The 2008 Nissan Sentra 2.0 (base model) is an all-around great vehicle and a great value for the money you spend. Before I bought my Sentra I had a 2000 Chevrolet Prism, and I test-drove the Hyundai Elantra and the Toyota Corolla. So that's what I'm comparing the Sentra to - other small, compact cars.
With that said, the biggest advantage in the Sentra is its extremely roomy and spacious interior - front and back seats. You can comfortably fit 3 adults in the back seat, with plenty of leg room. The trunk is very spacious as well. The Sentra is hands-down roomier than other cars in its class. It feels more like a mid-size car! The interior is very modern and well-designed. The shift selector lever is higher up above the console, which looks a little awkward, but it is much more convenient in that location. Also, there are many storage compartments and two drink holders in the front seat, along with a fold down armrest with two drink holders in the back seat. The new design of the exterior is great too. The Sentra now resembles the Altima and Maxima. I have NO complaints about the interior or exterior of the car. Nissan did a great job designing it! It's big, it's stylish, and it's practical!
I am also pleased with the way the Sentra drives. The CVT (continuously variable transmission) is extremely smooth! The CVT advances through an infinite number of gear ratios using belts, as opposed to other transmissions that use a set number of gears. You can't feel any shifting of gears as you accelerate/decelerate. The CVT is also more environmentally friendly than a regular transmission, and it provides for better fuel economy because it allows the engine to run at its most efficient revolutions per minute (RPM) over a range of speeds. The base model comes standard with the CVT and with a 2.0 L engine, which is also nice. It's bigger than the engine in the Elantra and in the Corolla. The CVT threw me off a little at first because you can't feel the gears shift, but the Sentra definitely has some "get up and go." You just don't notice it as much because you can't hear any strain on the engine. The suspension is a little tight. You definitely feel the bumps in the road, and it would be nice if the ride was a little smoother. The gas mileage is great. I get 27-28 mpg in the city and about 32 on the highway. You can get a couple more miles out the Corolla and Elantra, but I'll give up a mile or two for the bigger engine in the Sentra.
The base model comes with some great standard features - the automatic CVT, power windows (with driver's one-touch automatic up/down), power locks, tilt steering column, and AM/FM/CD audio system. It does lack some features, however, such as keyless entry and cruise control. I was able to add the keyless entry for $200, but it does not open the trunk. Not having cruise control is one of my biggest problems with the car. I didn't think it was a big deal until I took it on the interstate and found myself speeding quite often. Cruise control would be a great addition to the base model. The Sentra 2.0 S might be worth considering if you don't mind spending an extra $1,000. It comes with the keyless entry and cruise control, along with some other cool features - anti-lock braking system (ABS), fog lights, vehicle security system, illuminated steering-wheel-mounted audio and cruise controls, and outside temperature display. All models, however, were given a 5-star safety rating for front-impact crash safety!
All things considered, the 2008 Sentra 2.0 base model is a great car! It's no Lexus, but it is a great value for the money you will spend on the car. It is spacious, fuel efficient, well-designed, and has plenty of power for a compact car. I definitely recommend the Sentra to anyone looking for a mid-size car that wants to save some money!
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