This week I tested the Nissan Sentra Spec V. I have a friend who’s in her second Toyota Corolla and she loves the 2000 model as much as she did the ten year old one she replaced. They are such basic cars and low cost to buy and operate there is little to complain about.
And if your thing is to pour your money into something other than transportation, these compact cars are wonderful. They are not showy but they are so capable with today’s technological advancements that you really will be surprised at every facet of performance.
It is a lot of transportation car for the money, but I have driven all of the competition and they are, for the most part, neck and neck with each other. But I still rank them overall considering price and features, comfort and styling as noted in the listing below with the rank in parenthesis.
My biggest complaint was that it was not very comfortable on the road for prolonged driving. After a short time I was in agony because I just couldn’t get the adjustment right. The VW New Beetle was so bad I would rank it at the bottom just for that reason. In that case it wasn’t adjustment but just poorly designed seats. They should take both designers out and shoot them.
Parts – not Published.
Assembly – Mexico
Nissan Cars: Altima, Frontier, Maxima, Pathfinder, Quest, Sentra, Xterra
Handling & Performance:
Sport suspension gives it a stiff feel and annoying bone jarring bottoming out over dips and ruts in the road. But that is what gives it the great handling. It really is ok around town. It is very faaaaaast with 0-60 at just over 7 seconds. Very impressive.
Good. Plain Jane, but that’s ok for this class and price of car.
Fit and Finish:
As always, Japanese cars pay close attention to detail. However this is assembled in Mexico. I don’t like stereotypes, but growing up in Southern California and visiting Mexico on several occasions with one of my best friend in my youth who was Mexican I developed some healthy doubts about the quality of Mexican workmanship. That was a long time ago and in those days Mexican quality was better than any Asian product. In any case I noticed nothing to support my prejudice. In fact I didn’t know it was assembled in Mexico until I looked at the paperwork in preparation for this review. Old opinions are hard to change, eh.
Typical for the price range.
Priced in the middle of this large field on competitors.
Test drive in order of ranking, as you need to, but take three first. #1, #7 and #15 for example will give you a range.
(2) Nissan Sentra Spec V $12-17,000, (1) Toyota Corolla $13-15,000, (3) Ford Focus $12-17,000, (4) Honda Civic $13-21,000, (5) Mitsubishi Mirage $12-15,000, (6) Dodge Neon $12-16,000, (7) Saturn SL $11-14,000, (8) Daewoo Nubira $12-14,000, (9) Kia Sephia $11-12,000, (10) Kia Spectra $11-14,000, (11) Hyundai Elantra $12-14,000, (12) Mazda Protégé $13-16,000, (13) Chevrolet Cavalier $14-20,000, (14) Volkswagen Jetta $17-27,000, (15) Subaru Impreza $19-24,000.
Priced well, sporty, good gas stats, powerful and fun to drive.
Plain Jane styling, uncomfortable on long trips, no ABS or traction control.
2.5 liter 175 horsepower inline 4-cylinder engine, 6-speed manual trans, power disc brakes, power steering, front stabilizer bars, 17 inch alloy wheels, rear spoiler, power mirrors, air conditioning, 5 passenger seating, leather wrapped steering wheel, tilt steering, remote keyless entry, power widows and door locks, audio system with CD player, Cruise control, dual air bags.
22 City and 28 Highway MPG.