For under $16K new, the Sentra is simply unbeatable. The car has a substantial feel that others in its price range lack. The doors close with a reassuring thud, the interior materials don't look or feel cheap, and you get lots of features for the money. Mechanically, my Sentra has been flawless--the engine is smooth and very quiet, and the transmission shifts smoothly. It has been outside for three Minnesota winters, and it starts easily morning after morning. It's no sports sedan, but few cars in this price range are. It's nice to stand out from the fleet of Civics at every shopping mall, and laugh at SUV drivers paying through the nose at the gas station. Highly recommended.
High quality feel; smooth, quiet engine; lots of bells and whistles for the money; feckless reliability; low operating costs; excellent dealership experience (I recommend Feldmann Imports to anyone in Minneapolis)
Brakes lock up easily (pedal has a nice action to it, but lockup is not difficult to induce, especially above 50mph. ABS recommended; front seats lack thigh support; rear-end styling frumpy (though adding a spoiler improves matters greatly)