Nissan 200SX Origins
The 200SX made its first appearance in the U.S. in 1977. This first generation was produced through 1988. This included the rear drive Silvia S-series: the S10, S11 and S12.But this would later be rebranded in the U.S. as the 240SX from the S13 model onward. The 200SX badge would then be reintroduced as the two-door version of the Nissan Sentra from 1994 to 1998. About the Nissan 200SX
The 200SX designation caused quite a bit of confusion amongst motoring enthusiasts in various international markets. Even with conventional drivers, the 200SX label was always associated with a pure sports car in the late 1970s and early 1980s. While the two-door Sentra was marketed as the sportier version of the base model, the desired sports car image did not immediately catch on. It was only in the late 1990s, after knowledge of Nissan’s performance engines became widely known due to the growth of the aftermarket industry that the sporty reputation of the two-door Sentra caught on.
The late model 200SX could be purchased with Nissan’s famed SR20DE performance engine, which was also used in all late S-series Silvia models in foreign markets. But the 240SX ironically used a less powerful and less popular 2.4-liter engine. As a result, focus towards the SR20DE powered 200SX grew and many performance enthusiasts used the 200SX as a track car, utilizing it in many professional and semi-pro competitions.
During a time when imports in the U.S. were quite expensive and it was difficult to approve emissions testing, the 200SX, which was locally manufactured in Tennessee, gave the U.S. domestic market easy access to the SR20DE engine. Due to a high demand, many aftermarket performance companies built custom turbo systems, transforming this engine to an SR20DET. This gave the car comparable performance to that seen in the S-series Silvia models from other foreign markets.
Through the 1990s, popularity of the Nissan 200SX continued to soar. Even after its production stopped after 1998, the 200SX is still seen gracing the pages of many magazines and driving in many popular video games such as ""Need For Speed: Underground."" This was one of the most-notable examples of its cult status. Nissan 200SX Features
The Nissan 200SX was officially classified as a sport coupe and was offered as a base SE model and a sportier SE-R version. There were not any major exterior differences between the two sub models. Both shared the same front and rear-end design. Both were front-wheel drive and both shared a nearly identical interior, aside from a few additions on the dashboard and center-console in the SE-R version. The majority of the body design and interior dimensions came from the Nissan Sentra.
The SE base model was equipped with a twin-cam1.6-liter four-cylinder engine, while the SE-R had an upgraded 140 hp 2.0-liter engine widely used in Nissan’s performance car circuits. Each model had the option of either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. Dual airbags were standard on both models. Optional features such as anti-lock brakes and air-conditioning were available for both the SE and SE-R variants.
Unlike most sport coupes released during the 1990s, the Nissan 200SX offered plenty of room in the backseat and cargo area when compared to other cars in its class. Both the SE and SE-R versions sat on the same chassis and suspension configuration, but many drivers expressed better handling and less body-roll with the SE-R model. Experts have credited the SR20DE engine’s balance and quick response on the throttle when exiting corners as the main reason for its better handling. However, the SE-R model has a bouncier ride when compared to the SE because of the latter’s smoother engine behavior.
As one of the few vehicles in the mid-1990s to sport a twin-cam engine, the fuel economy of the Nissan 200SX was outstanding when compared to its competitors. The improvement in efficiency from the dual-overhead cam profiles was most noticeable when driving long highway-type miles. The white-faced gauges in the instrument cluster were a huge hit amongst enthusiasts. Before production ceased, the final model built in 1998 received new headlights and sportier body accents like a front lip and rear spoiler. Nissan 200SX Evolution
When Nissan reintroduced the 200SX to the U.S. market, it was essentially a two-door version of the Nissan Sentra. It used the same B14 chassis and was fitted with front-wheel drive. This vehicle replaced the discontinued Nissan Sentra coupe and the Nissan NX, which stopped production in 1993.
In 1996, the only changes to the 200SX were new paint color options and newly designed mirrors and door panels. In 1997, however, Nissan added rear spoilers on both the SE and SE-R sub models, and the interiors were made identical in both variants. Moreover, the SE-R models of this series had to be recalled, as the SR20DE engine did not meet emissions requirements. The problem was immediately remedied and all subsequent models manufactured were up to standard by 1998.