Last post on Mar 09, 2013 at 12:02 PM
You are in the Nissan Sentra
What is this discussion about?
Nissan Sentra, Sedan
Dec 04, 2001 (9:06 am)
I know I may get flamed for this, but I replaced the Sentra with a 5 spd silver Subaru WRX wagon. It rides so well, even with its sport tuned suspension. The car is very flat in all corners, and the ride is still smooth enough on broken pavement. The seats are great, even though it only has 6 way adjustment. It does have this cool seat height adjuster that works really well. And that 227 hp turbo 4 cyl AWD powertrain is in a totally different league compared to the Sentra. The WRX really doesn't have much in the way of direct competition. I got a dealer unwind with 500 mi on it for about a $2000 discount off a similar new car invoice price.
I lost money on the Sentra, for sure (thanks Nissan for the ridiculously low resale values), but I now have a car that I feel no remorse buying. I felt a lot of remorse buying the Sentra. It's a great car, but they really need independent rear suspension. Even the lowly Hyundai Accent or even a Geo Metro has independent rear suspension. I'm sure the SER rides even worse cause it's supposedly ready for Auto-crossing right from the showroom floor. If you thought the SE's suspension can get choppy, it'll be a whole other world with the SER Spec V. I saw one at a local nissan dealer in this nasty blue/green shade. The bodykit is good, and the wheels are really nice.
The Altima was in the running of vehicles to replace the Sentra, but it was difficult to find a basic 3.5SE with ABS and 5 spd. All 3.5SEs were loaded, and the dealer unwind WRX was too good a deal to pass up. I'll still hang around these boards until I have nothing to contribute towards the Sentras. $149 seems like way too much for a 7.5k mi service. The dealer will probably charge less. Are they replacing your spark plugs and other things or just the oil/filter and tire rot?
#1194 of 2065 Congrats on the WRX, narenji
Dec 04, 2001 (11:44 am)
Nice choice! If I were to get a WRX, I'd get the wagon too. Three things stopped me from getting a WRX back in May when I needed a car: (1) it was a little more money than I wanted to pay, (2) price gouging by dealers, and (3) knowing I'd be frustrated driving in this traffic-constipated area with such a high-performance car. I trust you live somewhere where you can stretch out the WRX's legs a bit.
My take on the Sentra is that the current one is a cut above its most obvious competition (the Civic and Corolla), but a little too compromised to compete with the Impreza 2.5RS, Jetta, etc. It's good value for the money, and Nissan has done a nice job with the "mini-Maxima" approach, but the Maxima is an outdated car now by Nissan standards. The next Sentra will likely be a mini-Altima, and be all the better for it.
#1195 of 2065 WRX cannot be compared to Sentra SE-R Spec V
Dec 04, 2001 (12:10 pm)
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.
Dec 04, 2001 (1:14 pm)
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
#1197 of 2065 kstephan and crikey
Dec 04, 2001 (1:25 pm)
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.
#1198 of 2065 ideal combination
Dec 04, 2001 (1:29 pm)
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.
#1199 of 2065 RE: ideal combination
Dec 04, 2001 (2:00 pm)
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.
#1200 of 2065 Congratulations Niranji
Dec 05, 2001 (6:15 am)
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?
#1201 of 2065 Kstephan, Lgoldin
Dec 05, 2001 (11:25 am)
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.
Dec 05, 2001 (6:02 pm)
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.