In May 1990, the Nissan Avenir, a range of station wagons went into production in Japan by Nissan Motors. Initially, it was designed as a budget minded delivery van and began as the Avenir Cargo. However, in 1999, it was renamed for Japanese marker as the Avenir Expert to target the commercial market. It took the place of the long running Nissan Bluebird wagon/delivery van. Compared to the Nissan Wingroad/Nissan AD van, Nissan Avenir Cargo was a bit larger version. It was also considered as the replacement vehicle for the discontinued Nissan Cedric and Gloria delivery vans. Nissan introduced Avenir just after the appearance of the Subaru Legacy wagon. It had a unique design which had no resemblance with any other Nissan sedan.
In the beginning, the Avenir was considered as the station wagon version of the Nissan Primera P10, but in due course it came out as its own in 1997. It was offered in Japan and many other countries importing JDM used cars including New Zealand, Russia etc.
The term ‘Avenir’ is taken from French which means ‘future’.
First Generation (W10)
The first generation Avenir was launched in 1990. The front-wheel drive version was powered by a 1.8-l SR18DEi engine, while the four-wheel drive version was equipped with a 2.0-L SR20DE ATTESA configuration. However, the Expert cargo van received the only 1.6-L GA16DS.
A 4-speed automatic or a 5-speed manual transmission was available for the front-wheel drive, while the four-wheel drive was available only with the automatic transmission. In 1993, a new 2.0-L CD20T Turbo-Diesel engine was released and the existing 1.8-L SR18DEi was upgraded to 1.8-L SR18DE equipped with electronic gasoline injection.
In 1995, Nissan introduced a turbocharged model under the Salut GT turbo badge. Salut is French word for ‘hello!’ The Salut was powered by 2.0-L SR20DET engine capable of generating 210 PS (154.5 kW; 207.1 bhp). It was offered as four-wheel drive having automatic transmission. This turbocharged version was released nearly on the same time when Subaru introduced their Legacy GT.
Second Generation (W11)
The second generation Avenir (W11) was launched in 1998 by Nissan Motors. In its initial production years, the car was powered by 1.8-L QG18DE, 2.0-L SR20DE, 2.0-L SR20DET and the 2.0-L CD20ET Turbo-diesel engines. All the QG18DE models were front-wheel drive with either a 4-speed automatic or 5-speed manual transmission. The SR20DE models were also front-wheel drive with an option of 4-speed automatic or CVT transmission with 6-speed tiptronic function. The only diesel engine CD20ET was offered with 4-speed automatic transmission. The turbocharged version was offered in four-wheel drive with traditional 4-speed automatic transmission with a power of 230 PS (169.2 kW; 226.9 bhp).
The turbocharged Salut was renamed as the GT4 on May 24, 2000. It received a lot of modifications on its exterior and interior and the power output was also improved. In the same year, CVT transmission was also introduced in some non-turbo models. The entire SR series was replaced by the QR series engines in 2002.
A customized trim level was also introduced by Autech under ‘Rider’ name. In June 1999, the Avenir Cargo was renamed as the Nissan Avenir Expert.
In response to Subaru Outback, Nissan launched their Avenir Blaster powered by SR20DE engine with ATTESA in October 2000. This time Nissan took the styling hints from the Nissan Wingroad S. because of the poor sales result, the production of the Avenir was ceased in September 2005, while the Expert version remained in production up till December 2006.