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Quirky cars tend to either be the laughingstock of the auto world or a cult classic. In the case of the Nissan Figaro, it’s a vehicle that is much beloved for its unique looks and charm. The only real problem with it is that Nissan didn’t make enough to go around.

The Nissan Figaro took the market by surprise

The Figaro is based on the Nissan Micra. Nissan chose the name Figaro because it means edgy. While its looks are anything but edgy, the Figaro is cute and eye-catching. 

Even though the Figaro looks like something that would have come out of the sixties or seventies, it was made in 1991. Nissan was going for a retro look, and it did so to perfection. From the creamy-colored exteriors to the overly large gauges, toggle switches, and even the CD player that looks like an old radio, you’d swear you were riding in a car that is much older than it really is. 

The Figaro may look like a hatchback, but it’s actually a convertible. There are no fancy buttons to hit in order to pull the roof back, so you have to do it manually, but it’s a simple enough process that is easy to figure out.

The lack of models is what makes purchasing a Figaro a bit of a problem, according to Figaro Cars. There were 8,000 produced originally, and when Nissan realized it had a hit on its hands, there were 12,000 more produced. And then Nissan walked away from the Figaro, and never looked back.

During its brief run, demand was so high that Aging Wheels said Nissan actually had a lottery to select who got a Figaro, and who didn’t. 

The Figaro came in four colors based on each season. The first is emerald green for spring. Then comes pale aqua for summer, topaz mist for autumn, and winter was lapis gray.

The Figaro is no super car, but drivers don’t care

If you’re looking for a retro powerhouse that can keep up with modern cars, the Figaro is not it. That’s not what it was designed to do, however, and most owners are so charmed by the Figaro that they don’t care. 

The Figaro is equipped with a 1000 cc turbocharged engine. It has a max speed of 160 km/h, or 99.38 mph. The Figaro can generate up to 75 hp and 78 lb-ft of torque. This is paired with a three-speed automatic transmission.

Even though it’s retro, there are plenty of modern features on the Figaro like a radio, CD player, sunroof, and air conditioning. 

The trunk is nightmarish to get into. The top is where the convertible cover goes, so the trunk is right below it. While it is roomy, it tunnels directly under the Figaro, and it can be difficult to get items out that you’ve shoved in.

Because the Figaro was designed for Japan, the steering wheel is on the right side. This is much different than U.S. designed vehicles, which have the steering wheel on the left.

Can you purchase a Nissan Figaro in the U.S.?

That’s an interesting question, and the answer is both yes and no. The Figaro was only produced and sold in Japan, although it became quite popular in Britain. There were none sold in the U.S.

So, how do you get a Figaro if you live in the U.S.? You either take the time and money to have one imported from Japan to the U.S., or find a seller who has already done so on U.S. soil.

This is not going to be an easy endeavor given the slim number of Figaros available. Still, if you can find one, they are an absolute blast to drive.


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