Nissan Sunny, a small car built by Nissan and introduced in 1966 under the nameplate Satsun 1000. In Japan, the production of the Sunny was discontinued in 2004, while it has been still in production for the African, American and Sri Lankan markets. The later models sold in United States were sold as Nissan Sentra. It was marketed as Nissan Tsuru in Mexican market. The Sunny was placed between the supermini Nissan March (Micra) and the compact Bluebirds. The models produced in early years were relatively smaller than the later models and hence the later models could be considered compact vehicles. All the earlier models were subcompact vehicles. All the Nissan Sunny models came with Nissan A engine motors.
Surprisingly, the Sunny nameplate is not limited to Nissan Sunny as it has been used on other models as well not fall in the Sunny family. For instance, several export versions of Nissan Pulsar range used Sunny name.
In September 1966, the first Datsun Sunny was introduced and offered in the export market as Datsun 1000. It was available as 2-door sedan (B10) and station wagon/van version (VB10). Both these body styles were offered in ‘Standard’ and ‘Deluxe’ versions. The major features were drum brakes, traditional leaf springs at rear and wishbone independent at front with single transverse leaf spring.
The car was powered by a 4-cylinder inline 988 cc engine called the A10 mated to a 4-speed gearbox.
In October 1967, Nissan released the 1968 model as 4-door sedan (B10). It was available in both Standard and Deluxe versions. A new coupe model called the KB10 was introduced in October 1968 as 1969 model.
In October 1968, Nissan launched its light commercial truck as Sunny Truck which was a variation of B10 passenger car. It shared its chassis with VB10 Van and had a body style called Coupe Utility. It was marketed as ‘Ute’ in Australia, while sold as ‘Sunny Truck’ in Japanese market.
It was offered in only Standard trim level. To keep the price on lower side, it was entertained with basic standard equipment.
The wheelbase and running gear of the B20 were same as found in Datsun 1000 VB10 van.
In 1970, the second generation Sunny was introduced. It was also referred to as Datsun 1200. It was designed with larger dimensions so as to compete with the then popular Toyota Corolla.
The Datsun 1200 had a MacPherson strut at front suspension along with optional disc brakes. It was powered by 1.2-L A12 series engine. Apart from 3-door station wagon, 5-door station wagon version was also released in later years. Japanese domestic market exclusively received a GX Grand Luxury trim level featuring twin carburetor engine in April 1970. The GX-5 was released in August 1972 in Japan that offered a direct-fifth (non-overdrive) 5-speed transmission.
Sunny Excellent (PB110 series) was introduced in the Japan on April 4, 1971. Although, it was based on B110, it had some minor differences in hood, fenders and grille. It was equipped with a SOHC 1.4-L Nissan L engine. It got an enlarged wheelbase of 40 mm (1.6 inch) and front overhand of 130 mm (5.1 inch). It was sold as Sentra 1400.
Sunny Excellent featuring Nissan’s two-rotor Wankel rotary engine was introduced on October 19, 1972 at the Tokyo Motor Show.
B120 Series Sunny Truck
In February 1971, the B120 series commercial truck appeared. It was based on B110 chassis and shared the wheelbase and gearbox with the Datsun 1200 sedans, coupe and wagon versions. It was available in both regular (B120) and long-bed (GB120) versions. It remained in production when the 1200 series was discontinued. The B120 Ute was marketed until 1985 in Australia, while the in New Zealand it was available in two trim levels including Roadster and SportStar throughout the 1980s. In South Africa, it was marketed as ‘Bakkie’.
The B121 took the place of B120 in Japanese market in 1978. It featured the plastic grille similar to the one used in B110 Coupe.
B140 Series Bakkie
In South Africa, the Sunny Truck debuted in 19741 and remained in market for almost thirty seven years. The B140 series powered by a 1.4-L A14 engine which was built by Nissan South Africa until 2008 as the Nissan LDV 1400 (Light Delivery Vehicle). It featured a 5-speed manual gearbox, power assisted disc brakes and a roof height extension. The sport version of 1400 Bakkie was sold as ‘Champ’ in South Africa. The other local names used for 1400 Bakkie were a plain ‘1400’ and ‘kanniedood’ derived from Afrikaans for ‘Cannot Die’. NP200, a derivative of Romanian Dacia passenger saloon took the place of 1400 Bakkie in 2008. The earlier model of Nissan Bakkie was rear wheel drive, while later models made a transition from rear wheel drive to front wheel drive.
The third generation Sunny made its appearance in 1973, when gas crisis became a major concern across the globe. It was exported under the Datsun 120Y and Datsun B-120 (North America) names. It was available in six different body styles including: the 4-door sedan, 2-door sedan, 2-door hatchback coupé, 2-door wagon, 4-door wagon and 2-door van. The coupe version still held the fastback styling, however dropped the small trunk lid with a full hatchback door. North American market didn’t receive wagon and van versions. Two limited editions of B-210 series were also introduced including: the Datsun Honeybee introduced in North America and the Datsun SSS introduced in New Zealand and Australia.
