Nissan calls it the 240SX.
Better you should refer to it as the baby Z.
Nissan dumped the 200SX designation-along with the car-and came up with the all new 240SX for 1989.
The subcompact SX coupe was resized, restyled and renamed the 240, with the number referring to the 2.4-liter, 12-valve, 140-horsepower, 4-cylinder engine. Psychologically, the 240 designation was used to associate the new car with the original 240Z sports model that proved to be so successful for the Japanese automaker.
That 240Z has evolved into the 300ZX, which also was resized, restyled and re-energized for 1989.
The old 200SX looked sporty but didn`t act it. The 240SX looks and acts like a performance machine. Somewhat a 300ZX in miniature.
The 240SX comes in two versions, the SE fastback (Autos, Oct. 18, 1988) with sharply slanted roof line and the XE notchback with a stand-up formal roof line. We test drove the XE.
In either body style, the 240SX is an attention-grabber. Up front, body- colored wraparound bumpers, concealed headlamps and an air dam provide a clean, crisp but powerful look. In back, the slightly raised, slightly rounded deck also sports body-colored wraparound bumpers.
The 2.4-liter 4 is lively, and one reason the SX performs very Z like. A five-speed manual is standard, a four-speed automatic with overdrive controlled by a push button on the gear lever is optional. Our test car was equipped with automatic, a quiet unit didn`t seem to rob the 2.4 of its pep.
Where the 240 stands out is in ride and handling. Lots of cars look sporty, few have the road manners of the 240SX. It hugs the pavement without wavering in or out of a tight corner or turn. The 15-inch, all-season, steel- belted radial tires grip the pavement. Four-wheel, fully independent suspension and front and rear stabilizer bars smooth rough spots.
The power steering requires very little effort. Turn the wheel, and the car responds quickly and accurately. The driver is in control, no...