Driver's power windows and door locks started working only intermittently at 110K miles; two of the 13" alloy wheels can't seem to hold air pressure, no matter what tires are on there; trunk key lock ceased working around 60K miles, so we have to use the remote lever to open the trunk; power sunroof motor/cable slips intermittently, so we have to "help" it open or close.
This car is loaded with every available convenience/comfort option, and most of them have held up better than I would have expected from most European or American cars I've had experience with.
The normal wear-and-tear parts (brakes, pads, belts, wipers, etc.), however, seem to last LESS time than I think they should. They don't seem to be engineered as stoutly as on most European or American cars I've had experience with.
On the other hand, we do regular oil and filter changes, but very little other "routine scheduled maintenance," and this hasn't been a problem (the car has never left us stranded anywhere).
This was my wife's first new car, and she chose what to buy and how it should be equipped. At the time, I said "it's going to be your car, honey, you choose it." I just wanted her to get a nice reliable 4-door Japanese car.
Unfortunately, I wasn't thinking that eventually, when we have kids, the husband seems to inevitably end up driving the wife's old hand-me-down car, so she can cart the family around in a new larger, safer minivan, wagon or SUV. Lesson learned -- too late.
She chose the upscale GXE model, with every comfort and convenience option available. Nice. She chose bright candy apple red paint, which with the cute little rear deck spoiler and silver alloy wheels, makes the car look fittingly "cute." Also nice.
All that really doesn't bother me. What burns me every single day I drive this car is that she chose an automatic transmission.
The SOHC 16V 1.6L 4-cyl is no torque monster to start with. But to load it down with an economy-oriented slushbox, and you have killed any hope of this thing ever getting out of its own way.
It can't travel up hills with the air conditioning on, and maintain highway speeds. It just slowly loses forward momentum as we proceed up the hills.
If I turn off overdrive, the engine revs higher, but it doesn't go any faster. I have to actually turn off the the air conditioning until we get to the top.
This wouldn't be such a discomfort, except that we can't open the windows or the sunroof (my wife has allergies) while the air conditioning is not on.
You also might wonder then, why even having a sunroof was important. I wonder too. Especially when we traded off ABS brakes for it (apparently, the Sentra's electrical system doesn't have enough channels for the ABS brakes AND power windows/locks/mirrors AND the power sunroof).
Oh, and the useless brakes. They fade after only a few blocks of stop signs, or even a single hard stop. So it can't seem to go OR stop !!!
The lack of stout engineering extends to many areas. The wheel alignment can get tossed out with just one good size pothole, despite the relatively tall flexible walls of the little tiny 70-series doughnut tires it came with.
Of course, like any car you don't enjoy driving, and want to find any excuse to replace, it will probably NEVER die.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 23rd December, 1999