loading Loading please wait....

Nissan Figaro: Buying guide and review (1991)

Nissan Figaro Nissan Figaro Nissan Figaro Nissan Figaro front Nissan Figaro rear Nissan Figaro Interior Nissan Figaro seats
It’s hard to get excited by a Nissan Micra, but re-clothe this rather mundane supermini as a retro urban runabout and you can create a level of hysteria usually reserved for cars powered by something rather more exciting than a turbocharged 1.0-litre four-cylinder engine. 
 
Indeed, the Figaro was so popular when it was revealed that Nissan had to run a lottery to choose who would be able to buy the car. The initial plan was to produce 8000 examples, but by the time production was wound up, no fewer than 20,000 had been built – with more than five times this many people having entered the lottery to buy one. 
 
Created for the Japanese domestic market, it wasn’t long before examples of the Figaro were being imported to the UK, the car becoming as popular there as in Japan. More than 20 years after the last Figaro was made, this cute-looking retro machine has become a cult classic and as a result it’s well served by specialists as well as clubs. 
 
That engine, known as the MA10ET, was engineered to provide quiet, refined and economical progress in the Micra, so don’t expect the Figaro to be anything more than brisk progress. But it’s really not about driving quickly, the standard three-speed automatic transmission makes sure of that. Rather the Figaro makes the perfect characterful city car, working just as well in London as in the even more crowded streets of Tokyo. 
 

Which Nissan Figaro to buy? 

 
There isn’t much to separate one Figaro from another, apart from condition and bodywork colour. Just four paint hues were offered, each representing one of the four seasons. Buyers could choose between Topaz Mist, Emerald Green, Pale Aqua and Lapis Grey. The first was the least popular with just 2000 made; 6000 were produced of each of the others. 
 
With all Figaros getting leather trim, a fold-back cloth roof, air conditioning and a three-speed automatic gearbox, there wasn’t much scope for Nissan to offer extras. Incidentally, the Figaro didn’t wear Nissan badges and there was no powered option for the roof mechanism. 
 
A really cherished car will come with a full complement of supplied accessories, such as the original space saver spare wheel, the associated jack, tonneau cover and tool kit. You might even find one with the original red breakdown flare, which is clipped to the left-hand side of the passenger footwell. 
 
Nissan built the Figaro alongside three other similarly retro cars at its Pike factory – the company’s special projects division at the time. The other ‘Pike’ cars include the Be-1 and Pao hatchbacks, as well as the S-Cargo – a small retro-style van. If you like the retro style of the Figaro, then it is worth seeking out these models too, although they are actually less common in the UK.
 

Performance and specs 

 
Engine 987cc, four-cylinder
Power 75bhp @ 6000rpm
Torque 78lb ft @ 4400rpm
Top speed 90mph
0-60mph 16.3sec
Fuel consumption 45mpg
Gearbox Three-speed auto
 

Dimensions and weight

 
Wheelbase 2300mm
Length 3740mm
Width 1630mm
Height 1365mm
Kerb weight 810kg
 

Common problems 

 
• There shouldn’t be major corrosion but rust may well be in evidence in the sills and in the lower edge of the rear window surround. The chrome reflectors for the rear lights can also collect water, so check for rust here. 
 
• The most likely area for corrosion though, and also the area that’s the most time-consuming to fix, is the rear wheelarches. If these have rusted significantly, new panels have to be welded in, and that’ll cost you plenty. 
 
• All Figaros got a folding fabric roof, which shrinks over time. Also, the mechanism and latches can get damaged by ham-fisted owners, so make sure everything works smoothly. 
 
• Check that the upper roof boot has a plastic liner and two black straps to hold the roof in place when it’s retracted. Also make sure that the rubber buffers on the floor and spring clips on the inside of the boot are in place. 
 
• Look at the top of the car around the edge of the roof. The leather hood may have started to shrink revealing the black seal. You shouldn’t be able to see more than 1cm of black rubber and there shouldn’t be any gaps. If either of these things is evident, expect leaks into the cabin. 
 
