Nissan 240SX

The Nissan 240SX is a sporty compact that arrived in the 1989 model year. It replaced the 200SX and was made exclusively in Japan, although it sold in many markets. It uses Nissan’s S platform and is not actually related to the 240Z from the 70s despite the similarity of their names.

More on the Nissan 240SX
Nissan 240SX Origins

The 240SX’s production period presented certain difficulties to Nissan. Especially difficult was the market for entry-level coupes. Many Japanese automakers entered the fray at this time and buyers of this particular class of cars didn’t feel the need for loyalty. Such factors created an environment where finding a way to stand out ensured survival. The 240SX stands out from the competition as a rear-wheel drive performance car in a class dominated by front-wheel drive vehicles.

Sales were good through the early years of production, and the 240SX built a following because of the sheer driving entertainment it provided. Quick and agile with a smart weight distribution, this coupe offers a glimpse into the performance future of light cars with small engines that produce decent torque and decent thrills.

The first generation lasted from the model’s introduction in 1989 to 1994. These cars are pure performers and even draw comparisons to the Porsche 944. This is groundbreaking praise for an Asian sports car, and driving enthusiasts take note. Changes and updates in 1991 separate the first generation cars into two groups. These cars come in coupe or fastback body styles, and all of the first generation models receive praise for handling, but lack power.

The second generation lasted from 1995 to 1998. For reasons unknown, possibly changing tastes or an over-competitive class, Nissan dubbed this generation of 240SX vehicles an affordable luxury coupe. This model does not emphasize performance, and previous advantages such as the rear-wheel drive and the independent suspension no longer bolster public perception. Maybe the competition caught up. Maybe the change in design ideal and advertising emphasis took a toll. No matter the cause, the last 240SX rolled off the assembly line in 1998 ending the successful sport coupe’s production run.

About the Nissan 240SX

This car gains recognition for its great handling, but it lacks power. At a time when sports cars gained popularity, the 240SX was well-received enough to stand out and sell. By the second generation of production, it lost its way in terms of focus, and the competition ramped up. While it earned praise early on, later models were a disappointment. Now that enough time has passed to allow for historical judgment with all factors and data calculated, the 240SX is relegated to the status of a competent used coupe. Other models of the time such as the Acura Integra, Honda Prelude, or Mitsubishi Eclipse, offer better choices for buyers seeking a low cost, used sports car from this time period.

What began as a design with potential soon fell to the competition and never tuned up or evolved into something that continued to impress. For these reasons the 240SX has an odd reputation as a would-be champion that found its stride and suffered from misguided design choices; failing to follow through on its original intent. The changes from generation to generation in the 240SX caused it to lose its way.

The 240SX is gone but not forgotten. The popular compact still lives on in the used market. Nissan still makes cars of this style and in the same class once occupied by the 240SX. Those buyers interested in this type of vehicle should research the available choices.

Nissan 240SX Evolution

The first generation 240SX cars come in coupe and fastback body styles. These models have inline-four engines and a plethora of options available. Changes in 1991 improved horsepower and added more options.

The second-generation cars categorize as luxury coupes and lose the performance focus. These models only come as coupes and changes from year to year involve styling and appearance, with little to no changes in hardware.

Select a Nissan 240SX Year

1998 Nissan 240SX

Coupe, Sports

The Nissan 240SX bounces around from being a sports coupe to a luxury coupe, depending on the model year.

1997 Nissan 240SX

Coupe, Sports

The 1997 Nissan 240SX is a rear-drive, two-door coupe that has both respectable gas mileage and an attractive appearance.

1996 Nissan 240SX

Coupe, Sports

The 1996 Nissan 240SX uses rear drive and a two-door coupe design that has both respectable gas mileage and an attractive appearance.

1995 Nissan 240SX

Coupe, Sports

The 1995 Nissan 240SX is totally redesigned as it enters its second generation as a coupe only, abandoning the hatchback and convertible versions from the original series.