2003 Nissan Sentra GXE 1.8L from North America


Will never buy again... shouldn't have bought it in the first place!


Front bushings.

Oil dip stick broke.

Fuel pump replaced.

Temperature control sensor.

Crankshaft and/or cam shaft sensor.

Engine had to be replaced at 74,000 miles.

Stripped bolt fell out of brake caliper.

Trunk takes multiple tries to get it to latch shut... occasionally flies open on the highway.

Rear bumper is falling off.

Paint chipped off rear passenger door.

It still struggles to start when the engine is warm, even after having 3 sensors replaced and the fuel pump replaced... now I may have to get new head gaskets.

General Comments:

I absolutely hate my Sentra.

The seats are not made for long trips.

Any small bump or imperfection in the road feels like you drove over a curb.

The interior is ridiculously small.

My key for the ignition and to unlock the doors are different. (Not inter-changeable).

The keyless remote didn't come with the car.

The lack of safety features leaves me feeling vulnerable on the highway or during the winter.

The only things I semi-like about the car is that it's paid for, costs me nothing, and my neighborhood mechanic can work on it. Oh, and the AUX input for my iPod is nice.

I should have bought a Saab.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 22nd August, 2010

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


Great if you're willing to put your money and blood into it


Spec V 6sp Manual

Note: I kept this car as perfect as possible, with inspections, maintenance & overall upkeep regularly — and like clockwork, as soon as the warranty expires, so does everything else (not unlike a lot of cars with exception to Toyota, Honda, Subaru & all the German manufacturers).

What is now as I find consistent with this car. I also must say, looking back to the days of the 280z, 280zx & 300z, not to mention the '99 Altima SE, I had previously, there will always be an issue.


Can't say it's a Nissan strong point. Nice close ratio, but getting it into gear without the occasional & embarrassing screeching of gears is quite annoying. If you put it in gear, then it should go in gear, not clash with metal. Pumping the clutch, after moving it in & out of another gear will usually fix the problem. This was an issue from the first 2 months of ownership, but of course the dealership would never (so they said) get the issue to recur. It's been rather consistent since. That is, with the Sentra, it's with "Reverse", the Altima, "2nd gear". Otherwise, the 6th gear takes some getting used to - at times, it just doesn't want to pop into place, however over time I found it goes right into gear at high speeds only. All said, still a lot of fun.

Power & Performance (in it's Class):

Very good, a sleeper waiting to jump the gates, though consider replacing your tires every two years if you want to keep those 2nd & 4th gear chirps. Hands down better than that Altima (in any year - I test drove the others thru 2008). The Altima, with it's everlasting horrible turning radius only got worse in 2000 for trade for size & luxury. Mind you, I can't stand the very limited turning radius on the Sentra either, another Nissan flaw - they will never beat VW in this.

Not really in this category, but since I've seen this elsewhere, the battery drains fast, & quite often it takes a few cranks to start the car up. To clarify, it starts fine when it's cold, but when it's up & running warm — can sit there for awhile cranking it up.

Recalls & Issues:

The engine sensor recall called for an engine replacement after the 1st two years. The month of hell dealing with those idiot mechanics at my (LA) dealership - do they even test drive these cars after replacing parts & worse, they always forget to bolt surrounding parts back on. Don't know how many times I have to take it to have bolts put back on. Let me see, that wheel well shroud looks like it's just hanging there, maybe you should of secured it back in place.

At 68K, I'm looking at my second round of replacing all the struts, 2nd round of replacing the rack & pinion bushings; replaced the power steering pump, timing (forgot, but it was expensive), lower control arm, battery (not due to misuse), windshield wiper motor, clutch & the headlight plastic covers clouded over some 4 years ago; also the stock speakers became tinny a few years back & I don't even listen to music.

General Comments:

Overall, for its class:

Quick with great handling, however 0-60 is closer to 8 sec. Bit of a drag with 3rd gear, but 4th gear great for passing.

Terrible turning radius & tight cornering could use upgrades (like past Nissans, the tail floats). Slalom (mountain) driving at high speeds is quite nice.

Close ratio shifting, but shift grind likely (only have this in reverse). Also, get comfortable with the 6th gear location early.

Gas mileage is terrible, about 5 points below listed.

Comfortable, but stiff ride. Many times, drinks have bounced out of the rather weak cup holders, spilling all over the center console.

I don't have the excessive oil burning problem, but I use synthetic whether or not that makes a difference.

Standard sound system, extremely cheap. The CD player scratches the CD every time.

Resale value is decent for a Nissan.

Note (in regards, bought all these new) :

Before the '99 Altima, I had the '97 Honda Prelude Type-SH (fun, but way over-rated), the '92 Acura Integra RS (so far the best value for quality of the past newer cars), and then my favorite which I bought used & fixed up myself - '71 Chevy Camaro split bumper RS 4sp V8.

Nissan, for the most part lacks in customer service, definitely trust or backing of their product, and since they broke from Datsun, have only created a plastic car with little value once it rolls off the showroom floor.

What now:

- Can't buy American, since there is no such thing anymore (majority of the parts come from foreign countries, as well as the plants that assemble them), not to mention cheap obvious quality they are, the resale value is the worse in the industry.

- German is quite the best overall

- Toyota is the best Japanese &/or Asian car manufacturer despite it's current problems.

... Oh that's right, I live in California with 10% sales tax & tax happy Schwarzenegger... I believe I'll rebuild my Nissan with after market performance parts & make it the car it should have been.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 14th March, 2010