|The Nissan Prairie was introduced in Japan in 1981 and Europe in 1982 and was the first production multi-purpose vehicle (MPV), if the Fiat Multipla of the 1950s is not counted. It was also known as the Multi in Canada and the Stanza Wagon in the U.S.. It, and the 1983 Mitsubishi Chariot, predated "mini-MPVs" such as the Renault Scenic and Opel Zafira by some 15 years.
The Prairie was one of the first "crossover" cars, resembling a tall station wagon with sliding doors. It was commonly ordered with five seats, though seven were available. It was the size of one of today's small SUVs.
The concept was inspired by the Lancia Megagamma show car from Giorgetto Giugiaro and ItalDesign, shown in 1979. Italian design arguably also inspired the Nissan March, which is considered by some to be too close to the Fiat Uno in its "tall" concept and execution. Nissan, at the time, was very keen to have "European" styling for its cars.