Used 2000 Nissan Sentra Review

Edmunds expert review

An economy sedan that doesn't feel like an economy sedan.

What's new for 2000

The Sentra has been completely overhauled for the 2000 model year. A better ride, more powerful engines and a new enviro-friendly version top the bill, and we likes what we sees.

Vehicle overview

The Sentra has always held a special place in our hearts in the fun-to-drive department, but compact car buyers overlooked it in favor of the more popular Corollas and Civics. For the 2000 model year, Nissan has overhauled the entire car, designing the first Sentra to be made exclusively for the U.S. market. What kind of car do they think Americans want?

First, a better looking one - the new Sentra sports a lower hood, body-colored bumpers and grilles, new fascias, and character lines which gives it a touch of class. But compared to the Ford Focus, the result is typically generic. The interior has been revamped as well, with an increase of 3.0 cubic feet in passenger volume, higher quality materials, and a revised instrument panel.

Second, they address our packrat tendencies with lots more storage space - a larger and more accessible trunk, and cubbyholes galore to hold all our gewgaws.

Third, Nissan claims that enhanced safety ratings are achieved through a stronger platform and a "two-zone" body structure, which incorporates an energy-absorbing zone and a safety restraint zone. Better handling is another result of the improved platform, and the enhancements have been duly noted. The car rides more smoothly and quietly, almost evoking a much more expensive sedan.

Fourth, lots of options -- standards include power windows, locks, air, AM/FM/CD stereo system, dual airbags, and three-point seatbelts. Three trim levels are available nationwide -- the XE, GXE and SE. The first two are offered in either the new 1.8-liter version whose engine produces 126 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 129-foot-pounds of torque at a low 2,400 rpm, or the SE, powered by a 2.0-liter inline four which puts out 145 horses at 6,400 rpm and 136 foot-pounds at 4,800 rpm. All are mated to a standard five-speed manual. A power-assisted front disc/rear drum braking system is standard on all models but the SE, where four-wheel discs are offered. ABS is optional on the GXE and SE.

Another version, the CA (Clean Air), will be available in California -- as the low-sulfur gasoline utilized by the CA is only available in California in limited-production numbers. This car will appease all those environmental freaks on the West Coast -- it meets zero-evaporation standards, eliminating harmful airborne pollutants. It's not a laggard in performance, either; the ride is just as pleasant as on the other Sentra models.

The 2000 Sentra really delivers in all of these qualities. With these refinements, the Sentra should have no problems competing for a piece of the compact car consumer's coffers. Nissan should be cognizant, however, of its ability to cannibalize its older brother Altima's sales volume.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.