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Nissan Sentra 2006 and earlier

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  • crikeycrikey Posts: 1,038
    I would also get the WRX in a heartbeat if the choice was between the WRX and the Spec V. But the WRX price is not in the same league as the Spec V, so it's not really a fair comparison.

    The Spec V, if bought at or near invoice, is a steal, especially with all the goodies that come with it. LSD is unheard of in a car at this price, plus 17" rims with Z-rated tires and a 300-watt Rockford Fosgate stereo? Wow, need I say more? Oh yeah, side airbags also. Skip the moonroof and the 6-CD changer to get a great price.

    If you have extra moola, by all means, get the WRX as it is really the best performance bargain out there. But if you can only pony up for a Spec V, hey, your money just buys more car than what's out there.
  • The WRX gets compared to Audis and BMWs costing thousands and thousands more than it. The Spec V is a heck of a car for the money, though. If you don't have WRX money, you shouldn't be upset in a Spec V
  • narenjinarenji Posts: 161
    Actually, IF (and that's a big IF) I had been able to find a Sentra SE with ABS and 5 spd, I would have been pretty happy. And since my fiancee was going to drive the Sentra more, the seat comfort issue would have been less important. But try as I might, I could not find a Sentra SE w/ ABS and 5 spd. There are a couple of owners here on these boards who got that combination. ABS saved me a few times driving in Maine. So I really wanted to get a car with ABS and 5 spd. The Protege ES was easy to find with ABS (cause ABS is packaged with moonroof in the Premium Package) so all I had to do was find an ES with Prem Pack and 5 spd. Since ABS is a stand-alone option (along with Side Airbags), nobody here in Southern Cali orders Sentras that way.

    As I've said before, ABS should be included in the SE performance package, and I still believe ABS/Side Airbags are a stand-alone option on the Spec Vs so it'll be difficult finding that option.

    Kstephan, I agree Nissan did a decent job with the Sentra, but that axle suspension has got to go. Maybe that would be ok in 1989, but not in 2002. That same suspension hurts the Maxima/I35. I rented an I35 (it was the loaner when my Pro ES was getting some window moldings replaced), and while the VQ35DE engine is superb, the cornering dynamics of the I35 was just as unnerving as in the Sentra because the rear end would want to step out on a bumpy fast turn.

    Crikey, I wasn't really comparing the WRX to the Sentra, I was comparing their rides. If a Protege can provide a well-controlled ride/handling balance, I think Nissan can do the same with the Sentra. I doubt you'll find the SPEC V at invoice for a while. The WRX is just starting to be available around invoice, maybe $200-$500 above. I chose the WRX as a replacement to the Sentra because:

    1. I didn't want to get another Protege, even though I like them a lot.

    2. The WRX offered the best combination of performance, utility, and safety (ABS/Side Airbags/AWD standard).

    3. Other cars competing with the Sentra didn't offer much. The Civic is slow and overpriced, the Corolla is outdated. The Elantra is nice, but almost as expensive to insure as a WRX! The Lancer doesn't deserve its name.

    I guess I was shopping across classes, but I realized that it's difficult to get everything you are looking for in a car. The WRX came the closest. Sure, the Accord or Camry would be slightly cheaper, but none performs like the WRX. The Altima would have been difficult to find w/ ABS. VWs are great but not reliable enough for me. Kstephan, I live in Upland, CA. It's not really the best place to open up the WRX, but there are plenty of roads in the mountains where it shines (and there are no cops around). Sorry for the long essay.
  • narenjinarenji Posts: 161
    I think the Sentra SE (SR20DE engine and its 5 spd transmission) in another body with independent rear susp (like the Protege, for ex) would be an ideal combination. To me ABS was important and was a large factor in my car choice.
  • narenji, I'd agree with you on that. A lighter car would be nice too--the Sentra four-door is a little porky. Not to change the topic, but I also own an old Miata, and I've read that the SR20DE is considered an ideal engine swap for the Miata because of its size and weight. Makes me think that a small, light RWD convertible or coupe with IRS would be a nice niche car for Nissan...maybe in the spirit of the late-'80s 240SX, but smaller. I don't think the SR20DE engine needs to be shelved just yet.

    By the way, I'm one of the few fortunate ones with an SE w/ABS and a 5-speed. I got lucky.

