2010 Nissan Sentra 2.0
2010 Nissan Sentra 2.0. Click image to enlarge

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Nissan Sentra Reviews

Review and photos by Chris Chase

The 2007 Nissan Sentra replaced a previous-generation car that was about as dull as a small sedan could get, and so this sixth-generation model brought with it the promise of a personality injection.

Well, we could hope, couldn’t we? As before, the only version of this then-new Sentra that offered anything to boast about was the high-performance SE-R model, which used a 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine that made 177 horsepower in the SE-R, and 200 in the even sportier Spec-V. Regular grade Sentras shared a 2.0-litre four-cylinder good for 140 horsepower.

A six-speed manual transmission was standard in 2.0-litre cars, with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) offered as the automatic option. The SE-R, surprisingly, came standard with a CVT, this one with a manual-shift model operated with paddle shifters. The Spec V used a six-speed manual exclusively.

2010 Nissan Sentra 2.0
2010 Nissan Sentra 2.0. Click image to enlarge

A 2.0-litre Sentra with the CVT is the most fuel-efficient, according Natural Resources Canada’s testing guidelines, with 2007 ratings of 8.2/6.0 L/100 km in city and highway test cycles, respectively. The SE-R was rated 8.6/6.5 L/100 km, and the Spec V at 9.8/6.9 L/100 km. By 2010, fuel consumption ratings for the volume-selling 2.0-litre/CVT model had dropped to 7.5/5.8 L/100 km.

Sentra reliability appears to be good to middling, depending on who you talk to, and which version of the car you choose.

The Sentra’s rear suspension uses a twist beam axle, favoured over a fully-independent setup for its compact, space-saving design. Some 2007 and 2008 models came from the factory with a misaligned axle, causing weird handling and accelerated tire wear. According to this discussion at NissanForums.com, Nissan has been less-than-forthcoming with a solution, other than replacing rear axles under warranty. So far, it seems, the company has not issued a recall or even admitted that the problem goes beyond a few isolated cases. Many owners report having the alignment fixed on their own dime at shops other than their dealership’s. Here’s another discussion on the topic.

2010 Nissan Sentra 2.0
2010 Nissan Sentra 2.0. Click image to enlarge

Go here to read a discussion among Sentra SE-R owners about engine “bogging.” The theory is that this problem is software-related and can be fixed by doing this to the knock sensor. It’s not a modification I’d recommend, because it effectively disables the engine’s knock sensor. The problem is that the knock sensor is oversensitive, and causes a loss of power when it senses knock (also known as detonation in the combustion chamber, when the air-fuel mixture ignites before the spark plug has fired). Disabling the sensor, or reducing its sensitivity can cause engine damage. This problem isn’t new to the 2007-and-newer SE-R; many owners of previous-generation cars with the same 2.5-litre engine have applied a similar “fix.”

A moderator posting in this discussion at AllSentra.com believes the 2.5-litre engine in the SE-R has the same faulty catalytic converter as the previous-generation SE-R. Click here for what appears to be an intelligent overview of the problem. The same moderator points a finger at poor quality engine mounts in the SE-R, too.

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