By on November 29, 2017

Infiniti G20, Image: Wikimedia

Don’t look now, but there’s a major shortage affecting the automotive industry. Well, maybe that’s putting it a bit too strongly. There is a major shortage — but it primarily affects the automotive blogging industry, and the shortage in question is a shortage of history.

Here’s the problem in a nutshell: There are approximately one zillion car websites on the Internet, each of them trying to cook up 10 new stories a day to “increase engagement.” So how do you get those 10 stories? You can get a few of them from Automotive News and a few more from press releases, but that won’t fill the hopper all the way to the brim. To paraphrase the talking house in D.H. Lawrence’s sublime The Rocking-Horse Winner, “There must be more stories!” So you start looking for Wacky Car History Features to write. The problem is that this ground has been worn smooth by the grubby fingers of the second-tier blogger class. Everything you can think of has already been written up 10 times by drooling morons. The Mercedes 500E? The “Pasha” interior Porsches? The Mazda Cosmo? They’ve all been done to death. You’d better start looking at more esoteric stuff than that, like the Mitsuoka Viewt… oh shit, that’s been covered thirty times.

Eventually you give up and just start throwing darts at the Standard Catalog Of Imported Cars. Which brings us to Jason Torchinsky’s “Meh Car Monday” on the Infiniti G20. I think Torch is a great writer and a great person and a great dad, and to be fair the G20 piece is pretty well-balanced. The G20 has received much worse from far less talented writers; Doug DeMuro applied his genial disregard for the truth in the vague direction of the smallest Infiniti a few years back, claiming that it was just a Sentra. He was wrong, and Torch is careful to disavow that claim in his piece, but I’m a little troubled nevertheless.

Allow me to explain why the G20 was anything but “meh”, and why it’s important to remember that fact.


Let’s start with the fact that you’re not going to understand the G20 by looking at the stat sheet from a modern context. It was a 140-horse FWD sedan that weighed 2,745 pounds. In other words, it’s a 2017 Civic LX with a clogged air filter. And yeah, it looks awfully generic nowadays, just a three-box shape given some light sanding and a Kamm tail to go with its econocar face and flat surfaces.

Apply a little historical perspective, however, and things change. The mighty 5.0 Mustang of the era had 225 horsepower, so this was a solid two-thirds of that. Imagine a modern sedan with 295 horses and a stick shift. Now we’re getting somewhere. Then imagine a complicated multi-link front suspension that eliminated virtually all of the traditional FWD handling miseries paired with a simple but effective independent rear setup. It was a more sophisticated and costly arrangement than what you got in a BMW back then — or now, come to think of it. The G20’s suspension design would be an upgrade on the vast majority of modern cars.

The original G20 was a true joy to drive. Ask my brother; he had one as his college-years whip. Nissan sweated the details on the car because it was meant to compete heads-up with the Germans in the Euro market. Built in Japan to exacting tolerances, the G20 was probably the most bulletproof and long-lasting Nissan product of the Nineties — besides the trucks, of course. It was a special car and there was nothing “meh” about it. Go drive a BMW 318is in stock 1991 form, then drive an Infiniti G20, and tell me that you wouldn’t rather have the soapbar sedan from the funny-looking dealership with the misspelled name.

Admittedly, the story got worse as the years went on. The G20 got heavier without adding power. It acquired an odd-looking grille that resembled a molester mustache rendered in show chrome. And the price started to reflect the change in the yen/dollar ratio in a way that was guaranteed to kill any remaining showroom traffic. But we don’t judge Michael Jordan from his time with the Washington Wizards and we shouldn’t judge the G20 based on the final models.

I can see your eyes glazing over, so I’ll stop talking about the G20. The important thing is that you realize just how far from “meh” the car was. And it’s also important that you realize what a disservice we do to any historic, vintage, or just plain used car by looking at it from a disconnected modern context. The ’63 Chevy? Why, it was just a square body on an antiquated frame design! The Ferrari 308GTB? A sloppily-built sled that couldn’t beat an Corolla XSi through the quarter-mile! The ’84 Corvette? Have I got two words for you, buddy: PANEL GAPS!

