UK Car Road Test

Nissan 200 SX Turbo 2001

 Movie Clips of this Car

Exterior Movie Interior Movie

 


Can Nissan sell sports cars or does the badge present too low a rent image.

Try to think of  the Nissan sports cars and most people will complete most of the list

240Z, 260Z,280Z,300ZX, ZX 300 the new Z350 and even the seminal importers dream the various renditions of the super Skyline.

But most will miss  this wee beastie 

Nissans overshadowed and overlooked 200SX coupe

Itís not well-known,so itís great value.

 

Why it did not quite gel with the power mad petrol headed brigade out Im not quite sure.

Alright its a way off perfect as we will detail below but  It packs a fair punch gives an entertaining to say the least drive and promises that Japanese level of reliability  and low running costs that many competitors can but dream of   

From a looks perspective its an okay car, if a little bland compared to what opposition it had.

The most obvious competition was probably FIATS  little and lovely Turbo Coupe, and given for around the same price the FIAT could boast 5mph more top end but more importantly  lop a second off its time too 60 it would be stiff competition indeed though the Nissan does boast classical rear wheel drive rather than the FIATS front.  

What the Nissan could never match though was the stunning look of the little FIAT inside nor out.  This is probably its biggest let down. Not really that its so bad just that some of the opposition was so damn good.  Which is probably why only last week I spied a classic car mag with the FIAT gracing the cover as its modern classic  for discerning buyers to tuck away.

Some describe the styling as "Dull as Dishwater" 

In all fairness the 200SX really is not that bad. It certainly is up there at the very least with the Calibra and well in front of the Probe in looks terms. But even so a couple of bits never look quite right.  The over worked rear light cluster board looks a bit too American. The overhangs look a touch too lengthy, and if you see at the bottom of the page the grill has a slightly toothless grin.

Its also rather colour sensitive though I have to say in this gleam black coat it looks spot on.  I must say too that  the wheels are perfectly judged for the arches filling out the car nicely without going over the top.


If the outside appears as if the designers did not get it quite right, the inside looks like they did not really try. Chopping up a Primera and lobbing in some garishly light leather seats does not cut it really does it. Even the Calibra felt special and not overtly Vauxhall inside.

For the price you would expect a little more glamour and a touch more imagination than i pretend carbon checker inlay around the clocks.

Clocks are erm clear  and erm concise and erm erm thats about it. 

 

Cabin really is nothing special and that's a real shame, Though ergonomically its fine.

Whilst the seats are comfortable there is not much in the way of adjustment and  there isn't much head room if you are 6ft or over.

Alloys are a bit matt and too Nissan generic to really catch the eye as well

 

 

Have you ever come across a badly equipped  Japanese car for the market sector its in. So it would be churlish to believe that the Nissan lacked anything that would actually be used on a regular basis.

That said it is surprising  and almost welcome to see how few of Japans beloved and useless  gizmos made it in too the car. Bar leather and Aircon its almost sportingly spartan for this day and age, which is probably where it was aimed.

Comfort Features
Adjustable Steering Column
Adjustable Steering Column
Front Door Bins
Front Door Bins
Front Head Rest
Front Head Rest
Pollen Filter
Pollen Filter
Remote Boot Release
Remote Boot Release
Remote Petrol Cap Release
Remote Petrol Cap Release
Sports Front Seats
Sports Front Seats
Time Clock
Time Clock
General Features
Colour Coded Bumpers
Colour Coded Bumpers
Electric Aerial
Electric Aerial
Exterior Side Mouldings
Exterior Side Mouldings
Headlamp Wash
Headlamp Wash
Heated Rear Window
Heated Rear Window
Pop-up Headlights
Pop-up Headlights
Tinted Windows
Tinted Windows
Luxury Features
Air Conditioning
Air Conditioning
Cigarette Lighter
Cigarette Lighter
Electric Mirrors
Electric Mirrors
Electric Windows front
Electric Windows front
Leather Steering Wheel
Leather Steering Wheel
Leather Upholstery
Leather Upholstery
Multiplay CD
Multiplay CD
Radio Cassette
Radio Cassette
Trip Counter
Trip Counter

 

 

Feeling the thrust available it certainly  feels quicker than the quoted figures here, perhaps its the Auto box blunting its finite best, though it does allow easy access to a good high percentage of its power most of the time. ( in a staright line at least )  7.5 seconds is not slow and the car feels quicker than that, though combating wheel spin remains a real problem limited slip dif or no.

Service Interval Insurance Group Safety Rating Smog Rating
9000 18 Not Available Band (D)
Engine BHP CC Fuel Inj.
4 Cylinder 16 Valve DOHC Turbo 197 1998 Yes
Cyl Camshafts Valves/cyl Compressor
4 Double 4 Turbo Charger
Top Speed 0 to 60 BHP per Tonne
146mph 7.5seconds 165
MPG@Urban MPG@Cruise MPG@Speed Fuel Type
21.9mpg 36.2mpg 29.1mpg Unleaded
Kerb Weight Tow Weight Length Width Height
1210kg 1275kg 456cm 173cm 129cm
Boot Seats/up Boot Seats/Down Seats
240 Litres 0 Litres 4

 The engine is itself a typically well resolved and solid  Japanese unit  Straight four 16 valves, obligatory double overhead cams and no real trickery other than a turbo tacked on the side.  Power is middling to big with a big hump through the middle but no real off the pipe problems with very little turbo lag it pulls strongly from about 2500rpm, boosting strongly to the red-line.  Im pretty sure they could extract more, embedded in this chassis Im not sure anyone would want too.