The B-120 series featured A12 and A14 engines with OHV technology. The US models came with A13 engine, 1.3 L (1288 cc) OHV I4 (1974), while the models sold from (1975-1978) equipped with A14 engine, 1.4 L (1397 cc) OHV I4.
Nissan Sunny (GL) was a 4-door saloon, rear wheel drive model of B-211 series introduced in 1976 by Nissan. It was powered by a new A12 4-cylinder 1.2-L (1171 cc) engine mated to a 4-speed manual gearbox. The major reason behind its popularity was its fuel economy. Although, it resembled the B210 (120Y) in looks and appearance, there were several mechanical and dimensional differences between the two. Nissan introduced a special catalytic converter called the Nissan Anti-Pollution System (NAPS) in B211 series.
The B310 series was considered the last to be sold under Datsun name in Japan and also the last rear wheel drive Sunny produced from 1978 to 1982. The car offered in several variants such as fastback station wagon, a coupe, two- and four-door sedan, and squared-off, utilitarian models with three and five doors. All these models are sold as Datsun 120Y, 130Y, 140Y and 150Y badges in some markets. In North American market it was marketed as Datsun 210. B310 series was popular because of its high equipment levels as well as build quality. It was powered by A-series engines. It also featured coil spring four-link configuration. A mild facelift was released in 1980.
The fastback version was the only wagon sold in North America. It was sold as a special fastback wagon model called the Sunny California in Japan. Majority of the B-310s sold with A12 engine, however, there are some markets where A-series engines were used including: A12 (1,171 cc, not offered in North America), A12A (1,237 cc), A13 (Short Deck Engine), A14 and A15.
In Taiwan, the B310 series was released as YLN 302 featuring SD or DX equipment (Standard, DeLuxe).
Nissan introduced its B11 series as their first front-wheel drive Sunny. In United States it was introduced for the first time as 1982 model year under the name Nissan Sentra.
At that time, the B11 series was considered as the most contemporary range introduced by Nissan. In Japan, the wagon version was marketed as Nissan Sunny California. The B11 series was first revealed in 1981 and remained in production till 1985. In Mexico, B11 was the first Sunny marketed as Tsuru.
Except for station wagon model, B12 was not exported as much after 1985. The B12 series was known for its squared-off styling which was considered outmoded by the mid-1980s. A four-wheel drive model was introduced as well which was sold as Sentra in some markets, while marked as Nissan Hikari in Mexico.
The rebadged B13 Pulsar (available as hatchback and saloon variant) took the place of B11 Sunny in European markets in October 1986. It was marketed in European market together with B12 Sunny estate and coupe.
In North America, the B12 Sentra continued to be sold as a mainstream C-segment Nissan for many years despite the declining model range. On its launch, it was offered as 2-door base (XE), 4-door XE, and 4-door GXE sedan. In addition to these, there were two trim levels each of coupe and FWD wagon, a short-overhang 3-door hatchback and an AWD wagon. However, by the end of 1990, the range was left with a coupe, 4-door sedan, and FWD wagon.
In 1990, the B13 series was launched by Nissan. The B13 shared many of its features with B12, but B13 came with a rounded, more up-to-date styling. B13 was a big hit in United States where the 2-door sports model Sentra SE-R was sold by Nissan of America as a modern day BMW 2002. The car is still manufactured in Mexico and is offered as Tsuru, for both domestic and export markets. Its reliability and low maintenance cost makes it a popular choice for cab drivers. In Taiwan, it is sold as Nissan 331.
In 1994, the B14 Sunny and Sentra were introduced by Nissan. Both these 4-wheel drive models remained in production until 1998. Primarily produced in the Japan, the model was also assembled in Karachi, Pakistan through joint venture between Ghandhara Nissan and Nissan Japan until 2001 for the domestic and export markets.
Under the OEM deal, the station wagon was provided to Mazda as the Familia Van. The Nissan Wingroad substituted the Nissan Sunny California and introduced as a spin-off of the Sunny line in Japan. Nissan Wingroad and Mazda Familia both were different from the exported wagon in several dimensions.
In Mexico, three different versions of Sentra were sold, i.e. from 1995 to 1997, it was offered with 1.6-L GA16DE engine; from 1998 to 2000, it was available with GA16DNE and high performance GSS version came with 2.0-L SR20DE engine.
The B15 series was introduced in 1998 and remained in production until 2007. The Nissan Tiida replaced the Sunny model line in Japan in 2005. However, the Sentra is still marketed in the US market with 1.8-L and 2.5-L engines.
In the domestic market, the Sunny was available with different engine options including: 1.3-L, 15-L, and 1.8-L petrol and 2.2-L diesel engines. The B15 was sold as Nissan Super Sunny in Japanese domestic market.