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2009 Nissan Sentra Sedan

4dr Sdn I4 CVT 2.0 SL *Ltd Avail*

Starting at | Starting at 24 MPG City - 30 MPG Highway

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  • $19,660 original MSRP
Printable Version

2009 Nissan Sentra Sedan

Benefits of Driving a 2009 Nissan Sentra Sedan

The standard versions of the Sentra has more of an emphasis on interior design and amenities than most other small sedans its size, and at a better price than most of its competitors. The Spec V is attractive for its torquey engine and crisp handling, and as a competitively priced alternative to the likes of the Honda Civic Si and Volkswagen GTI.

What's new for 2009?

For 2009, the Sentra is carried over virtually unchanged, though there are a few small changes to its appearance and standard feature list. All models get a redesigned trunk lid. Automatic door locks are made standard across the line and MP3 playback capability is added to the sound systems.

Model Strengths

  • Distinctive appearance
  • bargain price
  • comfortable ride
  • SE-R performance

Model Review

The standard Sentra models come with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 140 horsepower. It's offered mated to a six-speed manual transmission or a continuously variable automatic transmission. The sporty SE-R models get a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, rated at 177 horsepower for the SE-R and 200 hp for the Spec V.

Printable Version

2009 Nissan Sentra Sedan

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2009 Nissan Sentra

Source: New Car Test Drive

Overview

The Nissan Sentra, which was completely redesigned and re-engineered for the 2007 model year, continues into 2009 with only minimal changes. Among those things which are new for 2009: A slightly restyled trunk lid, new cloth seat selections, automatic door locks are made standard, MP3 capability on the 2.0 S and 2.0 SL trim levels, a new Premium Plus Package for the 2.0 SL, and three new exterior colors.

The Sentra may be thought of as a compact, but it's not that small. The truly small cars are subcompacts: Nissan Versa, Toyota Yaris, and Honda Fit. The Sentra is larger and roomier than those cars and competes with compacts such as the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic. Sentra comes only as a four-door sedan (no hatchback is offered) and all models are front-wheel drive.

This latest-generation Sentra was designed for American buyers. As a result, the cabin is spacious and it's finished like a more expensive car, with wonderfully supportive seats in cloth or leather. The 60/40 split rear seat folds flat, opening up the trunk space and creating a large flat cargo area. It's enough space for two to sleep back there, or to haul long items.

The high-performance Sentra SE-R and the higher performance SE-R Spec V feature a 2.5-liter four-cylinder tuned to 177 horsepower and 200 horsepower respectively. These SE-R models have suspension modifications for sharper handling. The SE-R models have more power and better handling, but they're easy to live with and offer all the advantages of the standard Sentra. For 2009, SE-R models have a new Premium Audio Package and two new exterior colors.

Sentra 2.0 models come with an aluminum 2.0-liter engine and a choice of a wonderful six-speed manual gearbox or a CVT continuously variable automatic transmission. These cars are good values. They're roomy inside, the engine is modern and competitive, and the chassis provides good handling and a comfortable ride. Sentras with the 2.0-liter engine are EPA rated at 25/33 mpg City/Highway with the CVT, 24/31 mpg with the six-speed manual. Nissan is a leader in CVT, or continuously variable transmission, design, and we've been happy with them.

Model Lineup

The 2009 Nissan Sentra comes in five models: 2.0, 2.0 S, 2.0 SL, SE-R, and SE-R Spec V.

Sentra 2.0 models come with Nissan's 2.0-liter four-cylinder aluminum engine, making 140 horsepower and 147 pound-feet of torque. The standard transmission in the 2.0 and 2.0 S is a high-tech and fuel-efficient Nissan Xtronic continuously variable transmission (CVT), but a six-speed manual is available on the 2.0 S for $800 less.

Sentra 2.0 ($16,730) comes with cloth seats, air conditioning, interior air filter, tilt steering wheel, remote manual mirrors, four-way adjustable manual front seats, 60/40 split fold-down rear seats, power windows, power door locks, electric power steering, AM/FM/CD stereo with four speakers, auxiliary audio input jack, theft-deterrent system, and P205/60R15 tires on steel wheels with wheel covers. Anti-lock brakes are optional ($250). A read deck-lid spoiler ($210) is optional for all 2.0 models.