The car is that it is still very usable round town despite its long gearing, just keep the revs down and it works fine.

Delivery is refined enough to dull the impression of speed but add in some other road users and or corners and youíll soon realise that this is a very strong perfomer.

The Autobox is slick and smooth and fuss free, just like it should be.  Its main problem is that the combination of turbo and a gearbox that gives less control over revs  gives the chassis a real working over.  Despite the Auto box this is not a car for the lame of brain or insensitive of foot.

 

 

Now we could say here is where it all fall apart but that is really  very unfair.  In most circumstances the 200 SX handles very well, steers very smoothly and competently  even if the light steering is a tad dull.  It grips well  and the ride is pliant and fluent keeping the car flattish but the rubber in solid contact with the tarmac. Just like  a Primera or Civic or some equally well worked out inoffensive modern saloon.  

But this is a pre traction control, rear wheel drive  turbo car chassis,  its only weapons are the puny rear spoiler, Chubby tyred Alloys, All round independent suspension, and the time honored limited slip differential. Beyond that its down to your wit and reactions, for the time when the cars foible rears its head, and believe me its going to show it self daily,  more so if its raining. When the turbo boosts through the big mid range just a sniff too much gas will have the back end coming around  and you will be doing your best impression of Colin McRae.

I'm lucky I was brought up in evil handling cart sprung rear wheel drive Brit barges and get to drive lots of different cars in lots of different configurations. But many out there have never driven anything but front wheel drive, some newer driver don't know about life without traction control. This is not the car for them.  It looks harmless enough with its Nissan emblem  but will push the rear end out with an ease rarely matched by anything I have driven for a long time (the mid engined zx300 came close).

That's not to say its an irretrievable situation, if your bright enough to be aware of the likely hood, you are pre-prepared,  you don't boot it mid corner but feed the power in, it slides anyway the slip dif tightens it up, you correct, its mildly exciting it feels insanely fast, fun in a stupid hooligan. All well and good , but if you get cocky in the wet you are going for a spin almost as certainly as if your driving an early 911 turbo. 

Whilst the back end lives life fast and loose The front end by contrast holds tight into all corners and provides accurate feedback to the steering wheel.

 

Steer/Susp/Tech Features
Alloy Wheels
Alloy Wheels
Catalytic Converter
Catalytic Converter
Disc Brakes Front & Rear
Disc Brakes Front & Rear
Front Fog lamps fitted
Front Fog lamps fitted
Front Spoiler
Front Spoiler
Halogen Head Lights
Halogen Head Lights
Independent Suspension
Independent Suspension
Intermittent Wash Wipe
Intermittent Wash Wipe
Limited Slip Differential
Limited Slip Differential
Power Assisted Steering
Power Assisted Steering
Rear Spoiler
Rear Spoiler
Rev Counter
Rev Counter

 

 

Not exactly the height of  fashion.

 Minor styling effort

Its a bit of a quiet understated thing so the Alarm and immobilisor are probably enough basic security, though its always worth   investing in some more. The obligatory air bags are fitted, but judging by the way this goes sideways the side impact protection would need to be quadrupled before you would be really happy.

Safety/Security Features
Alarm
Alarm
Antilock Braking System
Antilock Braking System
Drivers Airbag
Drivers Airbag
Engine Immobiliser
Engine Immobiliser
Front Twin Airbags
Front Twin Airbags
Pre Tensioned front Seat Belts
Pre Tensioned front Seat Belts
Rear Seat Belts Fitted
Rear Seat Belts Fitted
Remote Central Locking
Remote Central Locking
Side Impact Protection
Side Impact Protection

 

 

 

Whether this car floats your boat depends directly on whether the wayward wagging tail puts you off or turns you on. If you can handle it it can really give you a real exciting ride  and make the car devastatingly quick around corners.

Those who have got past the badge and the styling it would seem are too a man very happy with the SX.

Reports from owners compare the reliability to a stone axe and the servicing cost as relatively trivial for such a high performance car. 

In many ways its so typically Nissan  in that its just such a practical thing, boot is generous for a coupe, and the rear seats do fold down to add an extra level of practicality although the aperture is quite small. Rear seats almost useable and the economy bearable. 

But that perhaps to its down fall, If your in the market for a second hand coupe you want flash , you want brash, you want 250 bhp, you want 300bhp, you want nitrous oxide, you want lighting kits you want body kits.

Am I right or am I right.

The Nissan is a nice car, a solid and a good car but at the end of the day its just overshadowed by its competitors and its own stable mates.  

Hugely capable, but has little true sports car soul or sexy styling.

Still Buying?  Many were bought by mature buyers and as such there are plenty which have been well looked after and offer excellent reliability. However there are also lots that will have been thrashed and modified and as such will be less reliable.

30mpg is perfectly reasonable to expect to achieve and the insurance group  is acceptable for the performance. Parts can be a tad expensive but it is a Nissan, so you shouldn't need them too often.

FSH is a must . A HPI check and inspection is also a good idea to make sure it hasn't been stuffed down a ditch or the turbo's knackered. Ensure that it's always had the right oil on a regular basis - a decent semi-synthetic is required. If not, you will be looking at turbo trouble sooner rather than later and that will be £1500 thank you very much.

 


 

Sample data Click here to access specifications for over 30,000 UK cars. 

Car information and car pictures.

Many more used car road tests. 

 

For all Nissan cars specifications and data from:
www.ukcar.com click here.

UK Car Road Test Nissan 200 SX Turbo 2001

UK Car Road Test Keywords: Sports Auto200 SX Turbo