Nissan 180sx vs 240sx: What Are the Real Difference?

Among the best sports cars ever made by Nissan are the 180SX and 240SX. These need no introduction as they are the go-to for drifting and any JDM classic enthusiast. At a glance, these two may look very similar, but in truth, they feature some dissimilarities. 

The primary difference between the 180SX and 240SX Nissan models is the market. The 180SX was built exclusively for the Japanese market, while the 240SX was for the US market. Besides that, they differ in appearance, engines, models, and design. 

This article paints a clear picture of the differences between the Nissan 180SX and 240SX. Moreover, it delves deeper into the same to help you learn more about the brand and models.

What Is the History of Nissan Sx?

nissan 180sx and 240sx

While some brands and models are awe-inspiring, others stir up an inspiring debate. The Nissan SX models do both. They are one family of cars that have received the most attention and the most heated discussions on cars.

Nissan enthusiasts from all over the world are fond of analyzing the two in a bid to decipher certain aspects. We shall start with the background information on the Nissan 240SX and 180SX.

The 180SX models made their debut in 1989 following the popular Nissan Silvia and ceased production shortly after in 1999, marking the entry-level sports car by Nissan. They all featured an iconic S-chassis as their foundation.

The models came into the market with a bang unparalleled by other sport-worthy vehicles. Firstly, they were designed with a rear-wheel configuration that ensured they deliver superb performance. 

Moreover, their drivers got to enjoy the agile and dynamic handling that was not so common at the time. They had engine swap options so you could use them in different capacities as well as interchangeable parts so you could spruce it up depending on need. 

What Is the Difference Between the Nissan 180sx and 240sx?

Many have wondered why Nissan decided to name the two models differently when they are inherently alike. But if you look closer, there are certain differences that make each model stand out.

Key Factors180SX 240SX
Market JapanUSA
Engine CA18DETKA24E
Valvetrain DOHCSOHC 
Fuel capacity 1.8l2.4l
Power 170hp140hp
Torque 166lb-ft 152lb-ft 


The main dissimilarity when it comes to Nissan 180SX and 240SX is the market. While the 180SX was made for the Japanese market, the 240SX was for the US market.

There is also a European model referred to as 200SX. Other differences arise from the fact that there are some domestic standards that a car should meet before being allowed on the international market. 


Besides being built and sold as sports cars, the two vehicles share some noticeable aesthetic similarities. However, their engines were from two different companies. The 180SX sported the CA18DET 1.8l engine that equipped it with 170hp and 166lb-ft torque. On the other hand, the 240SX featured the KA24E 2.4l engine which offered bigger displacement. It delivered up to 140hp and 152lb-ft torque. 

The other difference was on the valvetrain. The 180SX featured the DOHC while the 240SX had SOHC. Over the years, the 180SX was unbeatable when it came to engines. 

Models and Design

At first, one could argue that US drivers had an advantage. This was sole because the 240SX was available as a fastback and coupe, offering them freedom of choice. Conversely, the 180SX, being the sportier version of Nissan Silvia, was only as fastback. As years went by, American drivers enjoyed yet another version—the convertible. 

When it comes to design, there were a few differences. For instance, the 180SX has a striking air intake turbocharger—something that the 240SX did not have. 

Aesthetic Changes

For the most part, the two cars were aesthetically similar. However, by 1994, they took different directions, with the 180SX adopting a more dynamic and athletic, slightly aggressive appearance. The 240SX looked more pedestrian. 

The 180SX lost its pig-nose front end for a more sleek and sporty design to increase aerodynamic performance. They later added alloy wheels with the final face-lift in 1996 featuring more racing-look features such as updated taillights, rear spoiler, and trims. 

The 240SX was in retrograde from the aggressive athleticism. In 1991, it was a convertible version with new shiny aluminum 7-spoke wheels with a smoothed-out nose. 

Turbo and Other Features

The turbo is one of the notable differences between these two models. The 180SX engines (both the CA18DET and SR20DET) came turbocharged from the factory, the 240SX did not. Hence, the 240SX was more of a disguise than a sports/racing car. On the brighter side, the 240SX came with automatic restraint seatbelts, compared to the standard seatbelts on the 180SX. 

Moreover, the 180SX featured digital climate control which felt futuristic at the time. The 240SX did not. 


The Nissan 240SX delivers to expectations. This vehicle is a reliable car in performance with regular maintenance. It is well-designed and feature-packed with all features a racing car may require. Still, you can opt to swap some of its interchangeable parts to make it even more suited for its purpose.

Yes, the 240SX makes for a first good car, particularly for drifting/racing activities. These cars come fitted with high-quality parts that make them well-suited for their purpose. Moreover, they have stood the test of time, and still remain durable and reliable. 

Nissan ceased production of the 240SX in 1999. There are hardly any more models left. Moreover, finding one with the particular body style as the original model is difficult, making them rare species. The remaining have been revamped and have taken on different styles with new parts. 

The value of used 1990 Nissan 240SX and 180SX cars range between $341 and $2177. This value is likely to vary depending on mileage, conditions, and options. 

Final Thoughts

The 240SX and 180SX were one of the best-selling models by Nissan. People’s continued passion for the models is not unfounded. They offer great performance and reliability even with years of use. 

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