It’s easy to see how quickly some recently-departed modern cars will get the blogger’s once-over. The Tesla Model S? Old battery tech with a fake grille! The Ferrari 458 Speciale? Didn’t even break into the 600-hp club! The Chevy SS? HELLO BORING CAR WITH BARELY ANY MORE POWER THAN A BENZ E43! It will happen faster and faster as the need to come up with 10 stories a day forces writers to mine ever-more-recent seams of history. In the long run, we’ll basically be in a Remembrances Of Love With Wilt Chamberlain situation. Hey, remember the Lincoln Nautilus? It seems like we first heard about it just last week — but it’s ripe for a retrospective piece followed by a takedown, an ironic reappraisal, and a sincere revival of appreciation!

Forget that old adage about “he who controls the past controls the present”… it’s more like he who needs to write about the past will eventually be forced to write about the present, and pronto!

[Image: Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)]

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78 Comments on “As Falls the G20, So Falls the Chevrolet SS...”


  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Wasn’t it to the effect of “Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.”?

    • 0 avatar
      Rick T.

      Or:

      The future is uncertain; it’s only the past that’s unpredictable.

    • 0 avatar
      MoDo

      I had a 1992 Infiniti G20 in 2007 when in college. Bought off ebay for $700. 305,000 kms, bald tires, floppy suspension, cracked windshield, no heat (later fixed), windshield wiper mechanism would come apart randomly when using the wipers. Loud rusted exhaust, rotted rocker panels and rear floor pans. Car shifted perfectly and its SR20 engine didnt use a drip of oil between changes.

      Drove that ugly SOB for nearly 2 years until backing out of the driveway through a snowbank ripped the exhaust in half. That was it. You can drive a POS, but not a POS with no exhaust!

      Believe it or not I sold it for $350 to a kid that was going to fix it and do an SR20DET swap but years later I checked the VIN and it was still in my name, I assume the only swap it did was into a pop can.

  • avatar

    Stay tuned for more crapboxes via Rare Rides, here at TTAC.

  • avatar

    PS the G20 looked much better in other colors (darker), with color-key rub strips and with later wheel designs. Specifically I recall one in navy with gold badges.

    I still like that design today.

  • avatar
    gtem

    Thank you for righting that wrong, Jack. Jalopnik’s Meh car Monday” series is a flaming bag of dog poo from any perspective. As are most of their stories, aside from the one non-staff contributor that does really thorough refurbishments of older used cars (300ZX Turbo, Cummins Ram, etc). And yet I keep coming back to their site for some reason, I guess like rubbernecking an accident on the highway. The SJW RV hate-rant from yesterday was a gem as well.

    • 0 avatar
      silentsod

      I read David Tracy’s adventures with Jeeps and his junkyard part disassemblies over there. I stopped reading Torchinsky’s stuff because he got into a rut with endless dumb car ideas and I didn’t care for them.

      Who’s the non-staff dude doing the refurbs?

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        Oh yeah Tracey is legit. As a fellow offroading enthusiast who deals with rusty old heaps, there’s a lot of overlap there.

        Peter Monshizadeh

        jalopnik.com/how-to-make-an-old-dodge-ram-as-good-as-its-cummins-die-1820720583

        His refurbishments are soothing to the OCD soul in me lol

    • 0 avatar
      DevilsRotary86

      Personally, I prefer Jalopnik over TTAC. Not that either is bad, but I like Jalopnik’s whimsy. TTAC has always taken itself too seriously and can feel stuffy. Most of the stuff is OK to good, and I think they are generally on point for most of their “Meh Car Monday” articles; boring and forgotten cars that weren’t bad but didn’t excel either. Their only misses I can remember were this G20 and the Buick Lucerne. Even those weren’t big misses. Both the G20 and Lucerne were nice enough cars with some endearing traits to them. Yet the buying public largely didn’t care and both are now forgotten by all but us crazy enthusiasts.