The 2.0 S ($16,960) adds a height adjustment for the driver's seat, power exterior mirrors, remote keyless entry, cruise control, illuminated steering wheel audio controls, a six-speaker sound system, vehicle information display, and P205/55R16 tires. ABS with electronic brake-force distribution is standard. The 2.0 S is also available with the CVT ($17,760). A Convenience Plus Package ($850) for the 2.0 S with CVT includes a leather-wrapped steering wheel, Bluetooth wireless cell phone link, overhead CD storage, power trunk release, and Intelligent Key keyless entry and ignition. ABS with electronic brake-force distribution is standard. Options for the 2.0 S include XM Satellite Radio ($150), a Moonroof package ($750), and alloy wheels ($350).

The 2.0 SL ($19,660) gets leather upholstery, leather-wrapped steering wheel, Intelligent Key, Bluetooth hands-free cell phone link, XM Satellite Radio with three months of service, and alloy wheels. Optionally available is an Audio Package ($700) with a 340-watt Rockford Fosgate AM/FM radio with six-disc CD/MP3 changer and eight speakers. The Divide-N-Hide trunk is optional ($150).

The SE-R ($20,660) features a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that makes 177 hp and 172 pound-feet of torque, and it is mated to a CVT. The SE-R comes with a sports suspension, a rear spoiler and P225/45R17 all-season tires. Both SE-R models offer an optional Premium Audio Package ($850) and an SE-R Upgrade Package ($1,000).

The SE-R Spec V ($21,160) comes with the 2.5-liter engine tuned to produce 200 hp and 180 pound-feet of torque, and it links to a six-speed manual gearbox. The SE-R Spec V sports a performance suspension and W-rated P225/45R17 tires. It deletes the folding rear seat. A helical limited-slip differential is optional ($400).

Safety equipment is extensive on all models, including dual-stage front airbags, front side airbags, full-length curtain airbags, active front-seat headrests, and a tire-pressure monitor. Antilock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution are standard on all but the 2.0, where they are optional. Electronic stability control isn't available.

Walkaround

The Sentra is built on Nissan's C-platform, which is larger than the subcompact Versa's B-platform and smaller than the midsize Altima's D-platform. The current-generation Sentra is considerably larger than the pre-2007 model. From every angle, it looks like the latest-generation Nissans. With its crisp character lines, the Sentra resembles a scaled down Altima.

The Sentra is offered only as a four-door sedan. Hatchback buyers will want to look elsewhere, including to the smaller Versa.

Designers paid special attention to the grille, front fascia, big trapezoidal halogen headlamps, and steeply raked windshield. The short front overhang lends a sporty look.

Along the sides, only widened bodywork around the wheels breaks up the clean, attractive doors and quarter panels. A character line rises from the front door back to a tall trunk, giving the Sentra a bit of a rake. Large door openings make it easy to climb in and out, and a high, distinctive rear deck offers ample trunk space.

The contemporary Nissan look continues at the rear, where the high trunk lid is flanked by white and red taillights that have a Nissan family look. The long roof line resolves itself in a short trunk lid.

Sentra SE-R models have more aggressive front and rear fascias, side sill extensions that visually lower the car, a rear spoiler, and beefy, low-profile 17-inch tires on alloy wheels.

No matter what Sentra you choose, you'll make no compromises in looks, comfort, safety or style, to have this inexpensive compact car in your driveway.

Interior Features

The Nissan Sentra is a good choice for drivers who practically live out of their cars. For example, the locking glovebox is deep enough to hold a laptop computer. There is also an available integrated removable CD holder on the headliner above the driver's sun visor. The front of the center console has a tray for items such as cell phones, as well as two cupholders that are adjustable for 20-ounce bottles or 32-ounce mega cups. Pockets with see-through netting are provided on the backs of the front seats for passengers' cell phones and iPods.

With 97.4 cubic feet of cabin space, the Sentra offers more room than the Mazda3, Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, and Chevy Cobalt.

The trunk measures 13.1 cubic feet (12.0 cubic feet for the SE-R Spec V). The Cobalt offers 13.9 cubic feet. The Sentra 2.0 SL offers the simple but clever Divide-N-Hide trunk ($150). The trunk is so deep that it can accept a false folding back, creating a secret space about 20 inches wide, just behind the rear seat.

