Compact car; Built in USA
  • 2-door coupe
  • 4-door sedan
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $1,000 – $1,800*


1991 Nissan Sentra GXE 4-door sedan


1992 Nissan Sentra GXE 4-door sedan


1994 Nissan Sentra SE-R 2-door coupe


1991 Nissan Sentra SE-R interior


1991 Nissan Sentra SE-R engine

Pros:
  • Acceleration (SE-R)
  • Antilock brakes (optional)
  • Fuel economy
  • Instruments/controls
  • Roadholding (SE-R)
Cons:
  • Automatic-transmission performance
  • Engine noise
  • Rear-seat room
  • Road noise
  • Wind noise

Overall, these models feel much more solid than before and are worth a test drive.

Overview

The revised Sentra lineup eliminated both hatchback and wagon models–only 2-door and 4-door notchback sedans were included. They retained the front-wheel-drive configuration and featured the same subcompact dimensions. The model lineup consisted of E, XE, and GXE trim levels for the 4-door, along with E, XE, SE, and sporty SE-R model when ordering a 2-door. All but the SE-R came with the previous Sentra’s 1.6-liter 4-cylinder. E models came with a 4-speed manual transmission standard or an optional 3-speed automatic. On the other trim levels, a 5-speed manual was standard, with a 4-speed automatic was the optional gearbox. The new SE-R featured a lively new 140-horsepower 2.0-liter 4-cylinder. It also came with rear disc brakes in place of drums. An antilock braking system was an available option on both the SE-R and the GXE sedan.

Yearly Updates

1992 Sentra
Among the minor changes for 1992 is the addition of a passenger-side vanity mirror and black bodyside moldings on 2-door models.
1993 Sentra
Two major changes are made to the 1993 Sentras. One is a standard driver-side airbag for the deluxe GXE 4-door. (The safety feature is an available option for the remainder of the Sentra line.) The other is the elimination of low-level gearboxes for the E models. They’re now provided with the same 5-speed manual and 4-speed overdrive automatic as the other Sentra models. All ’93s also sport modest revisions to the grille, front fascia, headlamps, and taillamps.
1994 Sentra
Only standard equipment changed for 1994.
1994.5 Sentra
While awaiting a redesigned Sentra subcompact, Nissan continued to sell unchanged Sentras as “1994.5” models.

Engines

transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

All Sentra models with the exception of the 2-door SE-R are equipped with a new dual-cam, 16-valve version of the previous Sentra’s 1.6-liter 4-cylinder, which benefits further from sequential multipoint fuel injection. With 20 more horsepower now on tap, the powertrain for most Sentras provide 100 horsepower at 6000 rpm and 108 pound-feet of torque at 4000 rpm. The lone exception is the delightful little 2-door SE-R, which Nissan was nice enough to equip with the Infiniti G20’s spunky 2.0-liter engine. When slotted under the Sentra coupe’s hood it provides 140 horsepower at 6400 rpm and 132 pound-feet of torque at 4800 rpm. At introduction, E models came with a 4-speed manual transmission standard and an optional 3-speed automatic. Meanwhile, the other trim levels offered either a standard 5-speed manual or optional 4-speed automatic gearbox. By 1993, the E models joined the rest of the Sentra line in offering the 5-speed manual and 4-speed automatic.

dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 1.6/97
Engine HP 110
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 108
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
3-speed automatic
4-speed automatic
29/29
27/37
27/36

26.4

dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.0/122
Engine HP 140
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 132
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
24/32
23/30
24.3

Road Test

This lineup of Sentras really shines when compared to the 1987-1990 version offered by Nissan. A couple of glowing examples of excellence can be seen in the available antilock brakes for certain models, and the decision to take a risk and produce the impressive SE-R sports coupe with its lively twin-cam 2.0-liter engine. But even with the 1.6-liter base engine, acceleration is much quicker than before (thanks to the extra 20 horsepower), without any real decrease in fuel economy. The engine seems much happier when paired with the manual gearbox, however. The automatic tends to drain too much power, causing the 1.6-liter to feel strained and overworked. Nail the throttle and the automatic does downshift–reluctantly–with a rude jolt.

Road and engine noise are excessive, but the driver faces an uncluttered dashboard. Leg space and seat width are lacking in the rear seat.

Getting back to the SE-R, it comes equipped with the 140-horsepower engine, plus four-wheel disc brakes. There are even antilock brakes on the option list. Should you find an SE-R, you’ll discover a spirited yet smooth-handling little sports coupe with a sense of refinement and competence usually found only on European sports cars costing considerably more.

Ratings

Model Tested: 1992 Nissan Sentra GXE 4-door

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 3
30%
Fuel Economy - 7
70%
Ride Quality - 3
30%
Steering/Handling - 4
40%
Quietness - 3
30%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 4
40%
Room/Comfort Front - 4
40%
Room/Comfort Rear - 3
30%
Cargo Room - 3
30%

Other

Value - 6
60%

Total: 40

Specifications

2-door coupe
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
95.7 170.3 65.6 53.9
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
11.7 13.2 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.5 36.6 41.9 30.9
4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
95.7 170.3 65.6 53.9
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
11.7 13.2 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.5 36.6 41.9 30.9
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 1994 Sentra 2-door coupe

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 4
80%
Front Passenger Injury - 4
80%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision 142
Injury 137
Theft 81

Trouble Spots

Automatic transmission
Description: If the transmission behaves normally until it warms up then will not upshift to third or fourth gear, the high clutch may be burned or the control valve is sticking and must be replaced. (1991-93)
Automatic transmission
Description: If the transmission does not shift properly until warmed up, make sure it is filled only with Nissanmatic “C” transmission fluid. (1991-94.5)
Engine knock
Description: Spark knock or ping is commonly due to carbon buildup on the pistons. The air-flow meter may have to be replaced. (1991-94)
Engine noise
Description: Valve noise is caused by worn cam lobes. The intake and exhaust cam must be replaced. (1991)
Fuel gauge
Description: If the fuel gauge does not read full or the low-fuel light does not come on, the fuel-gauge sending unit must be replaced. (1991-93) The fuel-pump wires may be interfering with the float arm and must be rerouted. (1994.5)
Fuel pump
Description: The brushes for the electric fuel pump may wear prematurely. (1991-92)

Recall History

1991
Description: Front-seatbelt release button can break and pieces can fall inside.
1991 model B12
Description: Improper belt-guide performance on cars equipped with two-point passive nonmotorized front shoulder belts can cause fraying of belt near the retractor.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.