      But yeah, the RV article was off the rails. I personally have little respect for Mr Shilling’s writing. He seems to be the Gizmodo Media mandated resident leftist for Jalopnik.

      • 0 avatar
        zamoti

        Blasphemer!

        Kidding, I think Jalopnik has a place but it’s a little more like Reddit with cars. Dank memes, animated GIFs and all that fun.
        What I think that Jalopnik has gotten right that TTAC could stand to try is taking some of the long-form personal interest pieces. The cars are always interesting, but the stories that come from the folks behind the wheel are more meaningful to me. The story about that fellow and his insane BMW collection that ruined his life was fascinating. Pieces where someone’s project highlighted are interesting, great if they build it and succeed, also interesting if it’s an absolute failure.
        TTAC tends to take a more consumer-oriented approach where Jalopnik is geared toward the DIY crowd (of course ironic that I call TTAC consumer oriented given that every other article on Jalopnik is pushing deals for Anker junk on Amazon).

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          ” where Jalopnik is geared toward the DIY crowd”

          I just wish more Jalopnik writers were actually half decent with a wrench (or at least willing to pick one up). Seems over there the pattern is to pick up some crusty old project car to write a story about, and then either let it collect dust or farm out all the work to a shop and write about it. Totally lame. Like I said there are shining exceptions to that rule that keep me coming back there.

          This is a prime example of what I’m talking about:
          thegarage.jalopnik.com/heres-what-it-really-costs-to-spend-a-year-fixing-up-a-1797204190

          If you can’t be bothered to learn how to change some valve cover gaskets on an old carb’d V8, you shouldn’t write for a car website called “Jalopnik.”

        • 0 avatar
          DevilsRotary86

          I think Jalopnik is somewhat more professional than a reddit group. I am showing my age here and how I still think in terms of print publications, but I would say Jalopnik is more like the MAD Magazine of cars.

          • 0 avatar
            zamoti

            You’re probably right, I’m just speaking more to the culture of those who comment.

            However, reddit.com/r/justrolledintotheshop is still pretty good (unless you’ve been lurking there a long time and have seen too many tires with wrenches through them and dirty car outrage).

    • 0 avatar
      Thomas Kreutzer

      Not really a response to gtem, but this particular part of the discussion seems an appropriate place to post. There are several things raised in preceding comments that I’d like to touch upon.

      First, back in the day, TTAC used to have a great many long-form articles. There was something for everyone – car spotting, the aforementioned “history” pieces, how-to articles, articles (and comments) from industry insiders, the occasional bawdy story and a great many opinion pieces. An author could write almost anything and they would publish it. Right or wrong, the readership would take that ball and run with it in the comments. The discussion would go back and forth, beat near to death before the next article dropped and the discussion moved elsewhere. It was why this site was, once upon a time, a “must read.” It was so much fun to be a part of. I miss those days.

      For whatever reason, the site got more serious a few years ago. I’m not really sure why, maybe it was an editorial decision to calm things down or maybe it’s simply the nature of the over-politicized and over sensitive times we live in. Members were banned – sure some of them were shrill and annoying at times, but in the old days we simply regarded those people as an odd, possibly disabled, branch of our family tree, not as trolls to be exorcised. Then other “offensive” things were banned, politics or anything even close to being controversial somehow became offensive. Without controversy, (or as I like to think of it “the free and open exchange of ideas”) the discussion died. What we are left with is, I think, a hollowed out shell of a site – even awesome articles seldom break the 100 comment mark any more! That’s tragic. The magic, it seems to me, is gone.

      And don’t even get me started about Jalopnik, Sure, there are some great articles that pop up there but generally they are few and far between. I feel like I have to sift through a ton of cow pies to find a few kernels of corn worth keeping. Then, when I do find something, thanks to their crappy kinja commenting system that I can’t make heads or tails out of, I can’t even get involved in the discussion.

