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1997 Nissan 240SX Overview
When the now-redesigned Nissan 240SX rolled off the assembly line last summer, we were surprised by the transformation it had undergone. This new version blurs the fine line between sports cars and upmarket vehicles because Nissan has downplayed this car's racier lineage in favor of a more genteel and understated design. All of this has been at the service of folks who favor graceful styling over road-burning performance, but who see themselves as too young to retire to a stately sedan. In short, the 240SX has been tweaked to cater to the changing values of the baby boomer generation - the first wave of which is now approaching the age of 50. To that end, Nissan engineers have designed a more rigid body structure, extended the track and enhanced the suspension of the 240SX to ensure a more comfortable ride, easier handling and improved stability. Low to midrange torque has been increased to allow for smoother acceleration, and the suspension contact points have been made more compliant to reduce noise. Inside, the old monoform seats have been replaced by cozier 2-cushion buckets, and the placement of controls, knobs and switches is more sensitive to the ergonomic needs of the middle-age driver than they were in years past. That's not to say that the new 240SX is a cream puff. It still incorporates the nimble handling, spirited acceleration and styling accoutrements that made previous incarnations so popular to those buyers who harbor sports-car inclinations. It's just that some of the 240SX's sharper edges have been smoothed and rounded out for comfort's sake. We tested the high-end, sporty SE model, which comes with numerous standard-feature amenities that include a sport-tuned suspension, front and rear spoilers, projector-style foglights, driver-adjustable lumbar support, moquette fabric seats with a sporty center insert, remote keyless entry with an anti-theft system, and attractive analog gauges with black digits on a white background. Our test model was also equipped with optional anti-lock brakes (ABS), limited-slip differential and a sunroof. Including the destination charge, that upped the price of the SE to $23,163. Standard equipment on both the base and SE models includes electronic fuel injection, front-engine/rear-wheel-drive powertrain, 5-speed manual overdrive transmission, power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering, independent strut-type front suspension and multi-link rear suspension, power remote-controlled mirrors, fold-down rear seatback, power windows and door locks, and dual airbags.