2003 Nissan Sentra SE-R SpecV 2.5 4 cylinder from North America


Reliable, safe, fast, and fun


The front end paint was chipped. Overall, the paint is very easily damaged.

The brakes throw a lot of brake dust onto the rims. I washed the car twice a week because of it.

Car threw a check engine code, turns out I didn't put the gas cap on properly.

The 6 speed transmission has to be seriously babied until it warms up. Then it's smooth as butter.

The rear end is ugly!!!

General Comments:

The car has plenty of power in the city and passing on the highway.

The car has an awesome heater in the winter. I've never owned a car that heats up that quickly, and living thru Canadian winters was much more tolerable. It does need winter tires though.

The car corners great, but gives a rough ride mainly due to the low profile tires. During winter with higher ratio tires, the ride was a lot nicer.

Decent gas mileage. 23-25 city, 29+ highway. (Premium fuel, but runs fine on regular)

I t-boned an old man in this car and wrote it off. I was travelling 60 km/h when I hit him, and I walked away without a scratch, bruise, or even a sore muscle. I was surprised that this small car would let me walk away from an accident like that.

These cars are durable if not abused.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 5th December, 2005

2003 Nissan Sentra Spec V 2.5L from North America


This car's been a pleasure, period


ECU went out about 1 year, covered under warranty (later there was a recall for this -- mine died before the recall notice was sent out)

Problem with temp control knob.

Had the butterfly valve issue; caused very rough running.

All items fixed under warranty.

General Comments:

I chalk the above issues to "so what?" The car is really fun to drive, cheap to maintain (well, some of the maintenance trips can be high -- $500+, which blows).

I've experienced the problem getting the thing into reverse, just need to be careful, let it roll forward an inch or two... shifter can still be a little crunchy, but I've learned where to shift on the RPM curve and this isn't much of an issue. Still love how smmmooooooth the engine is. Just a wonderful plant.

Great handling, great feel... good feedback through the steering wheel. The original Conti's are too slick for rain (hydroplane VERY easily) and impossible in the very infrequent ice/snow in Dallas... Fuzon's do much better in the rain.. MUCH better, but maybe a notch lower performance-wise on dry pavement.

Love the l-s differential (remember that, guys?) Only chagrin is: hey Nissan, you can tweak this baby for more horses/torque, afterall it's a 2.5l. Does anyone remember that idiotic 210hp *supercharged* v6 Exterra from a couple of years ago. I know, everyone dumbs down their engines, but they can do better by the Spec V and we ALL KNOW IT.

Incidentally, I drove this thing from Dallas to Reno and back in early 2004. No problems, no kinks in back or butt... very, very nice ride. And, I still think it looks great, preferring the more aggressive front end treatment. I did add a pair of tweeters in the front pillars... brought the front soundstage a little higher and closer to my ears (and added a little "crystal" to the sound).

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 13th September, 2005

2003 Nissan Sentra GXE from North America


Will keep buying Nissans


Nothing has gone wrong with this car. I like this model so much, it is the second Nissan Sentra I have owned. My 1991 Sentra lasted 10 years. I fully expect this car to last 10 years or more.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 8th August, 2005

29th Sep 2006, 20:51

I had a 1990 Sentra that was a great car, so I bought another new Sentra in 2003. Both have been very reliable.

2003 Nissan Sentra XE 1.8 from North America


Avoid at all costs with 1.8 Engine. Made in Mexico


Head gasket blew with engine only at 48k miles. crankshaft seal leak at 18k miles. Engine suffered damage from leaking head gasket. now it takes a little longer to start the car.

General Comments:

The car was bought as a commuter vehicle. I read reviews of the Nissan sentra with the 1.6l and reliability was strong. However, those vehicles were built in Japan with the 1.6L. Nissan shifted building the sentra in Mexico and an updated 1.8L. boy things have gone wrong with this!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 11th March, 2005

28th Aug 2005, 22:31

I agree with the crankshaft, but did you get a letter for recall regarding this matter? I did and Nissan changed it for me at no cost, but my service engine light has come on and won't go off at all despite being looked at by different mechanics. No one can diagnose it whatsoever.

31st Dec 2005, 03:02

Well, at least the Crankshaft was repaired free of charge like mine. One thing I want to point out to ALL of you 2002 Sentra owners is a warning about their faulty EMU. Before I gave mine back to the dealership, mine blew out of nowhere!

It would have cost around 1500$ to replace it, but luckily Nissan repaired it under warranty. Sentras have to be redone in my opinion with better reliability like the older ones.

11th Jan 2006, 02:03

My 2001 Honda Accord v6 is made in mexico, and now it has more than 120,000 miles with no problems. just all scheduled mainenance, that's it.

11th Jan 2006, 04:05

The highly reliable Sentras sold in the US from 1991-1999 were made in Nissan's Smyrna plant in Tennessee. This plant is now dedicated to making Altimas while Sentra production was shifted to Mexico in 2000. Reliability of Sentras made since then have dropped.

13th Jan 2006, 03:07

In my family we own 2 sentras, mine is 1997, my fathers is 1999 and they are all made in mexico, if you don't believe me, if its in mexico, the VIN starts with the number 3. by the way, mine has 250,000 miles with its first clutch, and it still runs like new.

17th Jan 2008, 03:34

I'm the original poster. now at 82k miles, we just got our second headgasket replaced. this time our our dime for $1100 at the dealer. we have one more year to pay off this junk. after that, we'll keep it for another year to save money for a down payment for a toyota corolla! NISSAN SUCKS!!!