Posts Tagged ‘P10’

Test Drive: 1996 Infiniti G20 (P10)

On February 18, 2012, I test drove a 1996 Infiniti G20 at The Import Connection in Yucaipa, California. The car has a black exterior with a tan cloth interior. It has over 219,000 miles with an asking price of $2,998. The Infiniti G20 has a SR20DE engine; a 2.0 liter DOHC inline 4 that produces 140 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm and 132 lb-ft of torque @ 4,800 rpm. The transmission is a 5 speed manual with front wheel drive. The P10 chassis Infiniti G20 is known as the Nissan Primera in Japan and other parts of the world. Infiniti first released the G20 as a 1991 model just one year after the birth of the brand and its base price was close to $21,500. In 1990, Infiniti only had the M30 coupe and Q45 sedan. Most G20s I have seen had 4 speed automatics and leather seats. This model that I drove didn’t have either one. When the car was first released, Nissan bragged in their advertisements that it was the first car to have a multi-link front suspension with front wheel drive combined calling it “One of the best handling cars in the world.” In 1994, the G20 underwent some minor changes such as dual front airbags, a new grille, color-matching bumper and side moldings, clearer taillights, and chrome exterior door handles. Also introduced for the 1994 model year was the G20t for “Touring Package.” The only thing noticeable between a standard G20 and G20t is the Touring Edition has a rear spoiler. Production of the P10 G20 ended in 1996 and in 1999, the P11 chassis G20 was released. Globally, it was still known as the Nissan Primera. Production of the P11 G20 ended in 2002 because of the release of the Infiniti G35 (Skyline V35 in Japan). The Infiniti G20s are rare cars and many of the older ones aren’t worth a lot of money. I have seen many of them priced under $1,500 on the internet that are in good condition and I can likely find one that needs work for under $1,000.
I was originally going to look at a 1995 Infiniti G20 that day, but I stumbled across this listing on autotrader.com and I thought this would be a better car to drive. The ad said it was a G20t, but it wasn’t because the car had cloth seats and no rear spoiler. It was a new listing and it didn’t say what the mileage was, so I called The Import Connection to find out. After talking to the dealer by phone I drove to the lot to have a look. The G20 was sitting at the front of the dealer’s driveway. I’ve been to The Import Connection a few months before to test drive a 1996 Lexus LS400 and the salespeople were friendly and not pushy. If they are good with making fair deals then I would highly recommend them. When I arrived they gladly gave me the key and scanned my driver’s license. The car was in fair condition with some noticeable scrapes on the sides and on top of the front bumper. There were some dents on the body too, but this car has over 200,000 miles on it so it’s to be expected. The interior was slightly dirty and the upholstery did have some stains. The fabric behind the seat pouch was badly torn to the point where you can see some wood inside the front seats. When I got in the car I thought I found the hood release lever, but I was wrong. It was a plastic piece I pulled off and behind it were some wires. The lever was located under that piece. The engine was a 16 valve four cylinder and as with most engine compartments it was filthy. I then looked in the trunk where I found the driver’s floor mat. It was 14.2 cubic feet in size which is pretty big for a car its size. After having a complete look around the car I put the key in the ignition and set it to accessories. A high pitched twinkle chime came on for the seat belts. All of the windows worked, but I couldn’t roll the front passenger window up from the driver’s switch, so I had to reach over to roll it up. It had an aftermarket radio but it had no faceplate so I couldn’t use it. The A/C worked, but it wouldn’t work in the first three settings so if I needed it I’d have no choice but to use it in the fourth setting (full blast). The A/C system might need recharging, but I doubt it’s worth the cost to fix it completely. When I started the car I thought it wasn’t going to start, but it just took a few seconds for it to start. Now let’s get to the test drive.
It didn’t take too much time to get used to the clutch. At first I had to give the car extra gas and then I knew how to drive it. I turned right onto Outer Highway 10 and then made another right just down the road into a residential neighborhood. The car felt quick for a four cylinder and I was able to hit 40 mph in 2nd gear. The car had very quick braking power and sharp handling. It definitely felt like a compact sports car. I have once driven a 2009 Toyota Yaris with a five speed and it wasn’t as fun to drive compared to this. The needle for the gas gauge was at pointing at the “E”, but no low fuel light came on and I wasn’t too worried because of the car’s small motor. For having such high mileage the SR20DE was very powerful. When I drove back towards the main road I stopped at a three-way intersection and peeled back onto Outer Highway 10. I then continued to drive on some curvy roads through some hills closer to Yucaipa Blvd. The G20 is smaller than my Acura RL so the roads were easier to handle. It’s considered to be a compact car, but I’d say it’s between compact and mid-sized. When I made a right turn back on a city street I peeled out again. Sometimes it seemed like the engine wanted to work at higher rpms or it could be the way I’m driving it. Either way I loved driving this car. After the right turn I drove back to the dealership.
When I returned to the lot I told one salesman that I couldn’t take the key out of the ignition. He showed me a button near where the key went that had to be pushed in order to get the key out. I’ve never seen something like that before. I asked him if they had the faceplate for the radio and he said it should be in the office. The reason would be because some kids would test drive cars and steal their radios’ face plates. However I ended up finding it in the glove box. Also in there I found a business card from Cerritos Infiniti, and I assumed that was where the car was sold when it was brand new. There was weather stripping along the doorway on the front passenger side that was dangling down, but some super glue could easily fix that. I went inside to talk to another salesman and I asked about the price. I told him that the suggested retail value on Kelley Blue Book was around $2,400. He said that they price their vehicles based on what they paid for them at the auctions. $2,998 was too much for this car but I didn’t say anything to him. He also said that it would be about $3,300 total out the door. The car isn’t worth anywhere near that, and if I was buying it I would not want to pay anymore than $2,000 for it. Even at that price I would lose a lot of money out of the G20 when I sell it in the future. If this car was for sale through a private party it would only be worth $1,000 or less. These cars do not have high resale values. Other than the high asking price I would recommend this particular car to someone and I would definitely buy it for myself.
Overall the Infiniti G20 is not really a luxury car, but it does have the feel of a sports car. It’s not really a car that I would want to invest in when it comes to customizing. I would also get more for my money if I bought one through a private seller instead of a dealer. If you want an affordable fun car that has fairly nice styling then this would be a good car for you.
Photos taken by The Import Connection