• There’s a tonneau that has to be fitted manually when the roof is retracted, so make sure it’s there. New and used ones can be sourced easily enough, and they’re not costly. 
 
• The engine is generally reliable, but seized turbos aren’t unusual. Because there’s no kick from the turbo (the power delivery is surprisingly linear), it’s easy to assume there’s nothing wrong. Also look for blue exhaust smoke, suggesting a worn turbo or engine. 
 
• Ask when the cam belt and tensioner were last replaced; this should be done every five years or 100,000km (62,500 miles). Crankshaft oil seals also fail, so look for lots of lubricant on the car’s underside. 
 
• The most likely engine problem is overheating, so let the car tick over and listen for the fan cutting in and out. Also make sure the head gasket hasn’t failed because the engine has previously overheated. 
 
• As the Figaro is now more than 20 years old, it’s key to know that the braking system is in fine fettle. Along with the basic checks of brake discs, pads (drums and shoes on the back), and the condition of the pipes, it is not uncommon for the master cylinder seals to wear out, causing spongy feeling brakes, eventually leading to brake failure.
 
• The standard air conditioning uses the now-banned Freon 12 refrigerant, but it can still be topped up. What can’t be used is the modern R134A alternative, as it’ll damage the system, so beware of cars that have supposedly been converted. 
 
• The brightwork gets damaged and corrosion is common, so check everything, especially the bumpers, as they’re costly to replace. 
 
• Don’t assume that the displayed mileage is correct, as clocked cars are rife in Japan where it’s not illegal to change a car’s mileage. What matters is the car’s condition. 
 

Model history

 
1989: Figaro unveiled at the Tokyo motor show under the slogan ‘Back to the future’. It’s the work of a Nissan special projects group called Pike Factory. 
1991: The Figaro goes into production, with the cars being released in three batches between February and June. 
 

Owners clubs, forums and websites

 
• www.figaroownersclub.com
• www.figs4u.co.uk
• www.figarotrader.co.uk
• www.thefigaroshop.co.uk
 

Summary and Prices 

 
So, it’s generally reliable, fun and most of all fairly easy to look after. While it might not offer the driving thrills of a traditional soft-top sports car, there’s a lot of charm with a Nissan Figaro. 
 
While there are specialists that import Figaros directly from Japan, which could cost upwards of £8000, a good usable car should come in at somewhere between £4500-6000 in the UK, although prices can be stronger is the car is exceptional or offered by a dealer. There are some scruffier examples about, and neglected cars can be worth as little as £1200 if substantial work is needed. 
 
Words: Richard Dredge
Nissan Figaro Nissan Figaro Nissan Figaro Nissan Figaro front Nissan Figaro rear Nissan Figaro Interior Nissan Figaro seats
Last updated: 23rd Aug 2016
collapse this

Nissan Figaro cars for sale

14 Search results
Nissan Figaro
5495 26995 GBP
  • Nissan Figaro

    £26,995 £26,995

    Variant name:FK10 ,Derivative:FK10 ,Variant: 1.0T Auto Finished in Pale Aqua with full soft Cream leather interior and contrasting grey piping FEATURES Exterior Chrome pack Limited Edition Tokyo Nouvelle plaques Chrome headlight eyelids Remote central locking Upgraded Clarion stereo with Clarion additional custom rear speakers Air conditioning Hand stitched leather handbrake cover Front cup holders Mud flaps Tonneau cover Storage rack Electric windows Polar white roof, exterior mirrors and wheel rims Tailored seat covers This stunning example is offered in exceptional condition throughout and is indistinguishable from new. The interior and exterior is completely original and shows the mere 5000 miles covered. To ensure the car is kept in original order it has been completely wax oiled. Car comes complete with original hand books and a detailed history including a recent major service carried with new timing belt, water pump and alternator. It has the reassurance of a BIMTA mileage verification certificate. This has been part of a private collection and has to be one of the best Figaro's for sale today. A vehicle of this condition and heritage is a future classic.