      TLDR is that we need to make TTAC great again. Maybe bring back the shibari bondage or something. I want my community back. I miss you guys.

      • 0 avatar
        bam210135

        Do you mean articles like the ones you used to write? I was just thinking about that the other day. TTAC would benefit from hearing from you again. I’d bet that a lot of the b&b share my sentiments. Always a must read for me when your name was on the by-line.

        • 0 avatar
          scottcom36

          Me too. I was just wondering today what you were up to, Tom.

          • 0 avatar
            Thomas Kreutzer

            Scottcom, Bam and any others too shy to drop put it into writing, thank you for your thoughts and kind words. I did write stories like that, but I wasn’t the only one. There was an entire stable of talent on TTAC in those days that has since gone missing.

            Jack and Derek deserve a lot of credit for resetting the site after Bertel Schmidt’s sudden exit. They just threw it to the writers in an email that basically said, “Given all the drama new readers will come in droves. It is an unprecedented opportunity to have your work seen by a huge audience. Give us your best stuff.”

            And the competition was just fantastic! Every writer constantly competed with others – I remember Mental Ward commenting that he hated writing on the same site as me, and I felt absolutely the same. No matter what you did or how you wove a phrase, the next day someone would better it. I learned so much about writing.

            Then some changes came and suddenly they weren’t accepting “random contributions” anymore. You had to pitch stories and get prior approval. Then, everything you wrote got edited, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. It stopped being fun and started being a job. Great. I had a job already, TTAC was just a fun side-gig. When the fun stopped, my interest sort of dried up and, at this point, I’m not sure it will ever fully come back.

            Look, I don’t want to be a bitchy old man (because that’s where this is going) so enough for now…

      • 0 avatar
        True_Blue

        “we need to make TTAC great again.”

        Perhaps it’s time to dust off your keyboard then! One could only hope!

        • 0 avatar

          Well according to what he said, TTAC has to be in a great position already before he’ll want to write here.

          • 0 avatar
            Thomas Kreutzer

            Just for my own edification, can you walk me through the thought process you used to arrive at that conclusion via anything I have written above?

          • 0 avatar

            You said as the site became what it is presently, that it was no longer fun for you. So then you decided it wasn’t worth writing here anymore.

            “It stopped being fun and started being a job. Great. I had a job already, TTAC was just a fun side-gig. When the fun stopped, my interest sort of dried up and, at this point, I’m not sure it will ever fully come back.”

            Thus it would have to return to the glory it had before, before your interest would return to writing.

          • 0 avatar
            Thomas Kreutzer

            Ah, I see, thanks. “When the fun stopped, my interest sort of dried up and, at this point, I’m not sure it will ever fully come back.” What I mean here is: “The fun went away and my interest dried up. I’m not sure if my interest in writing will come back.”

            And that means everywhere. Since I left TTAC I’ve posted a few things on other sites, and I probably still could if I wanted to but the truth is that my heart just isn’t in it anymore.

            I’m not looking to stage any sort of come back, I’m just lamenting the loss of what we had.

          • 0 avatar

            That makes sense. It’s unfortunate as well – I especially enjoyed your Japan adventures articles.

        • 0 avatar
          Thomas Kreutzer

          You omitted the part where I suggested we bring back shibari bondage. That’s where that train of thought was really headed…

  • avatar
    ajla

    Personally, I’d rather read a retrospective on a car from the past than the ten thousandth thing about “look at this new turbo 4 CUV!!” or “In a two decades everything will be a plug in autonomous pod owned by UBERAPPLETESLA!!”

    Hopefully Torch is open for a discussion on his choices and doesn’t resort to Niedermeyer-style hammering when people call him out on his more questionable declarations.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Apply a little historical perspective, however, and things change. The mighty 5.0 Mustang of the era had 225 horsepower, so this was a solid two-thirds of that.

    And a 5.2 ltr V8 Dakota of the time period had more torque than the Mustang.

  • avatar
    Null Set

    This is so right on! I loved the G20. I love pert, compact sedans that aren’t just econoboxes. But they don’t exist anymore.

