Unlike many modern sedans, the 2009 Nissan Sentra has plenty of room for average-sized adults. Drivers partly can attribute this to the Sentra being modelled on the popular French hatchback, the Renault Megane, but in all other ways, this car remains very much a Nissan. Nissans gain recognition for their functional cabins, with a lot of storage bins and intuitively placed controls. The Sentra offers no exception, and its cabin maintains this great design.
The Nissan Sentra also comes with a choice of engines. Base models contain a 2.0-liter engine, while more luxurious models come with a 2.5-liter engine. Buyers have a choice of five trim levels, but while Nissan offers a substantial number of add-ons for the higher models, it provides virtually nothing for the base model. Critics of the car also complain of its uncomfortable ride, saying that the Sentra’s short suspension magnifies every bump in the road. This proves problematic for Nissan as many other small sedans give a better performance in this area. The Sentra’s real strength lies in its spacious interior.
Body styles: small sedan
Engines: 2.0-liter, 2.5-liter
Transmissions: six-speed manual, continuously variable transmission (CVT)
Models: Nissan Sentra 2.0, Nissan Sentra 2.0S, Nissan Sentra FE+2.0 SR, Nissan Sentra FE+2.0, Nissan Sentra 2.0 SL, Nissan Sentra SE-R, Nissan Sentra FE+2.0SL, Nissan Sentra SE-R Spec V
In 2009, the Nissan Sentra received a number of updates, including cloth seat trims, automatic door locks fitted as standard, a revised trunk lid, MP3 playback, and a new premium package for the 2.0 SL model. The FE+ can be applied to all of the Sentras, except for the manual transmission 2.0 S and both SE-R trims. FE+ means Fuel Economy Plus and equates to a one mpg increase in fuel economy due to tweaks made to the engine. 2009 marks the first year for the SR trim, which shares similarities with the FE+ 2.0 S.
The 2.0 base model comes with 15-inch steel wheels and power windows. The 2.0 S model remains a more popular choice, as it comes with 16-inch steel wheels and power mirrors. Later models for this year include the SR trim level, with 16-inch alloy wheels and a body kit inspired by the SE-R. The 2.0 SL trim comes with 16-inch alloy wheels, while the SE-R model features 17-inch alloy wheels, a better suspension, and a lower body kit. The SE-R Spec V takes things a step further with higher-performance tires and a firmer and lower suspension.
The interior of the Sentra has a nice finish, especially for a compact sedan. The trunk can be partitioned to form two separate compartments. As the Sentra stands a little taller than most conventional compacts, it has better entry and improved forward visibility. The models offer cloth or leather seats. Air-conditioning comes standard, as do power windows and locks. Steering wheel-mounted controls and cruise control come standard on the S and SL models. The S model offers optional keyless ignition, but it comes standard on the SL, as does the XM satellite radio.
Performance & Handling
The 2.0-liter engine provides an adequate amount of power for the Sentra, but the CVT tends to keep the engine revving when on the highway, and the noise can become a little irritating after a while. The steering doesn’t respond particularly well. If you want a car with better performance, then look to the SE-R models, and keep in mind that the Spec V offers a fun drive. However, the Spec V’s manual transmission lacks precision and sometimes awkwardly shifts.
All of the Sentra models come standard with front-seat airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. Anti-lock brakes (ABS) are optional on the base 2.0 model, but are standard on all of other models. The SE-R models come with four-wheel disc brakes. The Nissan Sentra does well in safety tests, scoring five out of five stars in front- and side-impact tests for passengers in the front. It earns a respectable four stars for rear passengers in side-impact crash tests.
EPA Fuel Economy
Nissan Sentra 2.0: 25/33 mpg city/highway
Nissan Sentra 2.0 S: 25/33 mpg city/highway
Nissan Sentra FE+2.0 SR: 26/34 mpg city/highway
Nissan Sentra FE+2.0: 26/34 mpg city/highway
Nissan Sentra 2.0 SL: 25/33 mpg city/highway
Nissan Sentra SE-R: 24/30 mpg city/highway
Nissan Sentra FE+2.0 SL: 26/33 mpg city/highway
Nissan Sentra SE-R Spec V: 21/29 mpg city/highway
- Roomy interior
- Intuitive controls
You Won't Like
- Mediocre performance
- Clunky transmission
A good choice for a vehicle with a roomy interior.
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