1994 Nissan Serena
Finding the perfect sized hauler is the eternal question for a perspective van owner. When you need to balance parking, fuel economy, passengers, and cargo it's important to consider all your options. A Kei van has limitations when it comes to high speed use, and full size considerations such as the Homy and Delica can be a parking nightmare so Nissan sought to design the Serena. The model combined Nissan's stalwart SR20DE, mounted midship, with a body that could seat eight adults and all of their gear with ease. The Metallic Green over Gray two tone (3N9) paint shines nicely, and the body is straight. Sans some normal scuffs and scratches on the exterior, the body is otherwise very clean.
One of the first items you'll notice is the Serena's nearly perfect ride height. The driver slides right in, and doesn't have to hunker down or pull oneself up. The seats are in above average condition for a 25 year old hauler. The bolstering is still strong, and the material is devoid of any major spills, stains, or tears. The cloth is a bluish-gray with horizontal colored accents, and its quite soft to the touch. The controls are all easy to use and at hand. Power locks, power windows with one touch driver functionality work as advertised, and the mirrors are powered as well. An adjustable steering column give the driver better ergonomics, and a smaller diameter polished steering wheel dresses up the interior. Atop the dash is uncracked and distortion free. Of note, the Serena features dual digital climate zones, and boy do they blow cold. Window tint and linen curtains work to shield additional rays from the occupants, and do a fair job of helping to aid the air conditioning system. The rear passengers benefit from roof mounted climate ducts, and they don't need to bother the driver as they can do their own fine tuning. The headroom is massive front and rear, and the interior is well suited for jamming out on a road trip. The new Kenwood head unit allows for auxiliary and USB functionality, as well as AM/FM/CD. The speakers are functional as well, and are sufficient at drowning out the kids fighting directly behind you. The headliner is in good shape and lacks any major staining or sagging, and the rear cargo hasn't been abused either. Seating is flexible, with full reclining of both rows standard and a jump seat equipped it the middle row that can be tucked away. For those who are on the taller side, the liftgate, which is aided by pneumatic struts, raises up to six tall.
As mentioned, under the front seats features one of Nissan's workhorse motors. The SR20DE mounted between the front axle, gives the Serena great balance and handling characteristics. At only 60K actual miles, it's only now just getting broken in. Despite its sporty mid-engine, RWD layout, this is by no means the Ferrari of minivans, but it does have four new sticky tires to handle some all season adhesion. Once they were mounted and balanced by one of our trained technicians, a new oil filter was fitted and new oil was filled. The suspension is in fine shape, and eagerly handles all the bumps you throw its way, and should be noted for its impressive ground clearance. The automatic transmission, which included a selectable setting for snow, is worry free. It shifts happily through the gears and engages reverse without an issue. The power steering is light and direct, and the disc brakes stop this little vanette very well.
Made for low cost of ownership, and filed with some desirable equipment, this van would be a great daily for those with some rugrats to transport or the daily run to Costco. This Serena's practicality is unmatched, and with miles this low, its a perfect turn-key Japanese classic.
*California Residents: In order to register a Grey Market vehicle in the state of California then it will have to be made CARB complaint first. CARB certifications will have to be performed within the state. Depending on the vehicle and any existing modifications will affect the pricing. Typically CARB compliance will range between 5-10K. Additional information can be found on the California Air Resources Board website.