    • Year: 1991
    • Mileage: 5000 mi
    • Engine size: 1
    For sale
    Alexanders Prestige-Alexanders Prestige
    01423 325800 VIEW CONTACT NUMBER
  • NISSAN FIGARO 1.0 TURBO RETRO CONVERTABLE 1991

    £5,750 £5,750

    FINNISHED IN EMERALD GREEN WITH WHITE ROOF,THIS FIGARO WAS IMPORTED BY SPECIALIST IN 2008 SHOWING 105000KLMS[APROX 66000MILES],COSIDERABLE REFURB WAS CARRIED OUT AT THIS TIME AND PURCHASED BY LOCAL LADY OWNER.WHO HAS KEPT THE CAR UNTILL THIS YEAR. PAPERWORK INCLUDES V5. INVOICES AND ALL MOTS SINCE IMPORT, NISSAN ORIG OWNERS HANDBOOK AND RADIO HANDBOOK 2 KEYS IMOBILISER WITH TWO FOBS ARE ALL WITH THE CAR, ;CURRENT MILEAGE READING OF 117000KLMS[APROX 73000MLS] SO ONLY AROUND 7000MLS SINCE IMPORT. A MPH SPEEDO FACE IS FITTED;WE HAVE JUST CARRIED OUT SOME LIGHT BODY RESTORATION,WHICH HAS INCLUDED NEW 3 PIECE FRONT BUMPER AND OTHER BRIGHTWORK..UNDERSIDE CLEANED AND PROTECTED. CAR LOOKS AND DRIVES VERY WELL.NO DASH CRACKS PAINTWORK AND BRIGHTWORK ARE VERY GOOD. INTERIOR IS MAINLY ORIGINAL AND GOOD SHOWING A SLIGHT PATINA OF ITS 25 YEARS.ENGINE AND GEARBOX QUIET AND SMOOTH. CAR IS DUE CAMBELT , SO I WILL DO THIS ALONG WITH A SERVICE [COMPLETED ON SALE DEPOSIT RECIEPT], 3 MONTHS WARRANTY ALL INCLUDED IN THE SCREEN PRICE. ;;CHOICE OF TWO AVAILABLE SEE OTHER ADVERTS;;PART EXCHANGE IS WELCOME UK DELIVERY BY TRANSPORTER AVAILABLE

    • Mileage: 73000 mi
    • Engine size: 1000
    For sale
  • NISSAN FIGARO 1.0 TURBO RETRO CONVERTABLE 1991

    £5,495 £5,495

    NICE EXAMPLE IN EMERALD GREEN,IMPORTED AND SOLD BY US IN SEPT 2006, AND REGULARLY MAINTAINED BY US. ALL INVOICES SINCE IMPORT ARE WITH CAR, ;MILEAGE CONVERSION CARRIED OUT AT IMPORT;ODO READING 85814 KLMS AT IMPORT = 53325 MLS;ODO NOW READING 113665;SO TOTAL MILES COVERED ONELY 81176 MILES;;LOOKS AND DRIVES VERY WELL.PAINTWORK AND BRIGHTWORK ARE VERY GOOD. INTERIOR IS MAINLY ORIGINAL AND GOOD SHOWING A SLIGHT PATINA OF ITS 25 YEARS CAR IS DUE CAMBELT NEXT YEAR, SO I WILL DO THIS ALONG WITH A SERVICE[COMPLETED ON SALE DEPOSIT RECIEPT], 3 MONTHS WARRANTY ALL INCLUDED IN THE SCREEN PRICE ;;CHOICE OF TWO AVAILABLE SEE OTHER ADVERTS;;PART EXCHANGE IS WELCOME UK DELIVERY BY TRANSPORTER AVAILABLE

    • Mileage: 81176 mi
    • Engine size: 1000
    For sale
  • Nissan Figaro

    £5,500 £5,500

    Full Leather, Power Steering, Radio Cassette, Metallic Paintwork, Part service history A fully restored example which can only be described as near concours

    • Mileage: 80000 mi
    • Engine size: 987
    For sale
  • Nissan Figaro

    £7,095 £7,095

    Air Conditioning, Full Leather, iPod Connectivity, Locking Wheel Nuts, Head Restraints, Power Steering, Colour Coded Body, Premium Cloth soft top, Electric Front Windows, CD Player, Multi-Disc CD Player, Radio, Stereo, UK Specification, UK Supplied, HPI Clear (Complete with certificate), Part Exchange welcome, Service history