For cargo space, the 60/40 split rear seat can be folded flat, to open up the space into the trunk (due to a structural bulkhead, the SE-R Spec V lacks the folding seat). There's no problem fitting a bicycle or maybe two back there, through the trunk; two friendly people could even sleep back there.

We've spent time with a bare-bones Sentra 2.0 with cloth seats, a fully equipped 2.0 SL with leather, and a SE-R Spec V with its sport seats.

We loved the supportive feel of the cloth seats; they embrace your back like a good hug, and are neither too firm nor too soft. The available leather is plush for a compact car; there's no reason to ride in a penalty box just because you're trying to save gas. The SE-R's sport seats are better bolstered and have a grippy fabric to keep the driver in place during enthusiastic cornering. They also get more flair, with special stitching and red seat belts on the Spec V.

The four-speaker sound system in the 2.0 was okay, while the eight-speaker Rockford Fosgate audio system with in-dash 6CD in the 2.0 SL was great.

A long wheelbase with short overhangs results in agreeable legroom for the rear-seat passengers. The back seats are relatively flat, however, so they won't be comfortable for long trips.

The instrument panel might be the nicest aspect of the interior. Again, it is very stylish, and functional, too. The instruments are sharp, the controls easy to operate, and the center stack features a strong-looking shift lever rising out at a 45-degree angle. The trim around it all is a handsome flat silver. SE-R models get two additional gauges at the top of the center stack, one for oil pressure and one that displays acceleration and deceleration g forces.

Driving Impressions

The Nissan Sentra holds its own in a world of big vehicles. The base 2.0-liter engine puts the Sentra on par with other high-tech four-cylinder engines. Boasting an aluminum block and head, continuously variable valve timing, and electronic fuel injection, the 2.0-liter makes 140 horsepower (same as the Honda Civic, eight hp more than the Toyota Corolla and eight hp less than the Mazda3). However, the real story is its strong torque: With 147 pound-feet, it beats those other cars. Torque is important because it's needed for acceleration from lower speeds, such as when accelerating from an intersection or up a steep grade, and the Sentra feels quite powerful around town and in traffic.

Our Sentra 2.0 zoomed up freeway on-ramps, and felt like it belonged in the fast lane. It ran in 80-mph traffic with ease and had no trouble cruising at 90. The engine wasn't loud and didn't feel strained at that pace, although under full-throttle acceleration it was a bit noisy from 5000 rpm up to its redline of 6500.

Fuel economy for a Sentra with the 2.0-liter engine is an EPA-rated 25/33 mpg City/Highway with the CVT transmission, and 24/31 mpg with the six-speed manual.

The CVT (continuously variable transmission) is now in its third generation, and the technology has improved greatly. The main benefit with a CVT is better gas mileage, a result of less internal friction. With only two ranges, high and low, it's smoother because there's less shifting, though the sound is odd, as if the car is winding up like a snowmobile. Floor the gas pedal and the Sentra surges ahead aggressively.

The Sentra SE-R Spec V feels docile in traffic, in spite of the performance from its 200-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder. It makes its best power near redline, from 6600-7000 rpm, so you need to drive it enthusiastically it to get the most out of it. It doesn't feel high-strung, however. It's easy to live with and provides that extra bit of oomph when you want to play. The Spec V comes with an easy-shifting six-speed manual transmission and the clutch works with ease, making the Spec V feel more like an everyday driver than a sport compact.

The suspension on all Sentras is an independent configuration in front, with a torsion beam in the rear, a compact design with separate shocks and coil springs that allows more room for the trunk that's above it. In its base form, it's forgiving. In its most aggressive state, in the SE-R Spec V (with higher-rate springs, shocks and bushings), it's firm in a quality kind of way, yet never harsh or uncomfortable. It feels rugged and inspires confidence out there in the cruel world of roadway realities. It even felt comfortable over a series of Chicago potholes. We haven't driven the standard SE-R, but we suspect it is also quite comfortable.

We had the opportunity to drive the SE-R Spec V at the fast 4.0-mile Road America circuit near Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. We found it to be fun but not razor sharp. The engine revved predictably, without climbing too quickly for the driver to keep up with gear shifts. The brakes didn't fade during our high-speed lap, and the handling gave nice feedback but didn't feel as agile as a Subaru WRX STi or Mitsubishi Evo X.

