2002 Sentra New Car Test Drive
Nissan's Sentra is a nice four-door compact sedan. Starting at just $11,799, it competes with the Honda Civic sedans and offers a good value. Smooth, quiet, and economical, it's stable and enjoyable on long drives.
For 2002, Nissan has introduced the SE-R and SE-R Spec V versions of the Sentra. They are an absolute hoot to drive. The SE-R models take the traditional hot-rod approach of dropping a big engine into a small car, but add brakes, suspension, and tires to turn them into ultimate value sports sedans.
Sentra is available as five models: XE ($11,799); CA ($14,899); GXE ($13,749); SE-R ($15,999); and SE-R Spec V ($16,999).
XE is the base model and comes with a 126-horsepower 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine and a short list of standard equipment that includes power front disc brakes, a rear window defroster, dual remote-control mirrors, front airbags, power steering and a tilt steering column, 14-inch tires and intermittent windshield wipers.
CA is a special edition that is the first gasoline-powered car certified as a super ultra low emissions vehicle (SULEV) and to zero evaporative emissions standards by the California Air Resources Board. Its 1.8-liter engine produces 122 horsepower. It has a standard automatic transmission and air conditioning.
GXE is a popular model comes standard with air conditioning, a digital clock, radio, CD player, front and rear cup holders, power windows and locks, and remote keyless entry.
SE-R replaces the SE model introduced in 2000 and revives the name of a famous version of the Sentra. While the SE had a 145-horsepower, 2.0-liter twin-cam four-cylinder, the new SE-R has a 2.5-liter inline-4 that provides 165 horsepower. The SE-R also comes with 16-inch alloy wheels with 195/55 performance tires, special body trim, a rear spoiler, special cloth seats with eight-way power for the driver's seat, cruise control, a 180-watt audio system, sports suspension, four-wheel disc brakes and titanium-colored gauges.
The SE-R Spec V has a 180-horsepower version of Nissan's 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, a six-speed manual transmission, 17-inch high-performance tires, black and red interior with special sport seats, a performance muffler, a performance suspension, and a Helical limited-slip differential.
Options include automatic transmission ($800), side airbags and antilock brakes ($749), sunroof ($699), 300-watt, 9-speaker Rockford Fosgate audio system ($549), and in-dash 6-CD player ($399).