2008 Nissan Sentra Sedan Review | Edmunds.com

2008 Nissan Sentra Sedan

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Nissan Sentra Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.5 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 200 hp @ 6600 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 21/29 mpg
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2008 Nissan Sentra

  • With its exceptional passenger room, the 2008 Nissan Sentra is a reasonable choice for buyers in need of an economy sedan that doesn't feel compact. Just don't expect much in the way of driving excitement, even on the SE-R models.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Very spacious seating front and rear, straightforward control layout, quiet highway ride, speedy SE-R Spec V model.

  • Cons

    Engine drone gets tiresome with CVT, so-so handling, ride quality can be harsh, manual gearbox's clunky shift action.

  • What's New for 2008

    ABS, cruise control and a security system become standard fare on 2.0 S models, while all 2008 Nissan Sentras gain auto-up convenience for the power driver window. Satellite radio is standard on the Sentra 2.0 SL. A manual transmission is no longer available on the base 2.0 model.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (159 total reviews)  |  Write a Review


Never had an issue

by on
Vehicle: 2007 Nissan Sentra

I bought my 2007 Nissan Sentra in September of 2011 with 42k on it. I didn't own it long, only until January of 2013. I drive a lot for work, and in the short time I owned it I went from 42K to 69k. So about 27k in about 1 1/2 year. I never brought this car in for anything besides oil changes. Not one issue. I replaced the tires once, if that counts. As I said I didn't own it long, but I drove it a lot and never had one remote issue or sore feeling. The only reason I got rid of it is that I got a new job, so upgraded to a Volvo S80. Must say, sometimes I miss my little reliable gas sipping Sentra. Definitely consider this vehicle, have a mechanic check it over first, of course.




Worst car ever!!!

by on
Vehicle: 2007 Nissan Sentra

I have had nothing but problems with this car. I bought the car in 06 brand new. By early 2009 I had to replace the engine. By early 2010 I had to replace the transmission, and a week ago my check engine light went on and the transmission needs to be replaced again! Nothing but problems and money! I hate it!




Best car for the money

by on
Vehicle: 2007 Nissan Sentra

This car has all the features (some competitors didn't have at the time) for much less. It has enough get up and go yet it take getting used to the CVT which means you don't feel the jerk as the car shifts. I bought it in 2008 and have more that 56,000 miles. I've had to change the front brakes and went with the best pads and lifetime warranty. I've only used synthetic oil and high end filter on regular schedule. I have had no major issues in the heat (90+) or the cold (snow and freezing).




Overall bad experiend

by on
Vehicle: 2007 Nissan Sentra

the car has been nothing but problems. Replaced the radiator and muffler within first 3 years of ownership. Brakes are a constant problem. Rotters always warping, constant vibration when braking. Need to buy a new set of tires every year. Rust on both sides of the car by back doors. I have never had a car that was such a piece of junk!



5 of 6 people found this review helpful

Engine replacement already @ 82,000

by on
Vehicle: 2007 Nissan Sentra

I bought a 2007 Nissan Sentra 2.0 with a automatic CVT transmisson back in 2008... I have always keep up on my repairs, oil changes etc. The other day the service engine soon light came on so of course I took it in to be looked at. I was told by the mechanic that the engine needs to be replaced because the second cylinder has low compression which would run $3,000, What a joke! I have only had the car for a little over two years now... I was told by the mechanic that for the year the car was and how many miles it has on it (>82,000) that it should not have happened. Sentra's for the year 2007 are nothing but Lemons. I will never ever do business with Nissan again!