We also thrashed it around an autocross course. The engine provided good power out of corners, so much so that we spun the inside wheel. We would recommend the optional limited-slip differential for anyone wanting to do parking-lot autocrosses or other hard driving in the Spec V. The car leaned more in quick, sharp turns than an autocrosser would like, and wasn't as sharp as the likes of a Mini Cooper S, BMW 1 Series, or even a Chevrolet Cobalt SS. Overall, when it comes to ride and handling, we'd liken the Spec V to the Honda Civic Si: They're both comfortable road cars, with decent handling that provides a lot of feedback as they approach the edge of adhesion.

The brakes felt good on the street. Base models have vented 11-inch discs in front and drums in rear. The SE-R has 11.7-inch front discs and 11.5-inch rear discs, and the SE-R Spec V gets 12.6-inch front rotors. ABS is standard on all but the base model. We recommend ABS because the anti-lock brakes allow you to brake and steer at the same time in a panic stop.

The Sentra uses electric power steering, as opposed to hydraulic. It's speed-sensitive, which means the feel is lighter when parking and heavier out on the freeway, as it should be.

Summary

The Nissan Sentra is a solid compact sedan that gets good gas mileage and offers a great value. The cabin is roomy and comfortable with nice seats and an attractive instrument panel. Sentra offers two excellent engines and a fine, forgiving chassis. The SE-R Spec V provides driving fun without being harsh or high strung. Nissan nailed this one.

NewCarTestDrive.com correspondent Sam Moses reported from San Francisco, with Kirk Bell reporting from Chicago.

Model Line Overview
Base Price (MSRP)
$16,730
Model lineup:
Nissan Sentra 2.0 ($16,730); 2.0 S ($16,960 manual, $17,760 CVT); 2.0 SL ($19,660); SE-R ($20,660); SE-R Spec V ($21,160)
Engines:
140-hp 2.0-liter inline-4; 177-hp 2.5-liter inline-4; 200-hp 2.5-liter inline-4
Transmissions:
6-speed manual; CVT
Safety equipment (Standard):
dual-stage frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, full curtain airbags; active front seat headrests, tire pressure monitoring system
Safety equipment (Optional):
ABS with EBD
Basic warranty:
3 years/36,000 miles
Assembled in:
Aguascaliente, Mexico
Specifications As Tested
Model tested (MSRP):
Nissan Sentra 2.0 ($16,730)
Standard equipment:
continuously variable transmission (CVT), cloth upholstery, air conditioning, interior air filter, tilt steering wheel, four-way adjustable manual front seats with height adjustment, power windows, power door locks, AM/FM/CD stereo with four speakers, auxiliary audio input jack, vehicle immobilizer system, P205/60HR15 tires, tire pressure monitoring, rear defroster
Options as tested:
none
Destination charge:
625
Gas Guzzler Tax:
N/A
Price as tested (MSRP)
$17,425
Layout:
front-wheel drive
Engine:
2.0-liter dohc 16-valve inline 4
Horsepower (hp @ rpm):
140 @ 5100
Torque (lb.-ft. @ rpm):
147 @ 4800
Transmission:
continuously variable transmission (CVT)
EPA fuel economy, city/hwy:
25/33 mpg.
Wheelbase:
105.7 in.
Length/width/height:
179.8/70.5/59.5 in.
Track, f/r:
59.8/60.8 in.
Turning circle:
35.4 ft.
Seating capacity:
5
Head/hip/leg room, f:
40.6/54.1/42.4 in.
Head/hip/leg room, m:
N/A
Head/hip/leg room, r:
37.3/53.0/34.5 in.
Cargo volume:
13.1 cu. ft.
Payload:
N/A
Towing capacity:
N/A
Suspension F:
independent, struts with coil springs and stabilizer bar
Suspension R:
torsion beam and stabilizer bar
Ground clearance:
5.6 in.
Curb weight:
2930 lbs.
Tires:
P205/60HR15
Brakes, f/r:
disc/drum in.
Fuel capacity:
14.5 gal.

Printable Version

2009 Nissan Sentra Sedan

Safety Ratings help

What do the Safety Ratings mean?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) performs independent crash testing of new vehicles and then assigns them a score based on their performance. The overall crash test rating is based on how a vehicle performs in the following tests:

Driver Crash Grade:

Measures the chance of a serious injury to a crash test dummy that is placed in a driver's seat and driven into a fixed barrier at 35 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less chance of injury.

