Nissan NX Coupe

28 Jan 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Nissan NX Coupe
Nissan 100NX

David Morley

Still a fast and flashy performer

Performance coupes are a Nissan staple in this country, from the original 240Z to the current 350Z and the gone-but-not-forgotten 200SX.

But the company has also given us a steady supply of sporty little coupes too. Who could forget the original EXA, with its boxy styling and fiery little turbocharged engine?

Then there was the normally aspirated EXA, first with 1.6-litre and then 1.8-litre power and a smoother but still square-rigged body shell, with a targa top that amounted to a removable sunroof with a single fixed strip of metal down the middle of the car.

In many ways, the EXA’s successor, the NX Coupe, was more of the same, but it was a better car and is now probably the cheapest way to get into a Nissan with the vaunted SR20 engine.

Why is the SR20 so valued by those in the know? Mainly because it’s proved to be a torquey performer and almost bulletproof into the bargain.

It’s not the smoothest or most sophisticated-feeling engine, but with 105 kW at its disposal and decent torque (or pulling power), it’s a strong performer. And with four valves per cylinder and double-overhead camshafts, it presses the right buttons for the technically minded.

The NX Coupe was launched in 1991 and was available in NX and NX-R versions. A two-door coupe with low-slung profile, its other details were less convincing and included odd, oval headlights and odd curves and angles. But it was certainly an improvement on the EXA and so was seen as a reasonable looking thing.

It also retained the targa-roof arrangement, which gave it an extra dimension in fine weather, although stashing the removable roof panels gobbled up much of the luggage space, making topless jaunts a short-haul proposition.

Interior space generally was at a premium and while front-seat passengers are well catered for, anybody unfortunate enough to spend more than a few minutes in the back seat will soon be looking for an excuse to stop.

That said, the driving position is quite good and the instruments well laid out. The only jarring note is the interior plastics, typical of their time, that just don’t have a look or feel of quality.

In its most basic NX form, the Nissan was fairly sparse by modern standards, with nothing much more than power mirrors and a basic stereo to recommend it.

So the smart buy now is the more upmarket NX-R, which looks all but identical but also has alloy wheels, cruise control, central locking, power windows and a rear spoiler.

You also get anti-lock brakes, which single-handedly justifies the small price difference between the NX and NX-R.

The NX’s compact exterior dimensions make it a reasonably light-weight vehicle, which, combined with the torquey engine, adds up to reasonable quickness, even today.

The five-speed manual is the most fun – those bought the thing with the optional four-speed automatic were mostly missing the point.

The front-wheel-drive layout meant there was a small amount of torque-steer (a tendency for the steering wheel to tug at the driver’s hands under hard acceleration), but beyond that, there was a lot to like.

The low centre of gravity made cornering fairly flat, and the Nissan could reward the driver who was prepared to make an effort.

An outright sports car it was not, but as an entertaining car that was easy to live with for the other six days of the week, the NX had a fair bit going for it.

Nissan 100NX

The engine has proved rugged and the biggest thing to watch for is a rattling timing chain that suggests either it has covered a billion miles or has been starved of clean oil – or both. Even so, the chain will rattle for years before it finally gives up the ghost, and isn’t a pleasant noise.

Watch for crash damage and try to learn about the car’s history and who might have owned it.

A heavily modified NX is probably best given a wide berth unless you know precisely what you’re looking at.

Be aware that insurance companies will probably be wary of any modified example.

On the basis that the last of the NXs are now turning 10, the newer the car you buy the better.

That’s only as a general rule, of course, because we’d always plump for an older car with fewer kilometres and a good service history attached.

Based though it may have been on the humble Nissan Pulsar, the NX and NX-R offered a fair amount of dash for the cash, and if you can find a good clean one, it won’t have changed much.

Despite even the newest NXs and NX-Rs now being a decade old, you can pay $10,000 or more for a good, clean one. That’s a bit pricey, so maybe an older example with a service record is the way to go.

The competition

Honda’s Integra is a classy but more expensive alternative, as is a Toyota Celica from the same era.

You could also look at a Peugeot 205GTi, but most are now probably worn out.

Prices and details correct at time of publication.

Nissan 100NX
Nissan 100NX
Nissan 100NX
Nissan 350Z
Nissan NX-Coupe
Nissan NX-Coupe
Nissan NX-Coupe
Nissan NX-Coupe
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