1 of 4 people found this review helpful

Worst car ever had

by on
Vehicle: 2007 Nissan Sentra

WHERE DO I START....THIS CAR HAS GIVEN ME PROBLEMS SINCE A WEEK FROM ME DRIVING IT OFF THE LOT. I BOUGHT THE CAR WITH 6 MILES ON IT AND I'VE HAD THE FOLLOWING PROBLEMS..GAS COVER STUCK, 3RD TRANSMISSION, DEFECTIVE AIRBAGS, LIGHTS NOT WORKING INSIDE OF THE CAR, SHIFTER IN THE CAR CAME APART... MY SISTER HAS THE SAME CAR AND HAS HAD MOST OF THOSE PROBLEMS PLUS REPLACING HER STEERING COLUMN...NISSAN GAVE ME A HARD TIME TO FIX THESE ITEMS(THAT WERE UNDER WARRANTY) THE CAR IS NOT WORTH THE PRICE. IT HAS HAD MORE WEAR-N-TEAR DAMAGE COSTS THEN THE ACTUAL WORTH OF THE CAR. HAVE IT FULLY MAINTAINCED BEFORE BUYING THAT YEAR OF SENTRA. I TRADED IT IN WITH 46,000 MILES ON IT BECAUSE IT WAS TOO MUCH $!



Full 2008 Nissan Sentra Review

What's New for 2008

ABS, cruise control and a security system become standard fare on 2.0 S models, while all 2008 Nissan Sentras gain auto-up convenience for the power driver window. Satellite radio is standard on the Sentra 2.0 SL. A manual transmission is no longer available on the base 2.0 model.

Introduction

No longer does owning an economy sedan mean you'll be holding your breath or retracting limbs as you wedge yourself into a pint-size compact. On the contrary, many of these cars are now sized to accommodate 6-foot adults in any of their seats, and the 2008 Nissan Sentra in particular meets the EPA's "midsize car" classification. If you're tall but need a car that's affordable, this is very good news.

The Sentra's size is a product of its tall hatchback underpinnings -- its platform is derived from the Megane, a family-oriented, European-market hatch engineered by Nissan's partner Renault. In most other respects, the French connection is scarcely apparent, as the Sentra is styled to look like a miniature Maxima on the outside and employs Nissan's familiar industrial aesthetic on the inside. Not everyone will find this approach to cabin design attractive, but it's certainly functional. All the controls are exactly where you'd expect them to be and storage areas are abundant in number and variety.

Another advantage to the Nissan Sentra is its variety of engines. The base 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine provides 140 horsepower and a livable compromise between performance and economy when paired with the continuously variable transmission (CVT) that Nissan offers in lieu of a conventional automatic. Those seeking a little more speed can choose either the medium-hot Sentra SE-R, which has a 177-hp 2.5-liter four-cylinder, or the truly hot Sentra SE-R Spec V with its higher-revving, 200-horse version of that engine.

If speed on the cheap is what you're after, the Spec V is an impressive deal given its under-$21K price tag and 6.7-second 0-60-mph time. Handling is another matter, though. Although the SE-R models have more aggressive running gear than the lower trims, their non-independent rear suspension design and tall, blocky dimensions make them less adept through the corners than competitors like the Honda Civic Si, Mazdaspeed 3, Subaru WRX and Volkswagen GLI.

Ride quality is an issue on all Nissan Sentras, as even the softer-tuned 2.0 models are unable to shield occupants from bumps and ruts the way most economy sedans can. Accordingly, we'd advise prospective Sentra buyers to try the Hyundai Elantra, which offers comparable interior room and a more compliant ride. Other good options include the Civic, Mazda 3, Mitsubishi Lancer and, for those with slightly higher spending limits, Volkswagen's Jetta. These cars aren't quite as roomy, but all offer a superior ride/handling balance and, in many cases, higher-quality cabin furnishings. That's not to say you wouldn't be happy with a 2008 Nissan Sentra, as it's a competent car in most respects. However, with so many qualified small sedans in this price range, consumers should shop around until they find a car that meets their needs exactly.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

Offered in sedan form only, the 2008 Nissan Sentra comes in five trim levels: 2.0, 2.0 S, 2.0 SL, SE-R and SE-R Spec V. The base 2.0 trim includes 15-inch steel wheels, a split-folding rear seat, air-conditioning, a CD stereo with an auxiliary audio jack, and power windows and locks, but isn't eligible for many options. Most buyers will prefer the midrange Sentra 2.0 S, which adds 16-inch steel wheels, a height-adjustable driver seat, keyless entry, cruise control, power mirrors, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls and a trip computer. Step up to the 2.0 SL and you get alloy wheels, leather upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, keyless start, satellite radio, Bluetooth and an overhead CD storage container. Many of the SL's features are optional on the S. Options on both include a sunroof, a Rockford Fosgate sound system, a spoiler and a trunk divider.

