A mini version of the Maxima SE
There is nothing wrong with the car.
When the 2000/2001 compact car models came out, there are only a few that really stood out. I purchased the 2001 Nissan Sentra SE for this reason.
The new design and vehicle specs are definite improvements from the earlier models. The only thing I am not happy with is the rear design. They should have just patterned it with the Infinity G20 or Nissan Primera.
As far as performance, this car has an SR20DE engine, which is a light weight 2.0 engine. You can find this engine in Nissan Sylvia with the added turbo. It delivers 145 hp and 136 lbs of torque that gives it good mid-range power. You can actually move the car from a full stop on 2nd gear in a manual transmission.
Helping out in delivering engine power is the intake and exhaust system. The twin muffler helps in performance as well as efficiency. In normal driving conditions, one pipe is closed, but when power is needed (like in hard acceleration), both pipes are open.
In addition, the SE comes with a viscous limited slip differential. This definitely helps when quick acceleration is needed and prevention of under steering. One of the downsides is that it creates a lot of torque steer.
Another added bonus to this car is that the suspension is upgraded to sports level. I have had several close calls and I can truly say that the sports suspension kept me away from trouble. Plus, driving it on the Pacific Coast Highway is pleasure. Though I wish that the tires were better so that it could keep up with the nice suspension upgrade.
Because of the stiffer suspension, the quality of the ride is compromised. You can definitely feel the road on the steering wheel and the shifter. But if you are a racing buff, that is actually a nice thing.
The interior amenities of the car are great. The seats conform to the body well, the ergonomics are nicely done and the sound system makes you forget about the exhaust and road noise this car makes.
Although the car is bigger than the previous model, there seems to be no improvement with the leg room for the rear passengers.
Overall, it's a very good car. Its quick, reliable, quite comfortable and fun to drive. As you can see, I enjoy it so much I've already put 20,600 miles in just 15 months. For the price, it's an excellent car. No other stock compact car even comes close.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 25th October, 2002