The first Sunny in question here is the angular model that appeared in late 1986, a no-nonsense range of hatches, saloons and estates. Dull, dull, dull - but acceptable, efficient family transport. The 1.8-litre hot hatches weren't too bad but the coupes were sheep in wolf(ish) clothing.
Much better, was the more rounded range announced in 1991 with multi-valve engines, including one of the finest hot hatches ever made (the twin cam 16-valve Sunny GTi) and one of the wildest hatches to ever hit the road (the rally-bred turbocharged Sunny GTi-R).
This was the final Sunny fling, for the car was of course, replaced in 1995 by the Almera, with `the car they don't want you to drive` advertising slogan. In many respects, the 1991-1995 Sunny was no worse a package and still makes plenty of sense as a quality used purchase for the family buyer. In truth, the Sunny disappointed Nissan by never really catching on in the family hatchback Escort market.
Post-1991 Sunny buyers selected between a 2.0-litre diesel and three petrol engines. Of these, most chose the 1.4 and 1.6-litre 12-valve units. In the three-door GTi however, a more powerful fuel injected two-litre power plant was used, capable of 0-60mph in 8.2 seconds on the way to a maximum speed of some 135mph.
Those that couldn't afford either the GTi's £14,495 price tag or the insurance premiums (group 15) often chose the sporty 1.6-litre SR. Like its more powerful brother, this model was based on the three-door bodyshell but cost around £3,000 less - plus it was rated at group 10.