Before It Was a Drift Missile, the 1995 Nissan 240SX Was Aimed at Single Professional Women

Safe, balanced handling, for 28 miles to the gallon—and a different target demographic than people may remember today.

Nissan USA

Nissan's S platform started bringing rear-wheel-drive joy to the world starting in the 1970s. Yet by the time the 1995 240SX was ready for the market, the sports coupe remained the last RWD option in a valley of front-drive compacts in America. However, the insurance-friendly and fuel-efficient 240SX brought a number of improvements to the table for the second half of the 1990s, including a more refined 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, optional anti-lock brakes, and improved side-impact protection.

For that year, the pop-up headlights and hatchback body style disappeared. They were replaced by a more rounded shape offering an 8.5 cubic-feet trunk, 16-inch alloys with the higher trims, and a zero-to-sixty run in 7.3 seconds. Looking at these specs and the 240SX's base price of $16,999 for 1995, Nissan's U.S. branch aimed the car at single professional women—not the JDM superfans who discovered Japanese drift Silvias browsing forums on Internet Explorer.

Nissan USA

That generation of 240SX is the star of the latest MotorWeek retro review, and it's a reminder that before it was a tuner and drift racer favorite, the car was part of a once-lucrative sporty coupe market aimed at women buyers with money to spend. Today, that demo has been almost completely supplanted by crossovers, and affordable "sport coupes" in general are almost impossible to find. Was it a better time? Some say yes.  

With a softer suspension, longer wheelbase and slight increase in weight, the 1995 S14 may have been less athletic than its predecessor, yet Nissan's sports coupe remained just as ready for engine swaps, chassis tweaks, and all the usual tricks of the drifting and entry-level racing scene. Then The Fast and the Furious franchise took tuner culture mainstream, making bone stock 240s even more difficult to find by the mid-2000s.

Packed with all the options from the factory, the 1995 Nissan 240SX SE's 155 horsepower and 160 pound-feet of torque were only enough for a quarter-mile run in 15.5 seconds.

As MotorWeek explains, the EPA rated the 240SX at 22 city and 28 highway, while its program averaged 28 mpg during the mixed loop. For such a combination of good handling, sporty looks, and everyday practicality, Nissan charged $20,679 for the SE trim, or over $23,000 for a fully loaded unit.

Discontinued after 1998 in America, this platform evolved into the S15 Silvia/200SX for Japan, Australia, and New Zealand, where it lived in right-hand-drive from until 2002. Just three more years until they're eligible for import, America. 

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