The Nissan Figaro was introduced and designed at the 1989 Tokyo Motor Show with the marketing tag ‘’Back to the Future’’. The car finally broke cover to the world as a limited edition luxury car in the year 1991. Pre-sale demand for the retro-classic in Japan was so high it forced Nissan to sell the car through a lottery system.
The Figaro is a two-door roadster, with a turbocharged engine and manufactured as a fixed profile convertible. Since then the car has become more of a modern-day classic with the looks of a car from the 1950s yet equipped with all the modern-day luxuries.
The team at JDMbuysell has created a very detailed buyers guide for potential customers who are genuinely interested in buying the Nissan Figaro. The guide is prepared after doing extensive research, going through the owner’s reviews and many high authority automotive resources to provide as much information as possible.
Pros and Cons
- Limited edition classic
- Crowd turner and great for city driving
- Good reliability & shared parts with the Nissan Pao platform
- Luxurious interior
- Comfortable ride
- No Manual transmission variant
- Only 3 Speed automatic transmission
- Not good for long-distance driving
- Difficult to buy one
- Still expensive compared to main competitors
The Figaro is almost 30 years old now, so it is natural that some of the issues with these cars will be mostly down to age rather than the manufacturing quality.
One of the most common and the biggest issue with the Nissan Figaro is the rusting of paint and body around the wheel arches area. This mostly happens with the car, which has not been taken care of during the 30 years of running. You can easily cure the rust problem and prevent it from spreading any further. In case if the rust has damaged a large portion of the chassis, then the cost of repair will outweigh the value of the car.
Another issue you can face with this car is the leaky roof during the rain. Figaro’s soft-top cover is a wet boot design, which means the water accumulates on the surface and channels through the drainpipes. Lack of maintenance and blocked drains can cause the water to leak from the roof and into the cabin.
The reliability of the Figaro is good as most of the cars made by Nissan keep on running for a long time and do not break down that often. Some mechanical and engine issues will arise from time to time providing you keep the car regularly checked and maintained by a professional mechanic. The reality is that this car is now a classic and is nearly 30 years old.
In the year 1991, the original price of the launch car was close to 31,500 USD (Exchange Rate & Inflation Adjusted). Even now if you are looking for a collector example in mint condition and with low mileage, you should expect to pay more than the price of the original car.
There is quite a gap between the cheapest and the most expensive Figaro. The cheapest examples can be seen for $5k USD (still in Japan, requiring import) and the most expensive examples, as of the writing of this guide, are up to $35k USD.
When it comes to classic cars, the car with the lowest mileage tends to go for a very high price. In theory, the more expensive you buy the better you will enjoy it driving and it will be worth every penny.
There is a number of other cars manufactured by automakers around the world, which fall in the same category as the Nissan Figaro.
The cars listed above will give you an idea of the models made by different competitors so that you can make a better decision when buying the Nissan Figaro.
Models and Specifications
1991-1992 Nissan Figaro
The Figaro is based on the Nissan Micra K10 platform. The car was made at the Aichi Machine Industry which later was renamed the ‘’Pike Factory’’ because it also manufactured the three other cars in the same Niche namely Be-1, Pao and S-Cargo.
The car is equipped with a 1.0-litre (987 ccs) turbocharged engine with a compression ratio of 8:1. The engine is capable of producing 75 hp (56 kW) with a torque of 78 lb-ft. (106 N.m) powerful enough for a top speed of 106 mph (170.59km/h). The three-speed automatic transmission will make your daily driving very comfortable.
Some of the mechanical features of the car include a front McPherson struts suspension, rear four-link coil spring suspension, rack and pinion steering, front ventilated disc and rear drum brakes. The front fenders of the car are made of a very light and durable thermoplastic resin to save weight. Reducing weight will make you go faster.
The interior is fitted with all the luxuries you can expect in any modern car. The seats are made of leather with contrasting piping, CD player, air condition, chrome and backlit styled knobs, manual climate control, chrome-trimmed speedometer and a tachometer with an inset clock. Small inset gauges of fuel and temperature along with heated rear defrosting glass. The Figaro is available in four different colours each portraying the four Japanese seasons in a year. They are Emerald Green (spring), Topaz Mist (autumn), Pale Aqua (summer) and Lapis Grey (winter).
Initially, the production target was set at 8,000 units but due to very high demand, the company decided to manufacture another 12,000 units in the batch of 6,000 each. The potential customers have to enter themselves into a lottery system where the lucky draw selected the winners. In total, only 20,073 units were made in 1991.
A Nissan Figaro is worth anything between $10,000 to $50,000. Since all Figaros use the same engine and transmission, there’s not much difference between models except that convertibles are worth more than hardtops.
To increase the chances of getting one, you should check listings on JDM-Specific websites. This also guarantees you’ll get a Figaro in good condition rather than buying from a used-car yard or Facebook Marketplace.
Importing a Nissan Figaro is like importing any other JDM car to the United States. Importers and exporters have an inventory from which you can choose your dream Nissan Figaro or opt for a custom import where the importer or exporter sources a Nissan Figaro according to your specifications
Nissan only produced 20,074 units of the Figaro, all with a 1.0-liter turbocharged engine driving the front wheels via a 3-speed automatic transmission
If a car is over 25 years old, it automatically qualifies to be a classic car. But apart from the age, the Nissan Figaro has a design that makes it appear like it was produced in the 1960s
Before Nissan decided to end Nissan Figaro sales in mid-1991, a new unit was retailing at around $14,000.
The Figaro sold so well and had a high demand that Nissan decided they would no longer sell it. Instead, a lottery was created whereby winners could win the Figaro as a price.
The Nissan Figaro was made in 1991 and discontinued in the same year. Nissan never had plans of mass-producing the Figaro despite the high demand.
How to Import a Nissan Figaro
Read our ultimate guide, How to Import a Car from Japan.
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