Nissan Motors introduced their hatchback coupe in 1989 as Nissan 180SX. However, it was also marketed as a fastback by Nissan in many countries. It shared its chassis with the S13 derived from Nissan S platform. The 180SX was marketed in Japan as well as some other markets as 200SX.
Model Nomenclature and Markets
The 180SX was marketed as the Nissan 240SX in the North American market. It was regarded as the sister model of the Nissan Silvia sold from 1989to 1998. Although, the production of S13 was ceased in 1993, the 180SX continued to be sold for the full length of next generation Silvia. Unlike S13, the 180SX featured pop-up headlights and a liftgate. Both were similar in specifications and equipment except for the naturally aspirated CA18DE engine which was not offered in 180SX.
Initially the 180SX came with 1.8-L CA18DE engine, which was upgraded to 2.0-L model in 1991. The new engine was offered in two variants including: the naturally aspirated SR20DE engine and the turbocharged SR20DET engine. Despite the larger displacement of new engine, the 180SX name retained.
In European market, the 180SX was sold as a trim level of the S110 Silvia. The badge used was read as ‘Silvia 180SX’. It was not essentially an 180SX but a Silvia’s version. There were certain other variations of 180SX which were sold in Micronesia and South pacific islands. For instance, a left-hand drive version was sold under 180SX badge and with non-retractable headlights.
Compared to the Japanese 180SX SR20DET variant, European and South African models of the S13 chassis were sold as 200SX despite the fact that they all came with CA18DET engine.
The 180SX saw three generations: the first generation appeared in 1989, the second remained from 1991 to 1996 and with the third generation, the production of 180SX was ceased in December 1998.
The first generation 180SX was launched in 1989. It was introduced in two versions including: Type I (Standard) and Type II (Advanced). The Type II was offered with an option of Nissan’s HICAS II four-wheel steering system. Both versions came equipped with CA18DET engine rated at 175 PS and mated to either a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission.
In January 1991, the second generation 180SX was launched. It received several modifications and changes including the introduction of new SR20DET engine rated 205 PS. Despite the new engine, company decided to go with the 180SX nomenclature. The second generation 1480SX came with larger brakes and also offered with limited slip differential. It also received a revised front bumper and interior equipment. The second generation was also offered in Type I and Type II versions with some mild trim variations. Unlike the previous generation versions, the second generation versions received 15-inch allow wheels. It also features Nissan’s Super HICAS four-wheel steering as an option in both models. The transmissions were retained from the previous models, i.e. 5-speed manual and 4-speed automatic.
In January 1992, a facelift was released. The looks and specifications of the facelift model remained the same, but a new trim level was released with it in the form of Type III. Two optional features were made available as well including: electronic climate control and CD audio. In 1994, another facelift was released and this time the names of trim levels were revised as Type R and Type X, where Type X being top of the line model. There were no major changes in this facelift. 1995 saw yet another facelift model of second generation 180SX. This facelift featured a driver’s side airbags and alloy wheels.
The third generation 180SX was introduced in August 1996. The third generation came with redesigned front bumper, taillights, 15-inch wheels and interior enhancements. Some of the other features introduced were: a driver’s side airbag, seat belt pre-tensioners, and some changes in the wiring and ECU. For third generation, three trim levels were available: Type X, Type S and Type R. Type S was the only trim level available without turbocharged engine.
Although, Type X and Type R came with same 205 PS engine and several specifications, Type R missed many of the aesthetic modifications like front lip, rear spoiler, side steps and 15-inch alloy wheels. A naturally-aspirated SR20DE engine was used in Type S trim generating 140 PS. Like top of the line trim Type X, it didn’t feature Nissan’s Super HICAS four-wheel steering system.
In October 1997, Nissan discontinued the production of both Type X and Type R trims, but the Type S trim along with another new naturally aspirated version called the Type G remained in production until the December 1998 when the production of 180SX was officially stopped.