The concept was inspired by the Lancia Megagamma show car from Giorgetto Giugiaro and ItalDesign, shown in 1979. Nissan, at the time, was very keen to have "European" styling for its cars.
It was originally launched with a 1.5 L I4 engine and a 1.8 L engine followed later in the car's life, as did a four wheel drive version.
The first generation Prairies, while innovative, had undesirable body characteristics when driven hard, due to the removal of the B-pillar.
The 1986 until 1988, Nissan Multi (in Canada) or Stanza Wagon (in the United States) was equipped with a 2-litre in-line 4 cylinder engine, with available manual or automatic transmissions. Available with front wheel drive or four wheel drive, the vehicle had rear passenger sliding doors on both sides of the vehicle, and a folding rear seat, designed to increase the carrying capacity of the passenger compartment. The rear tailgate opened upwards as one complete unit, in a similar fashion to a hatchback or station wagon.