Used 1997 Nissan 240SX Coupe Review
In 1990, the Nissan corporate think tank was in high gear, producing some of the most fun-to-drive cars of any carmaker on the planet. In quick succession, Nissan dealers received new model after new model, all of them exhibiting a brash, in-your-face personality and suave good looks. The Nissan 240SX was no exception to the rule. The car was engineered with eager young drivers in mind. To keep the insurance companies at bay, a twin-cam four cylinder was the sole powerplant available. For tail-out good times, Nissan opted for rear-wheel drive on the 240, and then designed a graceful body that could be had as a coupe or hatchback. Later, a convertible was offered. The 240SX was an instant hit, particularly in hatchback form.
In 1995, Nissan fiddled with the formula. Gone is the popular hatchback. Gone is the convertible. Gone are low prices. Gone is the brash personality. The Nissan 240SX has moved Uptown, baby. It retains rear-wheel drive and the twin-cam four. It retains speedy performance. It retains suave good looks. But in trying to become a mini Infiniti, the Nissan 240SX has lost its magical charm.
This doesn't mean it's a bad car. The Nissan 240SX should do rather well with people who find the more refined, V6-equipped Mazda MX-6 LS unsatisfactory. Inside, the 240SX displays excellent ergonomics, with rich leather seating surfaces an extra-cost frill. Load on the options, and the 240SX SE approaches $28,000.
Time for a wake-up call, Nissan. Mazda's MX-6 LS V6 performs better, costs appreciably less when fully equipped, and is prettier to look at than the 240SX SE. And for those of us paying off school loans, the new Nissan 200SX, based on the Sentra, is closer to the original 240 in execution and price than this wannabe luxo-coupe.