Despite its age, the 2006 Nissan Sentra offers a decent amount of equipment for the money and there's plenty of fun to be had with the SE-R models. However, newer competitors are vastly superior when it comes to interior room and overall refinement.
by Josh on Dec 7, 2009 Vehicle: 2006 Nissan Sentra 1.8 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 5M)
Bought this in December 2006. Nothing special, no power windows or seats. No cruise, no ABS, no AC, wipers have 3 settings, too slow, too fast and 'use only in a monsoon fast'. Car is squirrley on the freeway, extremely noisy, but I've gotten almost 40MPG on roadtrips doing 70MPH. If you do not turn on the power and let it set and beep a few times before turning the engine it stalls or has a hard start. Runs great on regular oil. Interior is very cheap. cupholders are useless and cups can interfere with manual shift knob. Drivers door has always had a tiny and occasional leak.
by shakalaka on Nov 29, 2009 Vehicle: 2006 Nissan Sentra 1.8 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 5M)
Purchased this car in 2006 with only 300 miles on it, since then I have driven to hell and back. It now has 127369 miles on the engine, and the car still running strong. I already replaced the belts, spark plugs and the stock tires, but that would qualify as normal wear replacement. The one issue and biggest problem I have with this car is the fuel pump, at 80,000 miles it gave out and I found out many sentra customers have the same issue. Why will Nissan not do a recall on this unit, to me it seems like nissan does not care for its customers. They want this to come out of our own pocket even though it is a manufacturer problem, nothing the customer has done has caused this faulty fuel kit.
The Audio Fanatic package gains a six-disc CD changer this year, and some interior trim has been revised. The 2.5 S model has been dropped.
When Nissan introduced the current-generation Sentra in 2000, it hailed it as an inexpensive sedan that broke the mold for economy cars by offering sporty styling, numerous features and a fun-to-drive character. It may have sounded like the usual marketing hype back then, but compared to its competition at the time, it was in fact a more entertaining car to drive than most of the lifeless cars in its category.
Heading into its seventh year of production, the 2006 Nissan Sentra is still a solid sedan, but its competition has improved considerably. It's still one of the fastest economy cars on the market in SE-R, but it's outclassed by its peers in most other areas. The Sentra's biggest drawback is its cramped cabin. It's hard to find a comfortable driving position and legroom is almost nonexistent in the backseat. A decent features list and the solid performance of the SE-R models still make the Nissan Sentra a viable choice, but most small-car buyers would be better served by the Civic or Mazda 3. A fully redesigned Sentra is coming for 2007, but until then small-car shoppers should explore the many other candidates in this class.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
There are four Nissan Sentra models available -- 1.8, 1.8 S, SE-R and SE-R Spec V. The 1.8 is truly an economy car as it offers only the most basic features. Moving up to the 1.8 S scores you power windows, locks and mirrors; remote keyless entry; a split-folding rear seat; cruise control; a trip computer; air conditioning; an eight-way adjustable driver seat; and a CD stereo. The base SE-R performance model features larger 16-inch wheels, foglights and a rear spoiler, while the top-line SE-R Spec V gets even larger 17-inch wheels, sport seats and optional Brembo brakes.
Powertrains and Performance
There are two engines available on the front-drive Nissan Sentra. The base 1.8 and 1.8 S both use a 126-horsepower, 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine. The 1.8-liter makes most of its torque at low engine speeds, resulting in good in-town response. The SE-R model uses a larger 2.5-liter engine that makes 165 hp and 170 lb-ft of torque. The Spec V bumps those figures to 175 and 180, respectively. The 1.8 and 1.8 S come standard with a five-speed manual transmission. A four-speed automatic is standard on the SE-R and optional on the 1.8 and 1.8 S. The high-strung SE-R Spec V packs an exclusive six-speed manual only.
The 1.8 and 1.8 S have front disc/rear drum brakes, while the SE-R and SE-R Spec V have discs all around. ABS and front seat-mounted side airbags are optional on all models, except the 1.8. In NHTSA testing, the Nissan Sentra earned four stars (out of a possible five) for driver and front-passenger protection in frontal impacts. However, only two stars were given for front-occupant protection in side impacts. The IIHS gave the car an "Acceptable" (second highest) score for its performance in the 40-mph frontal offset crash test.
Interior Design and Special Features
The dash is laid out in a clean fashion, making it easy to find and use the controls. Seat comfort is not one of the Sentra's strengths. The front seats have a short seat-bottom cushion and a limited adjustment range, while the cramped rear seats put the squeeze on even average-size passengers. Trunk space is listed at 11.6 cubic feet, placing it near the bottom of the compact sedan segment.
In 1.8 and 1.8 S trim, there is little to get excited about in terms of the driving experience, but there's enough power for daily commutes and errands. The SE-R model adds serious power that makes the 2006 Nissan Sentra one of the fastest cars in its class. The upgraded suspension on the SE-R and Spec V makes for a bumpier ride on the highway, but enthusiast drivers will appreciate the improved cornering ability.