    Also, props to the J30. Beautiful, if divergent, styling, and these things are simply *unkillable* I see this thirty year old model everywhere, and these aren’t restored models, just well cared for.

    Nissan was really at a creative peak in the late 80’s. Sad to see the bloated crap they’re selling now. Sic transit gloria…

  • avatar
    Syke

    Remember the G20 well, my sister’s first “upscale yuppie car”. Loved the way it drove, handled and felt. And I was driving an E30 325is at the time.

    She offered it to me at trade-in time. The only thing that stopped me from buying it was the automatic transmission.

    • 0 avatar
      KalapanaBlack7G

      As a former 1995 G20 auto owner, good call. I loved that car, but it certainly wasn’t because of the power. It had enough to move. The chassis was entertaining (especially on wet and snowy roads-a very tail happy FWD car), but the magic of the Touring manual, with the trick transaxle and ability to control the power directly and in a well suited manner was absent. It became just a very reliable, cheap, well made, poorly rust proofed commuter car that never let me down. Definitely would not consider the auto version fun to drive.

      But, I do remember that car fondly for a million other reasons.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    Yup the G20 was one of Nissan’s greatest hits. The one to have was the G20t, no the t didn’t stand for turbo, presumably it meant touring. That got you a different transaxle with a limited slip diff, a spoiler, fog lights and the oh so 80’s loop style headrests.

    I put together one many years ago. One of my wife’s co-workers had a G20t that she passed on to her son. He managed to roll it one snowy night just a few blocks from their house. They drug it home stuck it in the garage and went out and bought a plain G20. It had an injector fail as they do and the shop they took it to didn’t know what they were doing. They removed the bucket style injector and when you do that with the fuel rail in place all the fuel in the rail goes down the intake of that cylinder. They put it back together, spun it over and hydrolocked that cylinder, bending the rod.

    So I picked them up as a package deal for cheap. Unfortunately when I got the T home I found out its engine smoked pretty bad. Put it on the back burner for a while then happened to come across an automatic equipped version that had been hit hard in the rear for $200. So the car was put together with the t’s limited slip transaxle and half shafts and the automatic’s engine. I then sold a bunch of the left over parts and of course the two shells as scrap. All told I think I had $500 into the car and probably 25 hours. Hooned it for a year as our cheap to fuel family runabout and then sold it for good money. I still have some of the extra remotes, a set of wheels and the black leather t seats.

    • 0 avatar
      MRF 95 T-Bird

      I have a neighbor who owns a second generation G20t in pewter with the wing, sport seats and fogs.
      Granted it’s based on the Just above a Sentra, Primera which was not sold here but the touring version is not so meh.
      I always had the impression that Infiniti introduced these into the US market to compete with the entry sport Acura Integra sedan/hatch.

  • avatar
    Jean-Pierre Sarti

    modern car designers please take note: those weird things you can see through are called Big Beautiful Windows and it is ok to put them on a car.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I almost bought a used G20 years ago (it was a nice shade of forest green), but discovered it was priced low due to end-of-life rust and was mechanically original (meaning unmaintained). Ended up getting a used Hyundai Elantra instead.

  • avatar
    DevilsRotary86

    So I wrote this comment on the Jalopnik article, and it applies here. Some years ago I had a friend who owned a 2nd generation Infiniti G20. He swore up and down it was a smarter buy than a non-GSR Integra (that is, RS or LS trims). When I thought on it objectively, I couldn’t refute him.

  • avatar

    These were prized for their limited slip differentials – a feature absent from most cars then and many cars now.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I concur – this was a pretty terrific car.

    The Nissan Sentra SE-R – which I believe shared this car’s engine – was another winner.

    And the “4DSC” Maxima…and the “hardbody” pickup…and the 300ZX…

    Ah, Nissan…what happened to you?

