NEW FOR 2009:

– Standard anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution, power locks with auto-locking function on all models
– Luxury Package adds heated seats
– 2.0 S model adds standard MP3/WMA playback capability
– Exterior colours: Daytona Blue, Midnight Metallic, Carmine and Metallic Ice added; Sparkle Red, Sapphire Blue, and Solar Yellow discontinued
– Interior colours: Saddle discontinued

For 2009, the Nissan Sentra, along with the Sentra SE-R models, receives slight changes to its lists of standard and optional features. Most important is the addition of anti-lock brakes to all models in the line-up; previously, they were not standard on the base trim line.

The Sentra uses a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine; on the 2.0 and 2.0 S it is mated to a six-speed manual transmission or optional CVT, while the 2.0 SL uses the CVT only. The Sentra SE-R and SE-R Spec V models use a 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine. On the SE-R it makes 177 horsepower and is mated to a CVT with manual shift mode and paddle shifters, while in the SE-R Spec V it makes 200 horsepower, and is mated to a close-ratio six-speed manual transmission.

Features on the 2.0 include 15-inch steel wheels, splash guards, power locks, tilt wheel, variable intermittent wipers, four-way manual driver’s seat, cloth upholstery, and CD stereo with auxiliary input.

The 2.0 S adds 16-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, heated power mirrors, trip computer, outside temperature display, power windows, cruise control, map lights, rear cupholders, six-way manual driver’s seat, 60/40 split-folding rear seat, and premium CD/MP3/WMA stereo system.

The 2.0 SL adds Bluetooth hands-free connectivity, integrated overhead CD storage, heated leather seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, anti-theft system, and Rockford Fosgate six-CD/MP3/WMA stereo with XM satellite radio.

Features on the SE-R include 17-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, sport-tuned springs, fog lights, body kit, unique fascias, smoked headlight and tail lamp surround, rear spoiler, front stabilizer bar, splash guards, heated mirrors, integrated overhead CD holder, G-force display, trip computer, outside temperature display, power windows, keyless entry, cruise control, map lights, variable intermittent wipers, sport seats with red stitching, leather-wrapped wheel with audio controls, aluminum pedals, anti-theft system, and CD/MP3/WMA stereo with auxiliary input.

The SE-R Spec V adds larger brakes, sport-tuned shocks and struts, lowered ride height, larger front stabilizer bar, reinforced upper cowl, trunk-mounted V-brace, and red front seatbelts.

A well-done little car with a snappy engine, the Sentra includes a CVT that feels fairly conventional for a gearless unit, and decent fuel economy. The base model is very base indeed, but it helps keep the price down. The SE-R offers driving fun for a reasonable amount of money, while the Spec V’s stiffer construction, extra horsepower and six-speed manual turn it into a pocket rocket that doesn’t break the bank.

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