First off, no we’re not going to be comparing it to the E90, that would be an unfair comparison. A fair comparison to the E90 M3 would be a 1M, and sadly I didn’t rent one of those.
Before you say “well did you check Turo?” the problem with Turo is mileage. I put a total of 620.9 miles on the Sentra, which would mean I would need a car with a mileage limit of more than 300 miles per day and that’s near Roswell GA. When I looked there were 3 with that limit near me, here’s the only one available as of now.
Also, I have to trust that vehicle to get me to and from just south of Savannah Georgia. I had an interview to get to, I really don’t want to deal with someones personal car breaking down on me. In addition to this, we have to talk about the real reason I rented a car, cost. While I love my M3, it’s not cheap to run. The Sentra in total cost me $95.34, that’s rental cost and gas; or $0.154 per mile. The M3 costs about $0.15 in gas alone per mile, at current prices. That’s assuming 18 MPG on the highway, and that’s been about the average I’ve gotten on the highway in the 2.5 years and 25,000 miles I’ve put on the car.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, how is the car. Well lets start with the inside. Despite not having lumbar support, like the Chevy, the seat was pretty good. It would have been better if it had lumbar support, but I found it supportive enough and wasn’t sore after my 4 hour trip down to Pooler on Monday. Atlas M was right about the seats:
I like to plug my phone in, I’m not a big fan of bluetooth, so that’s what I did. I had no problem using the interface to play music from either my iPhone or my iPod. It handled the amount of music I had on my iPod about as well as the M3, it wasn’t as good but it was still decent. However, the quality of the stereo was shit. The bass was terrible and anything with a lot of bass sounded extremely distorted. I have to say the stereo in the Chevy was so much better. The Chevy had me thinking “damn this is a stereo in a rental car?!?!” the Nissan had me thinking “damn, this is a stereo in a rental car.”
I think my problem with electric power steering (EPS) is that my first experience to it was in a Hyundai. Once again, the EPS in this car wasn’t bad, it didn’t require much input to keep in a straight line, it’s not overboosted. I mean it’s an not M3, but it’s also not a Sonata.
Honestly I think I just hate Hyundai/Kia products, which is based on my experience with them. Today I had to replace the tail light in my sister’s Sonata for the second time in less than 6 months, and yes last time I replaced the pair. The only thing I will say about them is that since they’re so terrible to drive, it convinced my dad to get a BMW, so I will thank them for that. Before this turns into a rant about how much I hate Hyundai, let’s get back to Sentra, and we’ll talk about the drivetrain.
Actually before we talk about the drivetrain, lets talk about another Sentra first. The B14 Sentra was released in 1995 and came with the GA16DE. This engine produced, according to wikipedia, 115 hp at 6,000 RPM and 110 ft-lbs of torque at 4,000 RPM which would propel a 1995 Sentra with a manual transmission from 0 to 60 in 8.5 seconds and return 30 mpg around town and 40 on the highway.
22 years later, how much more power does the 2017 have? 40? 50? No, it has 9 more horsepower. 9, for a total of 124. This engine, MRA8DE, has a larger displacement and variable valve timing and doesn’t even make double digit gains on a 22 year old Sentra. So yeah, it’s slow. It does 0-60 a full second slower than the 1995 car. That’s right if you took a 2017 Sentra and drag raced it against a 1995 Sentra, the 1995 Sentra would win. So yes on everything but safety, the 1995 Sentra wins. You had to make it safer so you added weight but it needs more power.
I had to pop the hood to make sure someone hadn’t swapped the motor from this:
It’s pretty underpowered. The Chevy I rented had a total 39 more horsepower than the
Benz Patent Motorwagen Sentra. The only upside to this was the Chevy used a total of 22.579 gallons of gas to do 717 miles, whereas the Sentra used 18.728 gallons of gas to do 620.9 miles. For those of you without your trusty TI-84 handy, that works out to 31.8 mpg for the Chevy and 33.2 mpg for the Sentra. I should note, this was on the same roads, with the same lead footed M3 driver, with around the same traffic, the Chevy just had to go a little further south than the Sentra. So sacrificing 39hp gets you 1.4 more mpg.
For the first part of my journey, I didn’t really notice the CVT. I mean, during highway driving, it’s not like it’s doing much. I did notice that there would be times it would grab some revs as we were going up some hills. I didn’t really do much city driving, but in some more heavy traffic it felt really lurchy and was searching for a ratio to use. I think if I had done more driving in the city I would have more of an opinion on it, but for the most part I didn’t really notice it.
I did notice that the brake pedal was shit. As soon as I started driving, I noticed it took like half of the pedal travel before anything happened. Maybe they needed to be bleed or something but it felt like I was stepping on a sponge. I think I actually liked the brakes less than the power.
I’m not sure how they managed the body roll to feel like you’re driving an SUV, but they managed it. So if Nissan was going for 1997 Explorer through the corners, they nailed it. Actually that might be hard on the Explorer.
So in conclusion, don’t buy a Sentra. Save your money buy something else, as long as it’s not a Sonata, fuck that car.
Too bad the SV doesn’t stand for “superveloce”