The name 180SX was originally in reference to the 1.8 liter displacement CA18DET engine used in the chassis. In 1991, however, the engine was upgraded to a 2.0 liter model, offered in two forms: the naturally-aspirated SR20DE engine and the turbocharged SR20DET variant. Although the new engine was of larger displacement, the 180SX nomenclature remained. A common body modification to the 180SX and its sister car, the North American 240SX fastback, is the Sileighty conversion.
180SX was also a trim level of the S110 Silvia in Europe. The badges for this model read "Silvia 180SX", so this car is not properly a 180SX by model, but a version of the Silvia instead.
Other discrepancies from this standard were distributed to Micronesia and South Pacific islands, including LHD cars with 180sx badges and non-retractable headlamps.
Like the Japanese 180SX SR20DET discrepancy, European, as well as South African models of the S13 chassis were called 200SX though equipped with the CA18DET engine.