1990 Nissan 180sx – Reviewed

JDM cars here in America are in right now. The experience of driving cars that were never meant to be here is something special and something that every car enthusiast should experience. What’s even cooler, at least to me, are cars that we did get here, but not 100%. That is the case with the Nissan 180sx. Here in the US we got the 240sx which is the same chassis with the steering wheel on the opposite side of the car. There are also some significant differences between the 240sx and 180sx, which we will talk about now.


The 1990 Nissan 180sx has a 1.8L turbo charged inline four cylinder and 5 speed manual transmission. The engine is a CA18, which was only offered for two years of the 180sx. What makes it so interesting is that here in the US we got a 2.4L inline four, known as the KA, that didn’t have a turbo. While the 180sx wasn’t that much faster than the 240sx, the factory turbo opened up a lot more tuning and customization options. The turbo engine also offers a better pull higher in the rev range as opposed to the 240sx. The 5 speed manual is nothing special. The clutch is light and easily manageable, and the shifter is notchy.


The interior is pretty mundane, like most Nissans from the same era. One notable feature is the automatic climate control, which was never offered in America. There is a small vent by the shifter that senses the temperature inside the car. The system then adjusts the temperature on its own to keep the driver and occupants comfortable.


The 180sx is similar to the 240sx, and yet is not at the same time. The 180sx felt superior to the 240sx, but maybe that’s just my American mind wishing I grew up in japan in the late 80s.



Written by Zack Pradel