    • Mileage: 52494 mi
    • Engine size: 1000
    For sale
  • Nissan Figaro

    £24,995 £24,995

    Air Conditioning, Full Leather, Electric Windows, Power Steering, Sunroof, Alarm, Remote Central Locking, Immobiliser, Colour Coded Body, CD Player, Radio, ALLOY WHEELS, CHOICE OF TWO, Alcantara Leather, Head Restraints, Heated Seats, Sports Seats, FULL SERVICE HISTORY, Alloy wheels, Comprehensive history ABBY HAS FULL SERVICE HISTORY FROM HER DATE OF BIRTH, YES FULL HISTORY JAPANESE AND UK COMPLETE AND SHE WILL BE SUPPLIED WITH A COMPLETE FILE AND ALL ORIGINAL JAPANESE PAPERWORK.SPEC LIST AS FOLLOWS.ORIGINAL EXTRAS LISTOriginal nissan figaro key (brand new) and brand new copyOriginal figaro parking stick (rechromed) very rare 1500 only ever manufactured and yes even has the original lock grommet.Original figaro tokyo nouvelle alloys (refurbished) fitted with new tyres all round, very rare 1500 sets ever manufacturedOriginal headlamp eyelids (repolished)Original nissan rear chrome number plate plynth (brand new) unobtainableOriginal door handles (brand new) unobtainable Original chrome door handle inserts highly polished (uber rare and unobtainable) 1500 sets ever manufacturedOriginal wing mirror chrome covers, very rare 1500 sets ever manufacturedOriginal tokyo nouvelle door shut chrome plates (repolished and engraved with tokyo nouvelle vague) very rare 1500 sets ever manufacturedOriginal nouvelle vague vanity mirror (uber rare) 1500 only ever manufacturedOriginal immaculate interior netshelf (rare)Original cupholders (rare)Original lower boot tray (rare)Original figaro car cleaning kit (unused and uber rare and unobtainable)Original figaro car cover (very rare) unobtainableOriginal top boot interior light (uber rare) unobtainableOriginal rear indicators (brand new and unobtainable)Original rear brake lights rechromedEvery body chrome brand new and unobtainable as cant be re

    • Mileage: 41000 mi
    • Engine size: 980
    For sale
  • Beautiful Custom Nissan Figaro in Miami Blue

    £7,500 £7,500

    Beautiful custom Figaro in Miami Blue. Only 63,000 KM on the clock! There are only two in this colour and it was sprayed on import from Japan to resemble Princess Eugenie’s Figaro. All four tyres replaced recently, spare unused. The Reg Plate is H180 BUV and comes with full paperwork and handbook. Stored over the winter and started  regularly to keep it running sweetly. Completed only 2,000 Kilometres since  last service (actually, just a bit under). All leather seats are in great condition - no rips or tears. Drives beautifully - £7500 ONO.   For the records, we also have: - Almost new tyres - Unused Spare Wheel - New Windscreen Wipers - Boot Rack (in pristine condition) with pads under the meal clamps so as not to cause damage to the paintwork - Figaro Chrome Alloy Wheels - New Radio (V2) - New Radiator - New Battery - New MOT (13months) - Original Figaro Key (plus a spare) - Thatchams Approved Immobiliser - Original Flare - Log Book and Full Paperwork   For more information and to view, call me (Amy) on 07913016029 at any time or drop me an email at amy@almalynn.co.uk.