The Sentra SE-R offers most of the SL's conveniences, but keyless start, satellite radio and steering-wheel audio controls move to the options list. Additional equipment on the standard SE-R includes 17-inch alloy wheels, firmer suspension tuning, larger brakes, a lower body kit, cloth-upholstered sport seats, aluminum-trimmed pedals, and oil pressure and G-force gauges. The SE-R Spec V supplies summer tires, an even firmer and lowered suspension, even larger front brakes and additional interior enhancements. Note that the Spec V has a rear reinforcement brace that prevents the rear seats from folding. The sunroof and Rockford Fosgate stereo are optional on both SE-R models. Only the standard SE-R is eligible for keyless start, and only the Spec V can be fitted with a limited-slip front differential.

Powertrains and Performance

All Nissan Sentra 2.0 models are motivated by a 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine good for 140 hp and 147 pound-feet of torque. A CVT driving the front wheels is standard on base 2.0 and 2.0 SL models, while S buyers can get either the CVT or a six-speed manual gearbox. The EPA rates fuel economy at 25 mpg city/33 mpg highway with the CVT and 24/31 with the manual.

The CVT is also standard on the SE-R, which has a 2.5-liter four-cylinder good for 177 hp and 172 lb-ft of torque. More hardcore in personality, the SE-R Spec V gets a high-output version of this engine capable of 200 hp and 180 lb-ft of torque. The Spec V's motor also has a higher redline (7,000 rpm versus the standard SE-R's 6,200), and can only be matched to a six-speed manual with it. The Nissan Sentra SE-R Spec V gets to 60 mph in 6.7 seconds.

Safety

Front-seat side airbags and full-length head curtain airbags are standard on every 2008 Nissan Sentra. Antilock brakes are standard on all except the base 2.0 model, which has ABS as an option. The SE-R models have four-wheel disc brakes, but other Sentras still have rear drums.

The Nissan Sentra earned a perfect five stars in government-administered frontal-impact crash tests. It earned five stars for front-occupant protection in side impacts and four stars for the rear.

Interior Design and Special Features

The Nissan Sentra's cabin offers a modern design, well-organized controls and generally agreeable materials quality. Both SE-R models have black seat cloth with red stitching, but red front seatbelts are exclusive Spec V fixings. Seating is spacious, with ample room for tall adults to get comfortable in both the front and rear. The downside is that the Sentra's driving position can be awkward for those under 6 feet tall: The steering wheel doesn't telescope, and the dash and door panels feel unnaturally high. Storage space is abundant in the Sentra, and luggage capacity is a respectable 13.1 cubic feet.

Driving Impressions

Handling is adequate but uninspiring in the Nissan Sentra. The car's electric power steering is well weighted, but there isn't much road feel. The SE-R models, particularly the Spec V, fare better in this regard and can be driven quite hard on curvy roads. Compared to similarly priced peers, though, the Spec V feels ungainly and fails to involve its driver as closely as a true sport compact should. Still, the SE-R models offer plenty of power. The Spec V is particularly entertaining, as its engine combines a generous amount of low-end torque with a free-revving personality. Unfortunately, the manual gearbox is awkward and unsatisfying to shift.

In 2.0 form, the 2008 Nissan Sentra is a decent performer. The base engine is reasonably smooth, with adequate power for easy highway driving, though the CVT allows it to drone on at high rpm more than a conventional automatic would. Ride quality is fine on smooth blacktop, but limited suspension travel results in considerable harshness over bumps. The firmly tuned Spec V can get downright uncomfortable during commutes.

Talk About The 2008 Sentra

Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 21
  • cty
/
  • 29
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs