Cars.com takes a look at the Sentra SE-R Spec V at the Road America Race Track in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.
Hi, I'm Joe Wiesenfelder from Cars.com. (soft music plays) We're taking a look at the Sentra SE-R Spec V. The SE-R has always been something of an also ran against the other sport compacts in the market.
Aside from having a large, relatively torquey engine, uh, it had never really lived up to some of the competition. Now, the new, redesigned Sentra comes in an SE-R and SE-R Spec V version. This is the Spec V. It has a 2.5 liter, four-cylinder, making about 200 horsepower. Nissan achieves the higher output with different intake and exhaust systems, higher compression ratio, a higher redline of 6,800 RPM. As before, the new SE-R replaces the regular Sentra's two liter with a 2.5 liter four-cylinder but the low rev torque seems to have been sacrificed for high rev power so the acceleration doesn't feel as robust as before or when compared to some competing compact. In the corners, the center's tall stature leads to body roll despite suspension upgrades in the Spec V version. Overall, the handling has improved over the previous generations but it's just not at the level of the Honda Civic SI, Volkswagen GTI, or MAZDASPEED3. The SE-R Spec V has 17 inch alloy wheels. These are summer tires, which we tested. They do the job, but they're not the grippiest ones we've driven. On the good side, when they do give up tracks, and they do it rather gradually, and it's pretty easy to control. Among the elements that distinguish the SE-R from the regular Sentra are a different front fascia and rear fascia. There are also sill extensions along the side, and a rear spoiler. The SE-R has a six speed manual transmission-standard. You can also get a performance version of their CVT automatic transmission, which is a relatively new concept. You get some supplemental gauges, including an oil pressure gauge and a lateral GE meter that shows how well you're holding on laterally when you hit a turn. It also comes with cloth sports seats, and you can see some of the things that distinguish them are the obvious ones, the SE-R badge on the backrest and in the Spec V only, not the regular SE-R, you get red seat belts. For any more information on this car or any other, go to Cars.com and our blog, KickingTires. (upbeat music continues)