Used 1997 Nissan 240SX Review
Edmunds expert review
What's new for 1997
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.
Edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.