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By Jim Flammang
April 19, 2005
Vehicle Overview A redesigned Sentra is expected to debut soon. Meanwhile, a 1.8 S Special Edition Package is available for 2005. The 2005 Sentra has an updated grille and body-colored door handles, and the upper instrument panel gains a storage bin. The front-wheel-drive Sentra comes in 1.8, 1.8 S, and performance-focused SE-R and SE-R Spec V trim levels.
Ranking as Nissan's second-best seller, the Sentra illustrates the increasingly global nature of the auto industry: Its original styling took place in California, the interior was designed in Germany, engineering was completed in Japan and the United States, and the car is built in Mexico. (Skip to details on the: SE-R and SE-R Spec V)
Exterior Styling elements were adapted from the automaker's larger Maxima. A low hood and high rear deck help give the Sentra a more upscale image. Sentras have body-colored side moldings and bumpers. Chiseled character lines run from the front to the rear, and flush-mounted one-piece headlights are installed.
Sentras ride a 99.8-inch wheelbase, measure 177.5 inches long overall and 67.3 inches wide, and stand 55.5 inches tall. Standard wheels are 15 inches in diameter, but 16-inch tires on aluminum wheels are optional for the 1.8 S. A power sunroof also is available for the Sentra 1.8 S.
Interior Front occupants get bucket seats, and the driver's seat features either four- or eight-way adjustment. A rear bench promises room for three occupants, but adults may feel cramped. The rear seatback is available with a split folding feature, which increases total cargo space.
The 1.8 S sedan has remote keyless entry, power windows and locks, and a trip computer. Large cupholders are located in the front-door map pockets. The trunks in all models hold 11.6 cubic feet of cargo.
Under the Hood A 1.8-liter four-cylinder in 1.8 and 1.8 S models develops 126 horsepower and teams with either a five-speed-manual or four-speed-automatic transmission.
Safety Side-impact airbags and antilock brakes are optional in all models but the 1.8.
Driving Impressions Any regular Sentra serves as capable and comfortable transportation. Each model blends a pleasant ride with easy maneuverability � all for a moderate price.�
SE-R and SE-R Spec V Nissan continues to position the Sentra SE-R against the Honda Civic Si and Volkswagen GTI. SE-R design cues include a mesh grille, fog lamps, body-colored side sill extensions and a rear spoiler. The SE-R features performance-tuned shock absorbers and 16-inch tires, while the SE-R Spec V sedan gets 17-inch tires. A Brembo brake package is optional for the SE-R Spec V, which benefits from a track-oriented suspension and features an interior with black and silver accents.
Under the hood, the SE-R contains a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that makes 165 hp and 6,000 rpm; it teams with a four-speed automatic. The SE-R Spec V holds a 175-hp version of that engine and mates solely with a close-ratio six-speed-manual gearbox. Nissan says the SE-R Spec V has an improved gearbox for 2005. A 300-watt Rockford Fosgate stereo is optional in the SE-R.
Besides its energetic engine, the Sentra SE-R is appealing for its handling talents. Whipping an SE-R through tight turns is sheer joy, and the tautly suspended sedan clings tenaciously to the pavement. Back to top
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