2003 Nissan Sentra SER Spec V 2.5L from North America


The worst car I've ever purchased


Fuel gauge does not read correctly.

Vibration above 65 miles per hour.

Speakers pop.

Trunk does not open.

Windows do not close in the tracks.

Fender is loose.

Does not start all the time.

General Comments:

This is by far the worst purchase I have ever made. I have had nothing, but trouble with the car since day one. I have tried three dealerships to get these problems corrected with no success.

I now fear for my safety in this vehicle. I would not recommend this car or Nissan to anyone.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 15th April, 2004

24th Apr 2006, 13:31

I thought it was one of the better purchases that I ever made, when it came to car buying. It's a good looking peppy car that is reasonably priced. It gets good gas mileage, even with a lead foot like me. The only problem I had with the car was the expansion valve and that was replaced under warranty. Maybe you got a lemon, that sucks because they are really fun cars.

2003 Nissan Sentra SER SpecV 2.5L 4 cylinder from North America


Best bang for your buck that's not turbocharged from the factory


Brake booster and master cylinder went out at 14,000 miles.

Other than that no problems, and all recalls have not been included with my car.

General Comments:

All around wonderful car. Stock form it's very well balanced: roomy, quick, handles great, stops fast, great fuel economy (24-26mpg city, 28-30mpg highway).

I have had several import sports cars including '94 Acura Integra GS-R, '95 Mitsubishi GS-T, and '85 CRX Si, all have not stayed stock for very long. This car did for a little longer only because of the limited parts due to being only a year old. But I have added some basic bolt-ons: cold air intake, header, cat-back exhaust, air/fuel controller, springs, big brakes, wider, lighter rims with sticky tires, and solid engine mounts. After being dyno tuned the car now runs 14.7's, makes 162whp and 176wTQ, and gets around 25-27mpg city and 34-36mpg highway.

Love this car, hasn't let me down yet, and I hope to keep it a long time.

This car has brought me many wins in races in auto-crossing, road racing, drag racing, etc. All the fun, but legal racing.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 22nd February, 2004

11th Jul 2004, 02:08

My spec-v is an 03 and I have been having a lot of problems with the motor. After having the car for 2500 miles the rings in the motor went,6600 dollars later I now have a new motor and converter. Now 6000 miles later I am having trouble with the motor again. Don't get me wrong I love my car and it is one of the fastest cars in my area, but I think that the 2.5 is a motor that best fits the Altma because anyone in a spec-v is going to want more than the 2.5 has to offer. I plan on keeping my car, but I am also planning to put an SR20 in my car.

2003 Nissan Sentra SE-R Spec V 2.5L I4 from North America


Unbeatable performance for the price


There was a recall for the pre-catalyst - if driven hard for extended periods the pre-cat could overheat and the ceramic coating could break off and get sucked into the engine, scoring the cylinder walls and causing excessive oil consumption. They reprogrammed the ECU and replaced a heat shield to "fix" the issue.

There is a "clunk" noise in the steering that is becoming more and more frequent. It used to happen just when the car was cold and had been sitting, but now it occurs fairly often when the wheel is turned past center from one side to the other. The dealer blew it off the first time I had them look at it (same time as the recall) but I will be sure that they fix it before my warranty expires.

General Comments:

First off, I just want to say I love this car. Compared to my previous "sport" compact, a 2001 Cavalier Z24, this thing is a dream. The Z24 is OK for someone who is just starting to work on performance driving in an econo-sport, but this car really takes it to the next level and beyond.

Power delivery is strong right off the bat - almost too strong. Torque steer can be an issue, but just be aware of it and you will begin to appreciate the fact that you have plenty of power to work with. The QR25 is an excellent engine and pulls strong right up to 6200 RPM. It may seem like overkill to use such a "large" 4 cylinder, but keep in mind that despite the larger displacement, this engine is actually smaller and lighter than the previous 2.0L engine (the SR20) which is so highly regarded in the sports compact community, and makes significantly more naturally aspirated horsepower (175 vs 140). With some work, you can easily make 200 N/A hp out of this engine. If you want turbo power, I have seen talk of early turbo kits that produce almost 270hp at 8psi (SRT-what?). From what I have read, this engine will probably not handle over 350 without extensive internal work.

The 6 speed transmission is great, a significant improvement from the 2002 model (from what I've been told). It shifts well and has a solid feel when going into gear. Occasionally when cold it will feel a bit stiff, but once warmed up it is fine. In 6th gear, the car runs at about 3100 RPM at 80 mph, which is fine. This car is drag-limited at about 135mpg from what I hear. I've only had it up to 120 (off-road, of course ;) but felt like I had plenty of room to go. The only problem is getting it into reverse if the car has been sitting; sometimes it won't go all the way into gear, but either putting it into a forward gear first or letting the car roll a little will fix this little problem every time.

This car handles extremely well for an economy sedan platform. The suspension is fairly stiff, but not to the point of being uncomfortable; just slow down for those speed bumps. Steering is nice and responsive, with a good feel for the road. The wheels, though they look nice, are unnecessarily bulky at a hefty 24 lbs. If you want to squeeze every bit of performance out of this thing, consider lightweight aftermarket wheels. The Continental tires are fine for most spirited driving on the road (these tires even come stock on BMWs and Porsches), but like most street tires they will break loose if pushed hard (I was all over the place while autocrossing on them). I will most likely go with a different brand when the Contis are finished (which I am estimating will happen around 20,000 miles for the fronts).

Other good points: GREAT seats, decent cabin layout with handy flip-open compartment on the dash (although taller drivers might be annoyed with their right leg rubbing against the center console), high-quality leather covered steering wheel with nice white lacing, red gauges (although this is pretty subjective), decent 180W stock stereo (400W Rockford-Fosgate upgrade available)

Bad points: rear seats do not fold down unless you get the upgraded sound system (don't know what they were smoking there), rear spoiler is somewhat cheap and flimsy (rattles when you close the trunk)

Overall, for the price this car has no competition, and there are several more expensive sport compacts that this car can hang with.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 10th November, 2003

26th Feb 2004, 20:56

Dear Steven.

I own a 2002 SE-R Spec-v.I also have a problem with my steering making a "clunk" noise when turning side to side. Like you I also was blown off at the dealership when I brought it in to get fixed. It may be because it was right before the recall had come out about the 2.5 liter sentra and altima's, and they wanted to get it out quick to make room. I don't know. They told me that they couldn't find anything wrong with it, and that they had greased some parts as well as tightened some bolts.This, however, made little improvement. A few days later it was making the same noise.

I was wondering if you had gotten it fixed, and if so what was the problem.



P.S. Other than than recall and the "clunk",I have had no problems with my Spec-v.I love it and wouldn't dream of buying another car for the price.