It has been a few years since we`ve driven a subcompact Sentra, which ifwe recall, was a tin box that lacked styling and performance. The 1989 two-door E coupe we drove certainly is an improvement. Make no mistake, Sentra isn`t a glamor
machine. It`s one of those point A to B functional vessels that carry a load of people and their groceries and/orluggage without burning a lot of fuel. The EPA rating with the 1.6-liter, fuel-injected, 4-cylinder engineteamed with optional
automatic is 26 m.p.g. city/30 m.p.g. highway. Styling is pleasant if not eye-popping. Room and comfort are moreabundant than in, say, a Ford Escort or Dodge Shadow. Ride and handling areadequate and typically more nimble and less cumbersome than
small domesticsubcompacts. Not lots of flash and dash; it just gets you there and back withoutlooking like a pauper. The coupe is the only Sentra built in Japan and not at Nissan`s Smyrna,Tenn., plant. Base price: $9,149 with
automatic, $8,249 with 5-speed manual.