    To the various people who say you can't compare the SE-R Spec V to the WRX--you're right. We weren't doing that. The WRX is clearly in a different league. The Spec V is undoubtedly a lot of bang-for-the-buck for someone who doesn't want to spend an extra $6-8K on a WRX.
  • Great choice and great deal.
    It is pity though to loose you as a Sentra supporter. 8-)
    How do you find cornering abilities of WRX over Sentra on a flat surface? The reason why I am asking is that couple of weeks ago I had followed WRX. He jumped in front of me just before a 25MPH rump to highway and pushed forward. He wasn't taking it easy. I followed him and we passed this rump at 65MPH (ouch). Normally I am going there at 50MPH. But Sentra kept well. No squeals, no complains. Granted, the surface was flat, but still I was pleased. Well, after we went to a strait line he just vanished, which make me think he did his best on the rump as well. What is your view?
  • narenjinarenji Posts: 161
    I know the SR20DE is a great engine that responds well to modifications. It's also relatively smooth (compared to the gruff 2.0L in the Protege) as you rev it. I didn't think of the SR20DE as a good swap for the miata, but I can see how it would work well. I think Nissan is going to have a niche car on their hands with the new 350Z. They should just bring the Japan-spec Silvia here. With the success of the WRX, the silvia should do fine. You can get the SR20DE in normal and turbo aspirated forms. The N/A engine makes 170 hp, and the turbo makes 250. I don't know how a smaller Japanese population sustains the mind-boggling variety of car models made there. They still make versions of the of the first Q45 and sell them as new cars! The new QG25DE is a nice engine, but it's going to be difficult to modify compared to the SR20. I don't think Nissan has any turbo version of that engine either.

    Lgoldin, thanks. I was happy with the WRX deal, but less so with the trade-in on the Sentra, but I expected poor resale, especially because the SERs are here. Plus, used cars that are less than 2 years old are in a bad spot due to the incentives for new car sales. If you had an older used car, you may not be affected so badly. I had negative equity on the Sentra, but if I don't keep the car, I'd still lost money no matter if I traded now or next year. The Sentra probably wouldn't have a problem keeping up with the WRX on the curve, I think it even pulls higher g's on skidpad. The WRX feels very flat in turns, and the handling balance is mostly neutral, but still biased towards understeer. The Sentra pushes in turns just as all FWD vehicles do. I agree the Sentra feels good on smooth turns and ramps. Throw an expansion joint or bumps into the mix, then its a different story. I haven't driven the WRX really hard yet, but it's very willing and wants more even going fast on ramps. With AWD, you can't let off the gas completely mid-turn though, cause the rear will want to step out, you have to let off slightly to slow down. Do you have the Firestones or have you changed to different tires? The Bridgestones that come standard with the WRX are mediocre as well. The Sentra's suspension is pretty well sorted for very smooth roads, but here in the US, that is rarely the case, and this is where independent rear sus is superior.
  • I still have original tires. I don't have problem with them on a dry road, but on a wet or snow they suck. I am going to wait until they have done their job and then switch to a different type. Most likely I'll have set of 15" winter tires and 215/50/16 for summer. This is couple of years from now though.
    As for the roads, then I can't tell that all roads in Canada are ideally flat, not even close to that. I am lucky enough to have a couple of good flat rumps on my way to work and back, so I can enjoy them. But you are right, suspensions are not the best in a class and on uneven pavement the car is a little too choppy. Oh well, it works for me nicely.
    Congrats again on your purchase. Enjoy.
  • crikeycrikey Posts: 1,038
    Congrats on the WRX...like I said, if you can afford it, it's the best performance bargain out there. And I agree with you on ABS, it should be standard and available on SE-R.
  • One thing I've been meaning to ask other owners of SEs (esp. ones with the the PP): do you get a lot of torque steer under full-throttle acceleration in first and second gears? It seems to have gotten worse on my car, which is now at about 7500 miles. I don't know what would make it worse--maybe I'm just driving the car more aggressively and noticing it more. There's quite a bit of steering wheel fight under acceleration, especially on bumpy roads. I've read reviews of the SE-R Spec V and new Altima that also complain of a lot of torque steer, so maybe it's just a general Nissan tendency/flaw.

    I also wonder if the viscous LSD on the SE w/PP could lead to more torque steer.

