Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Nissan Sunny is a compact car manufactured by Nissan of Japan. It was launched in 1965 and remains in production today, principally for the Asian, African and American markets (in the US, it is known as the Nissan Sentra).
The name has been used on some European export versions of the Nissan Pulsar between 1986 and 1995, and is still used on some Asian export versions of the same car.
The first Nissan Sunny, exported as the Datsun 1000, was launched in 1965, with four body styles: two- and four-door sedans, van and station wagon. It featured drum brakes and leaf springs all round.
The second-generation Sunny launched in 1970 and was known as the Datsun 1200 in many export markets. It featured Macpherson front suspension. A coupé was added to the range, while the station wagon came in three variants. An upmarket line, the Sunny Excellent, appeared in 1971 and had 1.4-litre engines.
Exported as the Datsun 120Y and Datsun B210 (to the US), the third generation (1973–7) was sharply criticized by magazines such as Wheels of Australia, which felt that it offered no true improvement on its predecessor, not surprising given that the B110 platform and engines were carried over. Like some Nissans of this period, it tended to be overstyled. Sunny Excellents continued but fitted with a 1.6-litre L16 unit.
Road & Track was somewhat critical of the B210 in their 1975 test. They criticized the "modest performance" of the "peppy" engine, but were impressed with its 27 mpg fuel economy. B210 pricing started at US$2849 that year.
- 1974 - 1.1 L (1171 cc) OHV I4
- 1974 - 1.3 L (1288 cc) OHV I4
- 1975 - 1.4 L (1397 cc) OHV I4, 70 hp (52 kW)/75 ft.lbf (102 Nm)
The final rear-wheel-drive Sunny from 1977 to 1981 featured numerous variants, including a fastback station wagon as well as more squared-off, utilitarian ones with three and five doors, a coupé, and two- and four-door sedans. These models appeared with Datsun 120Y and 140Y badges in some markets, though Sunny was increasingly used for export, too. The B310 was known for its high equipment levels and build quality at the time. Mechanically, it used the same engines and transmissions as the B210, except that the rear suspension was updated - the live axle was now suspended using a coil spring/Panhard Rod configuration in place of the B210's archaic leaf springs. In 1980, the B310 was given a mild facelift, with a smoothed off front end and grille with square headlamps, plus the dashboard was redesigned.
The B11s were the first front-wheel-drive Sunnys—predating the same shift to front-wheel drive by their main Toyota Corolla rival—and were exported to the United States as the Nissan Sentra from the 1982 model year onwards. The B11 series was regarded as one of Nissan's most modern ranges at the time, and was the first to abandon the Datsun name formally (though a small 'Datsun' still appeared on boot lids for the first two years). The wagon was known in its home market as the Nissan Sunny California. It was launched in late 1981 and continued into 1985.
A completely unrelated vehicle, the Sunny-Vanette, was introduced in 1981. This was exported to most markets as the Datsun C20 van. It later became the Nissan Vanette.
Nissan Laurel Spirit is there with B11 series
From 1985, the B12 was not as widely exported, apart from the station wagon model. This line is characterized by its squared-off styling, which was very unfashionable in the 1980s. The angular styling was insisted upon by Nissan's design chief at the time and contributed to the automaker's increasingly poor sales of the period. A four-wheel-drive variant was introduced during this generation.
B13 and N13 series
The B13 was introduced in 1989 and retained many of the B12's ideas but in a more rounded, up-to-date body. It was particularly successful in the United States where the two-door was marketed by Nissan of America as a latter-day BMW 2002. The Sunny name was used on the N13 series (Pulsar) in Europe from 1987 and was a successful model, immensely popular with the elderly looking for a cheap and good looking vehicle, but also young outstanding individuals looking for safety and cheap maintenance.
B14 and N14 series
The B14 Sunny and Sentra appeared in 1994 and were produced till 1998, and featured four-wheel-drive variants. The N14 Pulsar was introduced in 1991 for Europe and was badged as the Sunny. It introduced the GTI-R variant which by many is thought to be the little brother of the Nissan Skyline. The N14 came in five engine variants; 1.4, 1.6 and 2.0 L petrol (GTI), Diesel 2.0 L and turbo 4WD 2.0 L. It was replaced by the Nissan Almera in 1996.
In this generation, the station wagon was supplied to Mazda under an OEM deal, as the Familia Van. The Nissan Wingroad range appeared as a spin-off of the Sunny line in Japan, denoting a highly specified station wagon, replacing the Nissan Sunny California. Both the Mazda Familia and the Nissan Wingroad had different front and rear ends compared to the wagon that was exported.
Since most of its purchasers when it was released were elderly, this car has become popular amongst young people as cheap vehicles that have had little time on the road. The GTI-R variant has become a rarity and is greatly respected and highly regarded by some as one of the best vehicles from Nissan.
The Sunny was produced until the B15 series, from 1998 to 2002. Afterwards, the Nissan Pulsar took over this market in Japan, along with the Nissan Bluebird Sylphy. In the United States, the Sentra continues with 1.8 and 2.5 litre engines, and carries on the Sunny lineage. It is highly favoured by some American tuners. In Japan, the Nissan Tiida Latio (from September 2004) is considered to have replaced the Sunny.
In Japan, the Sunny was offered with 1·3, 1·5 and 1·8 L petrol or 2·2 L diesel engines.
The Wingroad station wagon and the Mazda Familia Van (1.3, 1.5 and 1.8 L) continue to be spun off from the main Sunny range, and have not been replaced by the Tiida as of December 2004. A facelift for the Wingroad in 2002 gave it a sleek new front end, though the boxy rear was retained.
Although the N16 did not spawn a Sunny range in Japan, the N16 Nissan Bluebird Sylphy was sold as the Sunny Neo in Thailand and Sunny in Hong Kong, Kenya, Singapore and the People's Republic of China.
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