Passenger Crash Grade:

Similar to the driver crash grade, only now the focus is on the passenger.

Rollover Resistance:

Simulates an emergency lane change to measure the likelihood of a vehicle rolling over. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less risk of rollover.

Side Impact Crash Test - Front:

Focuses on the front side of a vehicle. It simulates crashes that can occur in intersections by striking a 3,015-pound weight against the side of a vehicle at 38.5 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 5 percent or less chance of injury.

Side Impact Crash Test - Rear:

Similar to the front side impact test only now the focus is on the rear passenger.

Driver Crash Grade
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Passenger Crash Grade
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Rollover Resistance
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Side Impact Crash Test - Front
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Side Impact Crash Test - Rear
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Safety Features & Equipment

Braking & Traction

4-Wheel ABS Std
Tire Pressure Monitoring System Std

Passenger Restraint

Driver Air Bag Std
Passenger Air Bag Std
Side Air Bag Std
Side Head Air Bag Std
Rear Head side Air Bag Std
Child Safety Locks Std

Road Visibility

Electrochromic Rearview Mirror Opt
Intermittent Wipers Std
Variable Inter. Wipers Std

Accident Prevention

Handsfree Wireless Std

Security

Alarm Std
Anti-theft System Std
Printable Version

2009 Nissan Sentra Sedan

Nissan Certified Pre-Owned Warranty  help
Certified Pre-Owned Warranty
To be eligible for Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) status, vehicles generally must be recent models with relatively low mileage. CPO vehicles must also pass a detailed inspection, outlined by the manufacturer, which is measured by the number of inspected points.
Warranty coverage can vary from one manufacturer to the next. While most certified pre-owned programs transfer and extend the existing new car warranty terms, others offer a warranty that simply represents an additional year and mileage value. Always check with the manufacturer for the specific warranties they offer.
Common features and benefits of Certified Pre-Owned warranties include:
Age/Mileage Eligibility
To even be considered for certification, a car must be a recent model year and have limited mileage. The exact requirements are established by individual manufacturers.
Lease Term Certified
Some manufacturers offer certified pre-owned cars for lease. The length of the lease is often shorter than a new car lease, but it will cost you less.
Point Inspection
These inspections entail a comprehensive vehicle test to ensure that all parts are in excellent working order. The point inspection list is simply a numbered list of exactly what parts of the car are examined. While many inspections range from a 70- to 150-point checklist, most are very similar and are performed using strict guidelines. Ask your local dealer about specific details.
Return/Exchange Program
Some manufacturers offer a very limited return or exchange period. Find out if you will get the sales tax and licensing/registration fees back should you return or exchange the car.
Roadside Assistance
Most certified pre-owned programs offer free roadside service in case your car breaks down while still under warranty.
Special Financing
Reduced-rate loans are available through many certified pre-owned programs. Manufacturer-backed inspections and warranties help eliminate the risks involved with buying pre-owned, so buyers who qualify can take advantage of the great offers.
Transferable Warranty
When a new car warranty transfers with the certification of the car and remains eligible for the next owner, it is known as a transferable warranty. Once the original transferable warranty expires, an extended warranty takes effect.
Warranty Deductible
This is the amount for which you are responsible when repair work is performed under the warranty. Some manufacturers require a deductible while others don't, so always ask.

7-year/100,000 mile limited warranty. Only Nissan models less than 6 years old and under 80,000 miles qualify for the Nissan Certified Pre-Owned program. The CARFAX Vehicle History Report ensures your vehicle has a clean title history.
Age/Mileage Eligibility 6 model years or newer & less than 80,000 miles.
Lease Term Certified Yes
Point Inspection 150+ point comprehensive Certified Pre-Owned Inspection and reconditioning. Inspection includes OEM service bulletins and recalls, diagnostic trouble codes, powertrain/chassis, body frame, road test, interior and body exterior.
Return/Exchange Program No
Roadside Assistance Yes for the duration of the 7 year/100,000 mile limited warranty from the original in-service date of the vehicle.
Special Financing Yes
Transferrable Warranty No/Yes if wrap coverage is purchased at the time of sale
Warranty Deductible $50 per claim

Learn more about certified pre-owned vehicles

Printable Version

2009 Nissan Sentra Sedan

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