Off the back of the utter glee one can experience when at the wheel of a 300bhp 6-cylinder Volvo V60 T6, we have been bitten by the ‘super-wagon’ bug and it’s leaving terrible inflammations all over us.
Rather than rubbing dock leaves on them, the only treatment is more big powerful estates. And of the big powerful estates, one has appealed to my inner idiot for longer than any other – the Nissan Stagea RS4.
Never heard of it? Well that makes sense, it was never officially imported to the UK, but there are a few knocking about on eBay. The Stagea was introduced to the Japanese domestic market to compete with the likes of the Subaru Legacy wagon.
Now as we all know, the Legacy is an appealing car. Versatile, spacious and powerful, with a lovely boxer burble to accompany your travels. The Stagea is a different prospect, really. It’s more butch and meaner looking, particularly in RS4 trim.
But most important of all is what lies beneath. The RS4 is powered by a Nissan RB25DET engine. For all you non-geeks out there, that’s a 2.5litre turbocharged straight-six, the same engine fitted to the Skyline GT-R, which produces around 280bhp in standard tune.
The similarities to the Skyline don’t end with the engine, either. It’s got all-wheel drive, all-wheel steering, and the potential for 700+ bhp. It’s an absolute monster.
If you want one, head over to eBay and have a look – prices range from £1,600 to over £6,000 – but don’t pay too much. Servicing is simple, and without major performance enhancements the engine is pretty bulletproof. JDM parts are fairly easy to get hold of through specialists, too, so no need to worry there.
When you stop to think that Skyline GT-Rs from that era can fetch thousands more and are much less practical and much more conspicuous, the Stagea makes a lot of sense.
The transmission is usually a four speed auto, but a 5 speed manual was available. The Stagea is a well equipped car, with deep pile carpets, comfortable and supportive seats and full electrics. It’s docile when off boost, too, so is easy enough to handle when you’re carrying boxes of eggs or fragile passengers, and yet it’s also capable of hitting 60mph in about 7 seconds.
We like this car. A lot.