  • avatar
    danio3834

    “It’s easy to see how quickly some recently-departed modern cars will get the blogger’s once-over. The Tesla Model S? Old battery tech with a fake grille! The Ferrari 458 Speciale? Didn’t even break into the 600-hp club! The Chevy SS? HELLO BORING CAR WITH BARELY ANY MORE POWER THAN A BENZ E43! It will happen faster and faster as the need to come up with 10 stories a day forces writers to mine ever-more-recent seams of history.”

    Consequently, the readership of said digital rags will parrot these once-overs in the comment sections all over the internet, treated as gospel. It will happen faster as the need to come up with 10 comments a day forces them to search for new factoids to spout in order to seem knowledgeable about the subject at hand.

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    I’ve always liked them, back in early 2000s a JDM turbo 4cyl swap was the business. It’s subsequent G name was given to one of my favorite previous cars, the G37. I guess the J series was the true progenitor of this model .

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    G20 is to the 90s as a 1G TSX is to the 00s; a solid 4cyl sedan that gets the fundamentals really right, and loses the plot in gen 2.

    • 0 avatar
      KOKing

      This is spot on. Unfortunately, the family friend in the car biz was at Mitsubishi and no longer at Nissan at the time, so I ended up with a Galant GS (rare, yet garbage; let’s see TTAC, Jalop or anyone else cover THAT obscure corner of DSM history) instead of a G20 in 94. The 2nd gen P11 gained size, weight and lost zing in the drivetrain, much like the TSX to follow a decade later.

      • 0 avatar
        KalapanaBlack7G

        My 1995 G20 replaced the car my name comes from – a 1996 Galant ES. I am very familiar with the GS, and even added the brushed metal tail pipe garnishes from a GS to my car (bought them from a Galant forum guy who had a heavily modded GS with aftermarket exhaust). Always wanted the ‘bump’ hood… Mine had the oddball 4-spoke VR-4 style wheels that came with the glass fog lights and blacked out window trim they added to the ES as a package after the GS wrapped production.

        Always wondered what 160 hp and a 5 speed would have made that car… I got the 141 hp standard engine and mandatory fuzzy logic auto w/ phallic shifter. Meh.

  • avatar
    Tinn-Can

    I remember taking a field trip out to the parking lot when my recently graduated 4th grade teacher bought one of these… She was pretty excited about it.

  • avatar
    gltff

    I owned a G20 and mine was a great car- no problems.

  • avatar

    These certainly seemed to be more appreciated Stateside than in the UK. The Nissan Primera, as it was to us, scored pretty highly when it first arrived in 1990 – a quantum leap forwards from the stone-age Bluebird that went before, a the popular Ford Sierra was pretty archaic – but the gloss didn’t last for long.

    The buff books held it at pretty much the top of its class for a while, better than a Toyota Carina and at least on a par with the Peugeot 405. But it was soon forgotten. The Ford Mondeo was launched in ’92 and Autocar crowed “Ford’s new family car hero barely puts a foot wrong”. The Citroen Xantia came next, and then the Peugeot 406.

    By ’94 or so, the Primera was very much an also-ran. Sure, it handled well, but not significantly better than its rivals, all of which had more design elan. Today, rare, sporty “eGT” aside, nobody really cares.

    • 0 avatar
      KalapanaBlack7G

      It’s funny what happens in the mid-Atlantic to car thinking. The G20 was one of the best kept secrets available to an early-90s yuppy, and in spite of its handling (which was competitive), the Contour was luke-warmly received even at launch. In the decades since, the Contour/Mystique has been almost forgotten aside from slight embarrassment, and the G20 is revered by some and forgotten entirely by others.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    I’m sure it was a blast to drive, but we’re talking maybe 1/4 the power of the 5.0 Mustang, seriously. Raw hp figures can deceive the unfamiliar. The 5.0 put out 300 torques fresh out the box, plus simple boltons had a real dramatic effect. I think leaving them bone stock was a criminal offense.

    The 5.0’s power hit early from a dig and stayed kinda late. If you’re going back in time I’d say skip the Sentra on acid, and get the LX “notch” 5.0 plus maybe 3.73 gears for the rear (stock gears blatantly sandbagged it) and you’ll have a way better time. But what do I know?

