 litre but replaced when it was discovered they couldn’t even get up to 60mph.
There’s one Serena of this generation on eBay UK right now and it’s a 2.3.
Do you plan ahead and start going before the light turns green? Do you exceed the speed limit going downhill to be sure you can make it up the next hill? Is there ever any reason to push the gas pedal only partway to the floor? Do you turn the A/C off when getting on the interstate?
Australia too, but never common. A bit squeezy.
It’s the Versa of minivans!
They really weren’t particularly small compared to contemporary MPVs – OK they had 8 seats instead of 7, but I bet they were more comfortable than a 7 seat Mitsubishi Spacewagon or the “3 row in name only” Renault 21.
Crowded with only 8 passengers? Ha! Not by Japanese standards!
Who cut the CHEESE ?
Some folk down our street had one for hauling their three teenage boys around, along with all their paraphernalia (can’t imagine how!). It got hit in the rear corner and totalled; their youngest sitting in the back row was lucky to get out alive. Next vehicle? Land Rover Discovery.
Lots of these were in NZ mostly ex JDM long gone now they dont seen to last long now theres a later model wearing the same badge around the streets.
My parents had one of these, a red base Serena 1.6 LX with grey bumpers, a light/mid-grey interior with a high amount of exposed red bodywork inside and the sliding door only on the passenger side, from 1993 until it was murdered/written off being rear-ended in 2002 while parked by an Isuzu Trooper with the handbrake off from uphill (the little Serena held firm in place, preventing the big Isuzu from launching into a junction and then the front of a shop). If I look hard enough I’m sure there’ll be many photos in the house. I grew up with that car, and have loads of happy memories and long holidays in it. It replaced an ’83 Austin Metro and is the first car I remember ever being in (alongside my gran’s ’89 Mitsubishi Colt and the series of rentals my dad sometimes used for work before his first company Saab), and the one my mum learned to drive in. My regular seat was behind the driver’s seat, giving me control of the heater blowers for the back rows. I barely remember the rearmost row, it was only used for long journeys with my grandparents or whoever else in the car and usually it was my older brother relegated back there if he wasn’t in the middle. I remember the engine being under the front seats, and the headache to access it or indeed anything up front the last summer before we moved to Scotland when my brother had shut the seatbelt in the front passenger door and jammed it. Around the same time while we prepared to move, getting rid of stuff at the dump, the battery died and we had to get jump started by a rusted out Transit van, followed by an immediate trip to Kwik-Fit. I remember the journey moving house, with one of the cats in a travel box behind my right shoulder against the window. I remember my mother being unable to get it up the steep dirt slope from the road to a friend’s house outside the village when I was a kid (this friend’s parents were into old cars and had a series of old Beetles and Triumph TRs and Stags), and I similarly remember its snail pace while fully laden with all of us and a week’s worth of stuff heading over a mountain on multiple occasions, with the engine loud and straining. I also remembering feeling personally insulted when a late-90s Top Gear review special of all the cars on the market awarded it 1 star out of 5, because I loved that Serena despite its many obvious flaws. I remember the endless dealer trips looking for a replacement before a black Seat Alhambra ended up the reluctant necessary ‘we need something now’ choice of my parents, whose first proper journey was a 2 week summer Highland holiday, while my dad replaced his last Saab with a Nissan X-Trail a couple of months later because we needed the 4WD in winter (the Saab 9-3’s gearbox had infamously frozen the prior record cold winter, discovered after a long time working to overcome the frozen locks and frozen door seals, and also got stuck in a snowdrift near the airport, amongst other things).
A few years ago, a friend’s mum had bought her an early 90s Micra to use as a town runabout/commuter and the wave of joy, excitement and nostalgia from getting in that and seeing the same heat blower controls and plastics and material colour palette as the Serena was strange. Sort of the same way I felt slightly more recently in Sweden in a friend’s mid-90s Saab 900 that was identical to the first one my dad had had.
It’s funny though. I thought of that Serena as being so big, and the current NV200 Vanette as quite small, yet they’re basically the same size, the Serena being slightly smaller. Amazing how childhood perception sticks that way.
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