Used 1997 Nissan Sentra

1997 Nissan Sentra
List price range

Pros

  • Relatively powerful engine, nice interior ergonomics, and good fuel economy.

Cons

  • Boring styling.

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Edmunds' Expert Review

vehicle overview

Print advertising for Nissan's launch of the new Sentra last year asked magazine readers if they had "seen it?" "Have you seen it?" asked small quarter-page ads. A couple of pages later, a two-page layout extolling the virtues of the new Sentra would appear, and then on the next page, another quarter-page ad asked "Did you see it?"

We've been asking ourselves the same questions. The Sentra was introduced a year ago, and we can't remember seeing one, aside from in print. We know why, too. Nissan stylists evidently feel that the company's corporate look should be one of extreme anonymity, and recent Nissan products have lost their visual flair. Witness the Maxima, 240SX, and now, the Sentra.

Looks aren't everything, as matchmaking friends have told many of us. True, but they do go quite a ways toward total satisfaction. If only the Sentra had kept its scrappy personality in its transformation from 1994 to 1995, we might be able to overlook the plain-Jane sheetmetal. Unfortunately, the zippy 1.6-liter engine that energized the previous-generation Sentra feels anesthetized in the new car. On the plus side, the newer Sentra has more rear seat room, and improved ergonomics. 1997 brings a quieter interior to the lineup -- everything else carries over intact.

Base prices fell with the redesign, a miracle in an industry that has jacked up prices at twice the increase of the cost of living index, and remain static with the 1997 model. A GXE runs $14,800, and doesn't include antilock brakes. What's worse, alloy wheels and a sunroof are standard and available only on the top-of-the-line GLE model, which will set you back at least $16,200. ABS is optional on the GLE too, and the base and XE models are not available with this important safety feature at all. However, the Sentra is notoriously reliable; a point in its favor. Besides, lots of compact sedans can ring up to...cha-ching!...$16,000 with a full load of options, such as the Neon Sport sedan and Honda Civic EX.

Do the pluses outweigh the negatives? Depends on what you're looking for in a compact sedan. If you want something fun-to-drive, try the Neon. If you want basic, reliable transportation with four doors, one of your many choices is the Sentra.

Top consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1997 Nissan Sentra.

Gas mileage is good
clb891, 7/24/2011
i have the AT..bought this car used from some man whose daughter hit a deer in it(driver side headlight area). i got it fixed for a good price. It has 250k miles but it runs GREAT. Good car for someone living on a tight budget(im a college Kid) i use it to go back and forth to school mostly and gas mileage is still good. i can go almost 2wks on a full tank. with only a little hp and torque, it really knows how to use it even at 65+ it still goes strong(better than my friends 08 civic). i am 5'10'' so room is an issue especially when riding people in the back.
1997 NISSAN SENTRA
dora5, 5/16/2012
I owned the GXE Automatic for 14 years until my accident, and loved it. There are still many on the road. This was a great car!
"Old Reliable"
dustnh, 3/27/2010
I got this car when I was 17 after my car was totaled an accident. I always thought it was a good car as a teenager but after my husband & I slowly got new cars, the Sentra ended up just sitting for about a year. My newer car bit the dust after 7 months of a 100 mile round trip commute every day. My husband & I got the Sentra tuned up & it is as good as new (with 167,000 mi)! We did have to do some regular repairs while we drove it in the early 2000s, with one repair costing approx. $600. However, the car is a gem that is well worth doing a few minor repairs to in order to avoid a car payment while we save up for a new one. I would definitely buy another Nissan, no doubt about it.
Like it
tata201037, 8/25/2010
I love my Sentra, I got it for my 16th birthday. It gets great gas mileage, about 35 mpg, when on empty it only takes $25 to fill it up. It has pretty good get up and go for a four cylinder, faster than a honda civic off the go. The seats are kinda stiff but other than that its a nice interior. It has power everything, and even keyless remote entry. There pretty nice cars for their year. I personally like it better than its Toyota or honda competitors. Fun cars to play with and customize. One thing i don't like about it is that its not very safe, no ABS, no side-compact airbags, very light design, and poor stability on the road. Great car, fast for what it is, and attractive for what it is.
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Features & Specs

MPG
25 city / 35 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
115 hp @ 6000 rpm
MPG
25 city / 35 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
115 hp @ 6000 rpm
MPG
25 city / 35 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
115 hp @ 6000 rpm
MPG
25 city / 35 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
115 hp @ 6000 rpm
See all Used 1997 Nissan Sentra features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    RolloverNot Rated
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    0

More about the 1997 Nissan Sentra
Used 1997 Nissan Sentra Overview

The Used 1997 Nissan Sentra is offered in the following submodels: . Available styles include GLE 4dr Sedan, XE 4dr Sedan, 4dr Sedan, and GXE 4dr Sedan.

What's a good price on a Used 1997 Nissan Sentra?

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