The Nissan NX is a budget sports coupe that was manufactured by Nissan during the early 1990s. It used the Japanese automaker’s B13 platform, which was also used by the Sentra and Sunny at the time. The nameplate NX is derived from the Nissan Pulsar NX, from which the coupe evolved. It was basically a combination of the Nissan Sunny and the Nissan Pulsar, manufactured during the late 1980s.
When the Nissan NX was introduced in 1991, it replaced the Pulsar NX, and it signified a huge departure from the low-budget sports coupe before it. Although it had the same chassis as the Nissan Sentry sedan, it had a two-door, hatchback-like design. In 1992, the car came with a Power Package with electric door locks and windows as well as cruise control. In 1993, the car got a standard T-bar roof that was previously an option and seen in the top-end models alone. Over the years of its production, the car received very few changes, and most of its specifications, including engine specs, remained the same.
Regardless of the year and model, the Nissan NX has a very sporty look in keeping with its sports coupe genes, great sound ergonomics in the cabin, and good fuel economy for a coupe. The car has a very nimble feel to it because of its small size and light weight. It was launched in two models: the base NX1600 and the top-end NX2000.
The NX1600 lacks the punch and exhilaration present in the higher-end NX2000 because of the engine difference and the fact that it has a softer suspension and skinnier tires. When behind the wheel of the NX1600, the driver can expect slightly above average ride quality when compared to other sports coupes of its class during the time. However, it lacks the responsiveness and energy of the NX2000. Both cars feel solid even when pushed hard, and they retain that stability even with the T-top removed.
Handling is better in the NX2000, but not by a large margin. Both models have ergonomically shaped bucket seats that support and embrace the driver. Up front, the gauges, instruments, and controls are placed neatly within easy view and reach of the driver; however, visibility is not so great because of the low position of the seat. Space is more than adequate up front; even tall passengers have adequate legroom and headroom. However, like most other small sports coupes, the Nissan NX has a cramped rear bench that is hardly suitable for anyone but a young child. The bench can thankfully be folded down to make more space for luggage though. The high rear sill makes it difficult to reach the bench, and the boot can only fit a couple small bags.
The T-top, or targa top, and the unique styling with sharp aerodynamics made this model very popular, even though it had a rather short life of only a few years. The cabin of the car is very similar to that of the Pulsar. Over the years, the car went through some small cosmetic changes but largely remained the same. Dwindling sales triggered its cancellation and the introduction of the 200SX turbo.
Throughout its production cycle, the Nissan NX was available with two engines, depending on the specific model. The NX2000 came with a twin cam, 2.0L, 4-cylinder engine that delivered around 105kW. The same engine was used in the Infiniti G20 and Sentra SE-R at the time. The NX1600 came with a 1.6L 4-cylinder engine that delivered 82kW. Of course, the names of these models were derived from the engine displacement. Both models came with a 5-speed manual transmission as standard and a 4-speed automatic transmission as an option.
The NX2000 not only had the bigger engine but also a firmer and sportier suspension and bigger tyres and wheels than the NX1600. It also had viscous limited slip differential and rear disc brakes, both of which were not present in the NX1600. Early models had an optional T-bar roof, but after a few years, they were made standard.
Although the NX2000 had a sportier performance than the smaller NX1600, neither of them had much of a punch in their engine below the 3,500rpm mark. With the automatic transmission, the 2.0L engine under the bonnet of the NX2000 had to be throttled hard to get the car going in city traffic.
The manual transmission is a better option because shifting is easier, and the manual NX1600 is preferred for general rides around the city with fast merging and passing through open roads. One of the best things about this coupe is its fuel consumption, which is around 8.55L/100km for the manual transmission. Braking performance is decent as well, and it gets better with anti-lock braking installed.
The standard kit available on the Nissan NX includes air-conditioning, power windows and doors, and other basics. The options available changed a little over the course of production, and some models have heated seats, electric windows, and, in rare cases, cup holders.
The Nissan NX competed with a number of small sports coupes, most of which were from Korea and Japan. The NX1600 and Toyota Paseo were in direct competition, and the NX also had rivals like the Hyundai Scoupe and Mitsubishi Eclipse. The NX has a slight edge over its competitors in terms of performance, but not so much in terms of ride quality.