I have owned my Nissan 200SX (S14) since 2000 and it impresses me as much today as it did back then.
With rear-wheel drive and a 5-speed manual, its 2-litre, double overhead camshaft turbocharged engine makes the hairs stand up on the back of your neck when you drop it back a gear and plant the foot. That feel of the adrenaline rush between 2nd and 3rd gear at around 4000 – 5000rpm makes you realise you are alive.
Without any boost modifications, it easily revs to 7000rpm, but watch the fuel gauge rapidly move. Cruising around town and with only the occasional burst of speed, you will find that the economy is incredibly good at 7-litres per 100 kilometres.
Whilst 147kW is not a large output compared with cars of today, it is the entire package of turbo acceleration, superb handling, direct cornering and the snug feel in the drivers seat which creates the illusion of so much more. This is a true drivers car – there are no airbags, ABS or ESC – it requires old-fashioned driving skills to feel the road and car and bring them in harmony with each other. The faster you go, the less the speed is noticeable, and if it wasn’t for trees flashing past at great knots, you wouldn’t realise how fast you were actually travelling.
Just ask any Nissan enthusiast and they will agree that the SR20DET engine in the 200SX is the ultimate engine for modifying for both street driving and on the track. Commonly used in drift cars, the engine is strong, the parts readily available and the envy of so many.
On the down side, it is a selfish car for only one passenger. Whilst there is a back seat, as long as your rear passengers don’t have legs, they may squash in. There are no cup holders or Bluetooth, and driver comforts are limited, although the standard radio has a cassette player - but who has cassettes these days?
It is a heavy car for a performance car, at just over 1200kg. This ideally needs to be stripped back for a bit more sting. Wider rubber is also a must as the standard 205/55/R16 don't leave much on the road when travelling at speed. I have upgraded the wheels and tyres to 235/45/R17 front and 255/35/R17 rear. With this combo, it handles like it is on rails. A brake upgrade is also a must if doing track work, as they tend to lock up easily with factory-fitted uneven-length brake lines.
When you mention you have a S14, the envy is not for its looks, but rather its performance. I am regularly asked if I want to sell it – the answer is "No!"
Do i still have my licence - yes, but just!
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