Car Spotlight>> Autech Stagea Axis

The Nissan Stagea has for years dominated the premium side of the station wagon market in Japan. It might not be a looker, but it has a certain JDM charm about it that attracts those seeking well-equipped and well-priced alternatives to what the import market has to offer. The car you see here was a special edition version of the M35 Stagea called AXIS introduced back in 2003. So why a look at this car you may ask? Well I thought it would not only be appropriate for this month's Haulers & Sedans theme but also because in a very sad move Nissan has quietly killed off the Stagea. The station wagon market sector was never a profitable one for Nissan, so when the Skyline Corssover (sold as the Infiniti EX around the world) came to Japan, it was effectively the end of the Stagea.

Hearing that Nissan has no plans to bring back the big and sporty wagon I began to reminisce back to the time I spent with the AXIS version of the M35, a great car in all respects.

Autech, a subsidiary of Nissan in charge of building special projects and models, came up with a this edition of the Stagea featuring blistered wheel arches and an aggressive body kit.

The AXIS is easy to spot thanks to the large chrome grille that is usually found on every Autech model available from Nissan as well as a set of lightweight 18-inch multi-spoke wheels. Under the hood of the car I borrowed from Nissan all those years ago was a VQ30DD NEO Di, a 260 HP 3L V6 that gave the M35 a smooth and adequately powerful character. Back then Nissan still used to build a turbocharged version of the VQ, the VQ25DET, which was an option on the AXIS as well as the VQ35DE from the Z33 mated to the same 6-speed manual as used in the Fairlady.

The 3L model I drove had a smooth-shifting 5-speed automatic, which wasn't sporty by today's standards, but a good match to the equally luxurious feel of the car. The interior was a very comfortable place to be in especially with the brick-colored leather interior, packing all sorts of gadgets like a CD-changer, MD-player (before the boom of the integrated iPod!), TV and Navigation.

The rear seats offered plenty of space and legroom…

…and when folded forward allowed the already copious trunk space to almost double! Think of all the camera gear you can dump back there!!

The AXIS felt nice and tight around corners but there was no hiding its weight and dimensions, rolling quite a lot when pushed hard.

If Nissan gave it a go they could create a very special successor to the M35, so it is very sad to think that they won't even bother trying. I already have mental pictures of a VR38DETT powered beast! They could even call it 380RS as a direct link back to the 1997 WGNC34 Autech 260RS

But that will just not happen so we are forced to say goodbye to a car that was as JDM as they get. Farewell Nissan Stagea.

Autech Japan

Stagea AXIS special site

-Dino Dalle Carbonare



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Man I wish they would bring the Stagea here to the states.


do they not understand that people like this type of stuff here, they would kill it. they need to stop bringing this crap little cars and give us the s15 and the stagea


that stegea instead (with the 3l diesel + 8speed automatic transmission) of the infinity ex would be quite an good step for nissan to sell more cars in europe. the boot is nearly as big, as of a benz e-klasse, which sort of is the german version of a craftsman car. not in the german market thow, but in any other europe market it might be quite interresting.


looks like a "big mama-jammer"! the kind of 'lugger' you need for those long urban journeys, good build quality, plenty of spec, swallows all your goodies including a couple of noisy kids.. in this form not very exciting, but then i'm not sure its trying to be either!? - i wouldn't mind driving one - if i owned one it wouldn't look like this - it ticks those all important "must-have" boxes - i like it though! - thanks for the insight..


Stagea's are just awesome cars. i have had skylines, and VIP style Lexus LS400s.....but now i have a WGC34 Stagea RSfourS (RB24 NEO, 5sp R33 GT-R running gear incl HICAS & ATESSA, LSD etc). lots of cool bits like dual sunroofs (!!) it is the best car i've ever owned in terms of an all round package - it surprises most cars at the lights, loses everything through the turns, and i can sleep in the back! it is lightly modded with GT-R brakes, Trust cooler, GReddy coilovers and Fujtisubo exhaust, and sitting on 19x9s, and puts down around 330awhp - i can send in pics if you want!


Great interior )


T.T how the hell can nissan kill off the Stagea?! it's one of my favorite cars of all time! lol a part of me just died.


Sadly the Stagea has been dead since june 2007.


lovin it jus needs to be banged on sum G37 stockies n tinted out with dat trunk space filled wit JLs....damn America step the game up n bring the worlds goodies hea shit!!!


Man, the Stagea was awesome. But now, The Skyline Crossover replacement is UGLY, just like all the fat and heavy cars being made nowadays. Screw new Nissan designers and their crap.


Lol, I own one of these and mine is the premium version with VQ25-DET so is 2.5 litre turbo with Atessa 4WD, I imported it 8 months ago from Japan with 40,000km's on the clock. It is a great car, definitely the best all round car I have owned. The styling is a bit ick at the rear, but change that and add a bit of edge to the lines and it could be a current model. If Nissan were to bring the Stagea back, they should have a DCT performance model, and introduce it to the Australian and European markets which both love their Wagons/Estates as it would sell a lot better than in Japan.


Let's proceed with more drifting from Ebisu as we immerse ourselves further into pure, unadulterated


Such a great wagon!