The Nissan Sentra is a five-passenger sedan that was first introduced in 1993. The 2002 Nissan Sentra models, which are part of the second generation, come well equipped with dual front airbags, an anti-lock braking system (ABS), and dual sliding rear doors. The V-6 engine is paired with a four-speed automatic transmission.
Body Styles: sedan
Engines: 3.3-liter V-6
Transmissions: four-speed automatic
Models: Nissan Sentra GXE, Nissan Sentra SE, Nissan Sentra GLE
For the 2002 model year, the Nissan Sentra received new 16-inch alloy wheels for the GXE and SE trims. All models got new exterior colors and revised options packages.
The standard exterior features for the 2002 Nissan Sentra GXE include: 16-inch alloy wheels, variable intermittent windshield wipers, rear swing-out opening quarter windows, rear defogger, intermittent rear wiper, roof rack, privacy glass, remote keyless entry, power mirrors, and power windows. The SE trim adds a roof rack and power heated mirrors. The GLE trim adds a power-opening rear quarter window.
The 2002 Sentra has been designed by Nissan’s California designing engineers to create a compact sedan that is wider, longer, and taller than the previous generation. The corners were rounded, giving it a more sassy and robust look. The SE-R and SE-R Spec-V has distinctive exterior trim to make it look more sporty and stylish, including a rear spoiler and alloy wheels. The overall appearance of the car is attractive than the previous models.
The interior features of the Sentra SE include: cloth upholstery, front bucket seats, driver’s seat with manually-adjustable lumbar support, split-folding rear bench seat, cruise control, speed-sensitive power steering, 12V power outlets, leather-trimmed tilting steering wheel with integrated cruise controls, air conditioning, and a six-speaker in-dash CD stereo system. The LE trim adds: a universal remote transmitter, climate control, simulated wood on the dashboard, and a six-disc in-dash CD stereo system with six Bose speakers. A navigation system and rear seat entertainment system are optional for the LE trim.
The dashboard is neat, intuitive, and convenient. The stereo is mounted high, but the controls are small. The instrument panel features black gauges with red markings, which makes it difficult to see at times. The front bucket seats are padded, comfortable, and supportive. The Spec-V sport seats are well-bolstered to provide good side support when cornering. Front-seat headroom is good, but the seats do not slide back far enough to give people with longer legs adequate room to stretch out on long trips. Headroom for rear seat passengers is adequate for people under six-feet tall. Legroom is meager if the front seats are pushed all the way back. All of the models except the Spec-V have split-folding rear seats.
Performance & Handling
Nissan gave the XE, GXE, and CA models a 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine that makes 126 horsepower and 129 lb-ft of torque that is paired with a five-speed manual transmission. The SE-R and Spec-V models get a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine that makes 165 horsepower and 174 lb-ft of torque. The SE-R has a five-speed manual transmission standard and the Spec-V model has a six-speed manual transmission. All models can be equipped with the optional four-speed automatic.
Acceleration is sluggish for both engines, with the Spec-V model having the best sprint time from zero to 60 miles per hour in 7.0 seconds. The manual transmission displays vague shifting action. The XE and GXE models tend to bounce on hilly roads and jiggle on rippled roads, but the steering is quick and responsive, delivering decent front-wheel drive handling. The SE-R and Spec-V models have a tighter sport suspension that makes the ride harsh. They also display torque steer, which means that the car drifts to the side during hard acceleration.
Standard safety features for the 2002 Nissan Sentra includes: dual front airbags, rear child door safety locks, ventilated front disc/rear drum brakes, child seat anchors, emergency interior trunk release, and electronic Brake force distribution. The Spec-V trim adds fog lights.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the Sentra four stars for frontal-impact protection for the driver and front passenger and rollover protection, and two stars for side-impact protection for the driver.
EPA Fuel Economy
Nissan Sentra XE: 24/32 mpg city/highway
Nissan Sentra GXE: 24/32 mpg city/highway
Nissan Sentra CA: 24/31 mpg city/highway
Nissan Sentra SE-R: 19/26 mpg city/highway
Nissan Sentra SE-R Spec-V: 19/26 mpg city/highway
- Fuel economy
- SE-R steering and handling
- SE-R acceleration
You Won't Like
- Cramped rear seating
- Bumpy ride in the SE-R and SE-R Spec-V
- Rear seat entry/exit is challenging
A solid car that deserves considering, but the competition offers more.
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