Pros: refined powertrain, pleasing interior and standard options on GXE, decent highway gas mileage.
Cons: Small trunk, Rear end styling, rear legroom.
I have been happy with this car up to yet having put 5-6000 miles. It had 22,000 when we bought it.
WHY WE CHOSE THIS CAR
We bought this car a NISSAN SENTRA GXE 1.8 2001, from a local Chevy dealer. Basically looking for a dependable, and economical car- 4 months ago. It has a more modern and pleasing appearance than a Corrolla/Prizm, (this was our alternative choice)Though the rear of the car looks dull and uninspired. The interior is well laid out and designed, and had all the options we wanted, such as cruise and power locks/windows etc. Also this car has the overdrive switch on the transmission, which improves economy. This is not offered on the Dodge Neon and an option on the Corrolla/Prizm of the same year.
WHAT WE LOVE
Highway Gas mileage, is pretty good as you would expect. The engine is pretty refined and is geared to run at quite low revs at the speed limit, with little noise except for the noticeable camchain hum. Brakes quite effective, though not ABS. I like the keyless remote for trunk, chrome touches inside.
WHAT WE HATE
Well after buying this I heard that the first 2 year models had lots of teething troubles, with problems such as engine sensors going out. Also Nissan has a bad reputation for customer satisfaction. So be careful with the first 2 year models. Thankfully we have had no problem yet except for the air conditioner drain hose popped off and leaked all in the passenger footwell. Which I fixed easily.
Also I think rear legroom is very tight, but so is Corrolla/Prizm. And I wish this was a hatchback, (far more practical) These cars are expensive for what they are, but I think they hold their value well.
Hyundai is now a major competitor, they have rapidly improved their reputation, I think Nissan should be worried about that.
HOPE TO UPDATE AFTER 30,000 MILES.
Car now has 44,000 miles. We have had no major problems. Other than crank positional sensor, we hadnt realised that there was a recall out on this part. The engine cut out on us while driving on I24, which was a scary experience. Though it started again and we managed to get home. We got it towed to the dealer and they carried out the recall work that was required. If you do buy a Sentra then make sure you all the recall work was carried out it is vital.