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      Nailed it. What made the Fox body 5.0’s so special was the fact you could make (for the time) some serious speed and decent ET’s at the track for not a whole lot of cash.

      I grew up in NJ where pretty much everyone had a 5.0, including myself, so there was a shop on every corner doing the same bolt ons: under drive pulleys, flow master 40’s or Super 44’s if you were brave and already hard of hearing, either 3.73 or 4.11 gears, short throw shifter, & shorty headers all of which woke the 302 up. The guys with real money were bolting on Paxton superchargers and what not.

      The Jeep/4×4 shop on almost every corner here in CO are the NJ version of the 5.0/Iroc shop from the 80’s and early 90’s.

  • avatar
    Speedygreg7

    I think a big distinction must be made between the first and second generation G20. I have no experience with the first G20, but the spec sheet tells me it was vastly superior to the second. Jack’s experience seems to be with the first only.

    I am currently driving a final year 2002 G20 automatic inherited from my father. He loved the car for reasons I cannot understand, but because he loved it I will likely keep it until it stops or rots. It is most definitely a “meh” car (to be kind). You must remember that the second G20 appeared at Nissan’s low point with the decontenting that lead to non-independent beam suspensions in the Maxima and G20. It’s a noisy suspension. The most glaring flaws are incredible wind noise and a positively massive turning radius. It is something like 43′ in a car this small. The BOSE radio is awful with a sound that seems distant, the fuel tank is very small and the car is underpowered with more than two people in it.

    I will say that the build quality is exemplary, with no squeaks or rattles in 15+ years and 100,00 plus miles.

    Even in the context of its time, the second G20 was unimpressive and a better Altima was available from Nissan at the same time for the same or less money.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      “It’s a noisy suspension”

      Check the rear trailing arm bushings, they probably leaked out their hydraulic damping fluid a long time ago. My ’00 Maxima had the same issue. No real way to solve it short of buying a new OEM rear beam assembly, either that or sticking in polyurethane aftermarket replacements (stiffer ride results).

    • 0 avatar
      KalapanaBlack7G

      The first generation was an engineer’s car, except for the nasty, mismatched automatic (which, of course, had a high take rate in the US). The second gen, despite being a bit more mature looking and having competitive features, was a cynical rehash with cheaper mechanicals and more gingerbread.

      I remember reading that Infiniti marketing did what many other companies did in the 90s and created a fictitious upwardly mobile female 20-something with a name, a dog, an urban apartment, a non-live-in boyfriend, and an active nightlife as an advertising archetype for the second generation car.

  • avatar
    Maymar

    On the other hand, the G20 was priced about 50% more expensive than a contemporary Sentra SE-R – was it a 50% superior car? Compared to some of its Honda equivalents, it never got a hipo variant that showed they were aiming for anything greater. And if the variants I can find in the classified (mostly 2nd gen at this point) are anything to go off of, the interior looks pretty typical Nissan (fine, but kind of nasty as it ages). Sure, a good car, but one that never aspired for greatness. I feel dirty for clicking through to an (ex-)Gawker site, but that doesn’t sound that far off Torchinsky’s description, and settling for good seems pretty earning of ‘meh’.

    But then again, knee-jerk reactions are probably a reasonable reaction to (ex-)Gawker clickbait headlines.

  • avatar
    sgtjmack

    I guess “meh” is in the eye of the beholder, or in this case, the seat of the pants of the driver. We all have our own opinion of the cars of yesterday, and even today. The good thing about all of the countless articles or videos is that if you don’t like what they said about a certain car, then you can read through countless others and find one that is more in line with your outlook.

  • avatar
    JD-Shifty

    The people who criticize the SS can’t afford one.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    I owned two ’91 318is 9and would love to have another one), and have driven one of these. I vote Meh on the Nissan with delusions of adequacy – if you needed FWD a Saab was FAR more interesting. The e30 M3’s baby brother is a car that is far more than the sum of its parts, or its spec sheet. And today a 318is in nice condition is worth bank – my second one is a car I deeply regret ever selling.

