Compact car; Built in Mexico
  • 4-door sedan
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $2,200 – $7,200*

2000 Nissan Sentra SE

2000 Nissan Sentra SE

2000 Nissan Sentra interior

2001 Nissan Sentra GXE

2001 Nissan Sentra SE

  • Fuel economy
  • Rear-seat entry/exit

Not as refined as a Civic or as roomy as a Ford Focus, Nissan’s “entry-level” sedan is solid enough–and priced right on the secondhand market.


Nissan redesigned its smallest sedan for 2000, with bigger dimensions for its fifth generation. Introduced after the 2000 model year began, the “entry-level” 4-door was the first version to be designed exclusively for the U.S. market. XE and uplevel GXE versions used a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine that made 126 horsepower. The sportier SE got a 145-horsepower 2.0-liter four. A 5-speed manual transmission was standard with either engine, but a 4-speed automatic was optional. A special Sentra CA, sold in California, met that state’s Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicle requirements. Antilock brakes and front side airbags were optional, as a package for the GXE and SE only. The SE sedan had standard 4-wheel disc brakes and was the only Sentra available with a sunroof. XE and GXE models rode on 14-inch steel wheels, while the SE got standard 15-inch alloy wheels. An in-dash CD changer was optional only for GXE and SE sedans.

Yearly Updates

2001 Sentra
Except for the addition of an in-trunk emergency release, little was new for 2001. The base XE edition lost its driver’s-seat height adjuster.
2002 Sentra
Gone was the 145-hp SE model, replaced at the top of the line by the SE-R and SE-R Spec V. These new models had a larger engine with 165 hp in the SE-R and 175 in the Spec V. The SE-R had unique interior trim, a sport suspension, and 16-inch wheels vs. other Sentras’ 14s or 15s. The SE-R Spec V got further suspension revisions, 17-inch wheels, distinct exterior styling touches, and its own interior decor, including sport front seats.
2003 Sentra
The Limited Edition, basically a GXE with a 165-hp 2.5-liter engine, plus standard automatic transmission, ABS, and front side airbags was added to the lineup for ’03.
2004 Sentra
The Sentra got minor front and rear exterior changes in 2004.
2005 Sentra
Availability of satellite radio is among the few changes to Nissan’s smallest sedan for 2005. All models get new upholstery fabrics for 2005, and the 1.8 S adds cruise control and a trip computer as standard.
2006 Sentra
No 2006 changes for Sentra.


transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

Sentras came with either of two dual-overhead-cam 4-cylinder engines, depending on model. A 1.8-liter four rated at 126 horsepower went into the XE and GXE, while the SE sedan used a 145-hp 2.0-liter. Both engines came with 5-speed manual shift or an optional 4-speed automatic transmission. The 145-hp SE model was replaced by the SE-R and SE-R Spec V. These new models had a larger 4-cyl engine with 165 hp in the SE-R and 175 in the Spec V.

dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 1.8/110
Engine HP 126
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 129
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic

dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.0/122
Engine HP 145
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 136
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic

dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.5/152
Engine HP 165-175
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 175-180
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
6-speed manual
4-speed automatic

Road Test

Sentras don’t exactly feel underpowered. SE-Rs are among the quickest subcompact cars: 7.8 sec 0-60 for SE-R, 7.0 sec for Spec V, Nissan says. Still, a test GXE with a manual transmission needed a relatively leisurely 9.9 seconds to reach 60 mph. Automatic adds at least a second to that pace. With its bigger engine, the SE is quicker–but not by all that much unless it has the 5 speed, which helps this small sedan feel quite spirited. Automatic transmissions are smooth and responsive enough, but some 5 speeds have suffered imprecise shift action and overly sharp clutch engagement, which makes smooth driving tricky. As for economy, a GXE averaged 24.9 mpg, while an SE managed 28.5 mpg. Both had manual shift.

Sentra’s base suspension delivers safe, predictable front-drive handling, but only modest cornering grip on its standard all-season tires. Some bounding at higher speeds is noticeable, as is marked wheel patter on washboard-surfaced freeway segments. Although the ride isn’t really bad, the suspension is less absorbent than that of a Honda Civic, Volkswagen Jetta, or Toyota Echo. A firmer suspension gives the SE sportier handling, with a slight loss of ride comfort. No model is really quiet, with tire roar higher than the class norm. Even without ABS, a GXE stopped in reasonably short distances with little nosedive and easy pedal modulation, but some sudden wheel lockup.

Interior space could be more generous. The lack is most noticeable in back, where 6-footers can sit upright but have little leg or foot space if the front seat is pushed all the way back. Front seats don’t move far, either, so tall drivers might also feel cramped. Entry/exit is hindered by small rear door openings. Gauges and controls are simple and handy. The radio is high, but smallish buttons and markings make it a little hard to use. Interior storage is above average, but trunk space is not, aggravated by a moderate-size opening and scant height beneath the parcel shelf.


Model Tested: 2002 Nissan Sentra XE

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.


Acceleration - 3
Fuel Economy - 6
Ride Quality - 4
Steering/Handling - 4
Quietness - 3


Controls/Materials - 7
Room/Comfort Front - 4
Room/Comfort Rear - 3
Cargo Room - 2


Value - 7

Total: 43


4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
99.8 177.5 67.3 55.5
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
11.6 13.2 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.9 37.0 41.6 33.7
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2000 Sentra 4-door sedan


(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 4
Front Passenger Injury - 4

Side Impact Test

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


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

Collision 131
Injury 134
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Air conditioner
Description: If the air conditioner does not cool, the thermocouple in the evaporator may be at fault. A new probe must be installed in a different location. (2000-01)
Audio system
Description: Popping and crackling noises in the audio system are often due to cell phones plugged into the cigarette lighter. Using a different power source or moving the phone often helps. (2000)
Steering noise
Description: Squeaks or rattles from the front end when turning are often due to misaligned, and damaged, strut bearing not fully seated in its recess. It was being replaced under warranty. (2000)
Water leak
Description: The driver’s-side floor gets wet because the air-conditioner evaporator drain hose has a tendency to fall off the pipe at the evaporator case. A hose clamp may help. (2000)

Recall History

2000-01 Senta
Description: Steel wheels could fail and separate from the mounting hub without prior warning.
2000-02 Senta
Description: May be missing tamperproof caps meant to prevent horizontal headlamp adjustment.
2001 Senta
Description: Bolts used to attach each front-suspension lower control arm to the body on the left and right sides may not have been properly manufactured and could fracture, increasing the risk of a crash.
2002 Senta w/ 2.5 liter
Description: Exhaust pipe hanger pin may catch debris from that could be ignited by contact with the main catalyst. Dealers will remove the protruding pin and install heat shield(s).
Description: The engine may stall while being driven at low speed due to an overheated crankshaft position sensor. Dealers will reprogram the ECM.
2003 Senta
Description: Corrosion on resistor in ECM could cause check-engine light to come on or cause the engine to stop.
2005 Senta
Description: Vapor hose in fuel tank may not have been formed correctly; if tank is full, fuel may flow into the hose, causing vapor canister to fill and excess fuel to spill onto the ground.
Description: The engine may stall while being driven at low speed due to an overheated crankshaft position sensor. Dealers will reprogram the ECM.
2006 Senta w/ 2.5L engine
Description: Excessive engine oil consumption as a result of improper performance of the piston rings may occur. If the oil is not maintained at least at the minimum level, engine damage can occur, and in extreme cases, an engine fire. Nissan notified owners of the possibility of excessive oil consumption and the importance of maintaining the oil at a proper level.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.


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.