    • Mileage: 39146 mi
    For sale
  • Nissan Figaro

    £24,995 £24,995

    Air Conditioning, Full Leather, Electric Windows, Power Steering, Sunroof, Alarm, Remote Central Locking, Immobiliser, Colour Coded Body, CD Player, Radio, ALLOY WHEELS, CHOICE OF TWO, Alcantara Leather, Head Restraints, Heated Seats, Sports Seats, FULL SERVICE HISTORY, Alloy wheels, Comprehensive history ABBY HAS FULL SERVICE HISTORY FROM HER DATE OF BIRTH, YES FULL HISTORY JAPANESE AND UK COMPLETE AND SHE WILL BE SUPPLIED WITH A COMPLETE FILE AND ALL ORIGINAL JAPANESE PAPERWORK.SPEC LIST AS FOLLOWS.ORIGINAL EXTRAS LISTOriginal nissan figaro key (brand new) and brand new copyOriginal figaro parking stick (rechromed) very rare 1500 only ever manufactured and yes even has the original lock grommet.Original figaro tokyo nouvelle alloys (refurbished) fitted with new tyres all round, very rare 1500 sets ever manufacturedOriginal headlamp eyelids (repolished)Original nissan rear chrome number plate plynth (brand new) unobtainableOriginal door handles (brand new) unobtainable Original chrome door handle inserts highly polished (uber rare and unobtainable) 1500 sets ever manufacturedOriginal wing mirror chrome covers, very rare 1500 sets ever manufacturedOriginal tokyo nouvelle door shut chrome plates (repolished and engraved with tokyo nouvelle vague) very rare 1500 sets ever manufacturedOriginal nouvelle vague vanity mirror (uber rare) 1500 only ever manufacturedOriginal immaculate interior netshelf (rare)Original cupholders (rare)Original lower boot tray (rare)Original figaro car cleaning kit (unused and uber rare and unobtainable)Original figaro car cover (very rare) unobtainableOriginal top boot interior light (uber rare) unobtainableOriginal rear indicators (brand new and unobtainable)Original rear brake lights rechromedEvery body chrome brand new and unobtainable as cant be re

    • Mileage: 41000 mi
    • Engine size: 980
    For sale
  • Nissan Figaro

    £6,500 £6,500

    Full Leather, Power Steering, Radio Cassette, Metallic Paintwork, Part service history A fully restored example which can only be described as near concours.Full information to follow

    • Mileage: 80000 mi
    • Engine size: 987
    For sale
  • Nissan Figaro

    POA POA

    POA Ex Uk and imported into jersey in 2010. Owned by an enthusiast who has maintained the car regardless of cost. During his ownership much maintenance has been carried as the car has been his daily driver. Very well maintained and serviced whilst in Jersey with new tyres, new exhaust, cam belt being changed, new water pump, etc. An extensive file accompanies the car.

    • Year: 1991
    For sale
  • Nissan Figaro

    £5,995 £5,995

    Air Conditioning, Electric Front Windows, Excellent Condition, Low Mileage, CD Player, Full Leather, Power Steering, Service history 1991 Nissan Figaro finished in Lapis Grey. Only 52,000 miles with lots of history and all old mot's. The current owner has had this car for over 10 years and has only been used on sunny days as a third car hence she has only covered 6,000 miles in her ownership. Lovely specification including air conditioning , Leather seats , Electric windows , Central locking , CD Player , Power steering. This car is in excellent condition throughout and drives superb any inspection welcome , A 6 month warranty is included.Part exchange welcome - Low rate finance available - All cards accepted

    • Mileage: 52000 mi
    • Engine size: 987
    For sale
  • Nissan Figaro

    £7,095 £7,095

    Air Conditioning, Full Leather, iPod Connectivity, Locking Wheel Nuts, Head Restraints, Power Steering, Colour Coded Body, Premium Cloth soft top, Electric Front Windows, CD Player, Multi-Disc CD Player, Radio, Stereo, UK Specification, UK Supplied, HPI Clear (Complete with certificate), Part Exchange welcome, Service history

    • Mileage: 52494 mi
    For sale
  • NISSAN FIGARO - 1991

    £6,995 £6,995

    1000:cc Finished in ‘Pale Aqua with cream hood. Matching leather interior and dash with original ‘polo wheels’, mudflaps and headlight eyes.;;Covered 71,000 miles with only one previous owner. This quirky classic is full of character and a dream to drive. ;;Newly tested and full warranty.;

    • Mileage: 71 mi
    • Engine size: 1000
    For sale
Related Specification
Related content