    I find Jalopnic highly entertaining, mostly because the average age there is about 25 years younger than I am. Kids these days (said every almost 50yo ever). TTAC has always been a little odd, being a car website full of people who don’t actually seem to like cars all that much. or like the blandest of the bland, like this Datsun, or Dog forbid, Panthers.

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      Nah, people on TTAC like cars, just not the ones you like and want to tell you about why you have small you know what cause you drive a pick up. It does get tiresome. Perhaps I need to go back to Jalopnik and spend some time looking around.

  • avatar
    scott25

    Always loved the G20, and would love to buy one, it’s just not old or interesting enough to qualify as “classic” and take to car shows. One of the great Japanese 90’s sedan designs along with the ES and late-90’s Galant.

    It’s also about the only 90’s Infiniti product other than the QX4 (another fantastic 90’s design) I still see on the roads. Can’t remember the last time I saw a Q or I, and only rarely see Js.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      QX4s and I35s are still thick on the ground here in Indy, but rust is taking many off the road. This era of Nissan seems particularly prone to corrosion, and not just in cosmetic ways. R50 Pathfinders/QX4s are known for strut tower failure up front, and the Maxima/I35s get rusty lower core supports right where the front engine cradle/mount is bolted on.

  • avatar
    hpycamper

    Shouldn’t that be “drooling mooks”?

  • avatar
    threeer

    Yes, but what about all of it’s unusual quirks and features?? LOL…

    Seriously, always rather liked the first gen G20. Maybe because it was related (somewhat) the 1991 Sentra SE-R I owned, and loved. One of the few cars to cross my driveway that I wish I had kept. Nissan seemed on decent roll back in the day.

  • avatar
    Zykotec

    No, I think the G20 was ‘meh’.
    Yes, it may have been fast and chuckable, but so was a Civic. A friend of mines parents had a 92 Primera which he used as his first car, and even if it felt a tad more pricier than an Accord 2.0 , it was still not like an actual German car. It may have been a decent contender to a BMW E30 318 (with its 1968 Datsun Bluebird 510 design) but then the 318 i wasn’t exactly a top tier BMW. And by 1990 the E30 was ooold.
    Thanks to the miracle of RWD ,unlike the Nissan there are still E30’s on the roads today. But they are no longer cheap…

    What really kills the G20 (and I know I’ve said it before) is that the 2.0i Accords of 1990 wasn’t top of the line either. Even if all Accords already looked and handled better and was slightly larger, the top of the line 2.2i also had a better interior and was faster than the Primera/G20.
    But, off course, Honda wasn’t a ‘premium brand’…

    (Not sure if there were any huge differences between the Japanese that we got over here, andthe American versions of these cars which would totally make my opinion void.)

  • avatar

    Back around 2012 I got tired of contorting myself to get my 2-year-old daughter into the back of my ’96 200SX SE-R. At 36 years old it was finally time for my first 4-door DD. I searched in vain for a good-condition G20t with a manual for sale in the VA/NC/SC region. I never even got to drive one. After a couple months I settled on a 2005 Sentra SE-R Spec V, which was a fine car with good power, but cursed with torque steer and a clunky, very un-Nissan-like manual shifter. The Spec V is long gone, but if I’d managed to score a G20 I suspect I’d still have it.

  • avatar

    https://cincinnati.craigslist.org/cto/d/2002-infinity-g20-only-95/6363283331.html

    Extra super clean final year G20, with 95k miles.

  • avatar
    supra21v

    Loved my G20t, my wife and I put 200k miles on one with only minor repairs: tires, brakes, oil changes, maybe an alternator… One of the best cars we’ve owned. She hit a deer and only put a golf size dent in the hood. We were rear ended by an 80s chevy truck and only scuffed our bumper. The chevy needed a new grill and headlights.

    We called our G20 THE TANK.


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