    Maybe this isn't so unusual in most decently powerful FWD cars, but I got spoiled driving a 2000 Civic Si previously, which had next to no torque steer. Of course, it also had next to no torque...
  • narenjinarenji Posts: 161
    I test drove an Altima 3.5SE, and yes, it does have significant torque steer, but that's to be expected in a FWD vehicle with a large powerful engine up front. The 2.5 in the Altima doesn't exhibit torque steer. My Sentra did have some torque steer, but it wasn't too bad. Torque steer is much more pronounced with the VQ series engines. I also got a I35 loaner when my Protege was getting worked on overnight, and that thing has some torque steer too. Wonderful engines though.
  • I also notice some torque steer, but it is manageable. It may be just me, but I prefer torque with torgue steer than no torque - no steer. 8-). Ideal would be of course torque with no steer, but the world is not ideal 8-(.
  • kstephan,

    Yeah, under hard acceleration I get a good deal of torque steer too (SE w/PP, 5-speed). At first it was irritating, almost unsettling, but now I don't mind it. Also, I agree that the back end gets skittish going over bumps, especially in a turn, and that the ride can be pretty harsh with the Sport-tuned suspension, but under most driving conditions I'm pretty happy with how it's set up. I've got 19,800 miles on my SE, and I'm still very happy with it. Planning to keep it for several more years.
  • After months of research on the internet I have finally got my choices down to the Sentra or the Corolla.I like the looks of the Sentra better but I need more info. on long term reliability.Can anyone tell me how many miles they have logged on your older Sentras ? Is 200k miles a possibility for a well kept Sentra?
  • Can't speak to the 200k question, but I'd get the Sentra. The 2002 is the last year of this Corolla, so the car will be old and dated in no time. Plus, I believe the Sentra has more power and a larger interior. I read a 3 way comparo about a year ago with the Sentra vs Corolla vs Civic and the Sentra won--in their opinion. I see 10 year old Sentras on the road every day, so I'm sure it will hold up fine with proper maintenance.
  • mcdawggmcdawgg Posts: 1,668
    I'd get the Corolla because:

    1. Resale of Corolla much higher
    2. Reliablitly good on Sentra, but better on Corolla - see JD Power and Consumer Reports
    3. Corolla rides better and is quieter inside.
    4. Corolla and Sentra interior are the same size - the smallest of the small sedans.
    5. The only real advantage to the Sentra is it is a little quicker, but one second or so doesn't matter to me. The Corolla is actually pretty peppy, especially with the manual tranny.
    6. Mechanic friend of mine says it's a pain to work on Nissans, but loves Toyotas, and agrees with JD Power and Consumer Reports.

    You could wait until the new Corolla comes out in February, and buy it. It will have more interior room than the Sentra, probably the same power as Sentra, so the new Corolla would win on all counts. But, if you want to buy now, I would go with the slightly slower Corolla, because the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.
  • mcdawggmcdawgg Posts: 1,668
    Also, Corolla gets better fuel mileage.
  • which Sentra?
    The Corolla is pretty pricey for what you get. I looked at the corolla (and everything else) and ended up getting the Sentra SE w/PP. I'm not disappointed with my choice, I've put 16,000 miles on it since Febuary and all it's had done were oil changes. It's no Viper, but you can surprise some people who think they'll cut in front of you.
  • Since this is a Sentra topic and I own one, I'm of course inclined to say "forget the Corolla." As noted above, they're pricey compared to the Sentra, a bit long in the tooth in design, plus Toyota tends to go for bland competence in the driving experience, while Nissan is trying to put a little spirit into the Sentra. Plus people who don't like or care about cars tend to buy Corollas. Also, there's so many of them around. You'll see yourself coming and going a little less in the Sentra.

    That said, my sister has a late-model Corolla with an automatic--totally the formula for a rental car. But I like the car anyway. It's much smoother and quieter than the Sentra, almost plush in comparison. It feels a lot roomier inside too. The handling and steering are a bit numb compared to the Sentra SE, but it's pleasant enough to drive--less boring than you'd think. For a comfortable, no-fuss car, it's hard not to recommend a Corolla.

