1987 Nissan Sunny SLX Coupe 1.6 petrol from UK and Ireland


Excellent banger


The central locking did not work when I bought it and still doesn't, but I won't spend any money getting this fixed as the car only has two doors.

The no charge warning light comes on at low engine RPM. I think this is related to the next problem - I got in the car one afternoon and there was a total power failure with not even the warning lights coming on. I have had this problem before with other cars - the leads connected to the battery terminals were loose. The screws on the terminals were corroded so I temporarily fixed this by giving the connections a couple of bashes with a large spanner. After that, power was restored and the no charge light didn't come on for a while.

The drive shafts clonk loudly when approaching full lock at low speeds. Hopefully they won't decide to separate themselves from the rest of the drive train anytime soon.

When trying to maintain a constant speed at part throttle the engine 'snatches' as if it were misfiring. The problem goes away when more throttle is applied - the engine then pulls smoothly.

The car 'wanders' at high (70 MPH+) speeds on the motorway. Since I doubt anything significant has been replaced on the car, this could be down to worn shocks or steering joints. I'm not going to spend any money to fix this either, so the answer to this is to not go above 70.

The front brakes need relining and the timing needs adjusting, but these are routine maintenance items.

General Comments:

I bought this car for 180 pounds as a stop gap until I can afford something newer. I think all of the problems it has are as a result of neglect from previous owners.

I had one of these before, which was had been much better looked after. These cars have good acceleration due to reasonable engine power and light weight, and will reach 120 MPH.

The car has a low profile, low centre of gravity and short wheelbase, which means that the handling is excellent with very responsive steering. While I wouldn't dare test the limits of my present Sunny coupe due to the condition it's in, I had a blast with the previous one on twisty back roads. The steering provides lots of feedback and you know how much grip you have left. That, combined with the revvy nature of the engine makes the car feel like a mini racer.

The gearbox is still good with no crunching when changing gear. The throw of the gear lever is short and the gear change has a precise feel to it.

In terms of comfort, they are not very good. Both Sunny coupes I have had have been very noisy at anything above 50 MPH. If you want to cruise at around 80 MPH then think about wearing earplugs. It's that noisy - you certainly won't be able to hear the stereo very well or hold a conversation without shouting. Space in the back is minimal and only suitable for children on a run.

My TPFT insurance cost me over double what I paid for the car (London address, 31 years old, 5 years NCD). Insurers don't seem to like these cars.

Overall, this car was a great banger buy. While I'll definitely be buying something better (probably a Primera) when I can, it'll do until then or until something major goes wrong with it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 27th July, 2003

29th Oct 2005, 12:44

I recently had a test drive of a 1988 Nissan Sunny Coupe with a 1.6 litre engine and to be honest, it was the most exhilarating drive of my life.

It made my 1999 Volvo V40 feel like a mere toy!

The acceleration is absolutely breath taking, and although it has manual steering, it is very light and responsive to handle.

The low centre of gravity and wide wheel base really add to the whole experience of driving one of these beauties.

I achieved a top speed of 119mph on the M6 southbound! Even at this speed it still holds the road like a miser holding on to his money!

Overall, the Nissan Sunny Coupe, despite the general age of this model, definitely gives any CLK Kompressor, 3 Series, TT Quattro, or Boxster a gruelling run for it's money!

Fantastically superb! Buy one...! Now!

21st Feb 2008, 11:44

My first car was a 1987 SLX 1.6 coupe and I ran it for 7 years and sold it with 127,000 on the clock and it still ran like a new car.

I did almost zero maintainance during that time and it was faultlessly reliable.

I have since owned another 3 and all have been brilliant.

I have just bought another one which was new in 1989 and has 63,000 on the clock. It feels like an old comfortable pair of shoes. It has to be the best gearbox ever. In fact I had one serviced just before setting off on holiday and the stupid mechanic forgot to put any oil in the gearbox. It did 3000 miles round Europe before the gearbox packed in. YES, NO OIL!!

The only thing to note is that clutch life is approximately 75,000 miles which ain't bad and occasionally the fuel gauge and temp gauge fail which mean dismantling the dashboard.

The handling is brilliant and fuel economy is excellent.

I honestly believe these are among the best cars ever made.

1987 Nissan Sunny LX 1.3 from UK and Ireland


For a mid range priced car in its day it was a bargain


In january of 1999, I had the clutch changed. I also changed the crankshaft seal this year due to leaking oil.

General Comments:

For a 15 year old car it drives and looks every bit as good as a new car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 18th May, 2002

18th May 2002, 23:26

I fully agree mate. I am English and now reside in Texas. I have the USA equivalent. Basically a 1984 Sunny Estate. They call it a Nissan Sentra wagon here! I have done 5,000 miles in it in two months, and it's never broken down. Had to have a new distributor though, as the electronics pack in the distributor kept getting too warm; a design fault.

Excellent vehicles. My car has zero rust, as it has been in Texas all its life.

15th Jun 2002, 05:13

I must agree very nice car, only two faults I found was the boot was a poor design as bars stopped you loading your luggage in it, second it is a shame they never made it in a diesel, if they had I would go buy another nissan sunny today.