This Nissan Sunny is a series of subcompact and compact cars produced from 1966 to 2006, and came back as an alternative model name for the Almera since 2011.
Nissan Sunny Design and Introduction
In 1966, the first Datsun Sunny was released, produced on Datsun/Nissan's new B platform, dedicated to small vehicles. The name was selected from a mail-in ballot contest, with Sunny suggested more than 3,000 times. In markets outside of Japan, it was sold as the Datsun 1000. The Datsun Sunny was available initially as two body styles, a two-door sedan and a three-door van or station wagon. The engine was a 1.0L A10 inline-4 paired to a four-speed manual transmission. It was available in two trim levels, including Standard and Deluxe. While the vehicle was nothing too extreme or awe-inspiring, it kicked off a long line of Nissan Sunny vehicles. Datsun/Nissan proved its ability to create a practical and economical car that had sufficient cargo space and offered decent drivability. It encouraged widespread sales through an affordable price tag and substantial road tax savings in the Japanese domestic market.
Second Generation Updates
The second generation Nissan Sunny came out in 1970, and now moved up to a 1.2L A12 inline-4 engine. It was sold as the Datsun 1200 in most export markets. The overall dimensions grew slightly, and now included four-door sedan and five-door wagon offerings in addition to the original two-door body styles. More advanced suspension and brakes were featured, including MacPherson struts in the front suspension and available disc brakes on select models. A Grand Luxury (GX) trim level was introduced as well, adding a twin-carbureted engine, and a later GX-5 added a fifth gear to the transmission. This model was also used in motorsports, including the Fuji 200-mile race. Sales began to expand rapidly worldwide.
Third Generation Changes
In 1973, the third generation Nissan Sunny was released. It leveraged the previous generation's popularity in the presence of the oil crisis and was able to continue to deliver an affordable, fuel-efficient option. The body styles remained varied, with anything from a small two-door hatchback up to a five-door wagon. The engine lineup also began to increase, with the smallest engine being a 1.2L A12 inline-4 and the largest a 1.6L L16T inline-4. Certain markets, such as the United States, received Nissan Sunny models that were slightly modified to meet regulations, including larger 5-mph bumpers and emissions controls.
Later Nissan Sunny Models
It was redesigned in 1977, being the last model that was sold under the Datsun brand in the Japanese domestic market. It was a more squared design, but still offered the wide variety of body styles and engine choices to meet consumer demand in the various countries the Nissan Sunny was sold in. Another update came in 1981, shifting to a front-wheel drive layout for the first time in the Nissan Sunny. It was also the first time a diesel engine, a 1.7L inline-4, was available. The hatchback body style grew in popularity. In 1985, the Nissan Sunny was updated, giving it an updated exterior look with color-matched bumpers and a more modern design. It was sold as the Sentra in select markets, while Europe saw the Sunny name used on a rebadged Nissan Pulsar.
The End of the Road for the Nissan Sunny
Sticking to the routine updates, Nissan released a new Sunny in 1990. The body styles had now been reduced to just a two-door or four-door sedan, with only three engine choices from 1.4L to 2.0L inline-4 engines. It was again updated in 1993, now limited to a four-door sedan body style and engines from 1.5L to 2.0L. In 1998, the Sunny B15 series was released. Certain markets received heavily modified versions as compared to the Japanese domestic market, but every market stuck with the four-door sedan still. The smallest engine now included a 1.3L inline-4, providing even more road tax savings in Japan. This was essentially the end of the line for the Nissan Sunny model. But the nameplate has been resurrected. Starting in 2011, it has been used to sell the Nissan Almera under the Nissan Sunny moniker in select markets including China, India, and some Middle Eastern countries.