    So it depends what you want. If you want more performance, try to find a discounted 2001 Sentra SE...a much better deal than any Corolla. But if you want comfort--consider the Toyota first.
  • Thanks narenji, lgoldin, and sentrafan for the comments about the torque steer--I'm relieved to hear it's not a problem unique to my car. As a postscript--I had my 7500-mi service on the car done a few days ago, and the car had its tires rotated for the first time. With the less-worn rear tires on the front, the torque steer is not nearly as bad now. So worn tires do make a difference. I knew the torque steer was not as bad when I first got the car. That's a good reason alone for regular tire rotation.
  • britton2britton2 Posts: 305
    I also did alot of research (months) before deciding on the Corolla (I have a '01 LE) I've had mine for 9 months and it has been flawless - the Sentra would have probably been my second choice - but I chose the Corolla for a couple of reasons: JD Powers survey (#1 compact car/quality) gas mileage, better powertrain warranty, plus I just preferred the looks of the Corolla vs. the Sentra - especially the rear end - having said that, I know of a few people who have owned Nissans and swear by them - same holds true for Toyotas and Hondas - either one would be a good choice IMO
  • Thanks to you mcdawgg and to the others who gave their opinions on the subject.I must admit,I am leaning toward the Corolla because of its proven record of reliability.I don't think it is a particularly attractive car but, it is not ugly either.I would like to see what the 2003 Corolla will look like.Do you know where I can get a sneak look? Also, did you say the 2003 will be out in Feb. of 2002?
  • newcar31newcar31 Posts: 3,711
    at the 2003 Corolla? Sure, here's a look: http://www.canadiandriver.com/news/01images/03corolla_peak.jpg Both the Sentra and Corolla are good cars. The current Corolla feels a bit dated though. This is the only picture that I have seen of the North American 2003 Corolla so far. If you are leaning towards the Corolla, I think this new one looks much better...from the front at least. I'd bet that the VVTI 1.8L gets a power bump to 140hp, just like the Celica's base engine.
  • mcdawggmcdawgg Posts: 1,668
    This link says the 2003 Corolla will be unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show Jan. 7, 2002. I can't remember where, but I read somewhere that it'll be larger (especially back seat) and more powerful. Should be a great car!!


    http://www.canadiandriver.com/news/011213-1.htm

  • Put a Lexus "L" on the front of that new Corolla, and everyone would believe it. But I wonder if it's attached to a typically hideous Toyota small sedan body, a la the Echo?

    Just to be safe, Nissan really needs to rev the Sentra in a couple of years, with a far sleeker body and more interior room.
  • Just sold my 1997 GXE 5 speed. It had 56K on the clock and had been almost completely trouble free, the almost stemming from some silly sensor that caused the car to hate warm starts - fixed under warrantee at 30,000 miles.

    The car was every bit as comfortable the day I sold it, as it was the day I bought (new). The only changes I made was pulling the CD player from the wife's 98 200SX and replacing the exremely crappy General tires with a set of Pirelli P400 Tourings, which completely transformed the car.

    I will miss that Sentra, and can honestly say it was the best car I've ever owned. With that you may wonder why I sold it. I traded it on a midsize sedan because I got tired of seeing a cheap-looking ugly car every time I went down to my driveway, and here in Los Angeles, we tend to spend a lot of time in our cars, and I wanted more car to spend that time in.

    Replacement is a 2002 Mitsubishi Galant ES with my first-ever automatic transmission for my own car (wife always had ATs). Time will tell if it was a good move, but so far the Galant seems about as well made as the Sentra, which means EXTREMELY.
  • tazerelitazereli Posts: 241
    I SUSPECT YOU WILL MISS YOUR 5 SPEED BEFORE TOO LONG.
  • It's hard to miss a 5 speed in Atlanta--I'd be willing to bet you'll miss it less in LA!
  • Does anyone know of a good website to pick-up accessories for a 2002 Sentra. I am looking for a set of mud flaps for my daughters car.

    Jerry
  • Anyone here received notification on this recall? How long does the service takes? I haven't received notification on this one, I'll probably just bring my car to the dealer, similar to the 2nd recall (wheels) where I just brought it in without the notice. What do you think about this?

    Year of Recall: 2001
    Manufacture: 2001
    Manufactured: FROM 2000JAN TO 2001MAY
    Component: ENGINE
    Summary:
    Vehicle Description: Passenger vehicles equipped with a 1.8 liter engine. The engine could stop running while being driven due to a defective crank position sensor. This could also result in the "Service Engine Soon" warning light coming on or reduced engine power.

    If the engine stops running while driving, this could result in a crash.

    Dealers will replace the crank position sensors. Owner notification is expected to begin during December 2001. Owners who take their vehicles to an authorized dealer on an agreed upon service date and do not receive the free remedy within a reasonable time should contact Nissan at 1-800-647-7261. Also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Auto Safety Hotline at 1-888-DASH-2-DOT (1-888-327-4236).
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