2008 Nissan Sentra Review

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Marty Padgett Marty Padgett Editorial Director
May 29, 2008

The 2008 Nissan Sentra is worth a drive, but its CVT may turn off some buyers.

TheCarConnection.com’s editors read the latest reviews on the new 2008 Nissan Sentra to write this comprehensive review. Experts from TheCarConnection.com also drove several different 2008 Sentra models, including the 2.0 L, SL, SE-R, and Spec V, and offer additional driving impressions and details to assist you in making the best choice in your next new car.

The 2008 Nissan Sentra is no longer Nissan's smallest car for sale in the U.S. market. For Nissan, 2008 is the year the company introduces the Versa into a slot below the Sentra, making the Sentra more of a compact than a subcompact.

The base 2008 Nissan Sentra makes a great high-value commuter car given its solid list of standard features, including six airbags. Anti-lock brakes are included on 2.0 S models, while the fancy 2.0 SL boasts a Bluetooth hands-free phone system and leather appointed seats. Unfortunately, the 2.0 SL also sticks you with Nissan's Xtronic CVT, which seems to cause engine drone. We'd rather drive the standard six-speed manual transmission that's available on the S.

Overall, the 2008 Nissan Sentra has sharp styling and a roomy, quiet interior. Because it only comes as a sedan, it suffers against competitors that offer other body styles (like the two-door Honda Civics). The Sentra gets good fuel economy from its peppy 140-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, but your driving experience can be dampened a bit by the CVT, and the suspension occasionally bobbles when you expect consistent responses.

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Nissan offers higher-performance Sentra models: the SE-R and the Spec V. Both feature significant performance enhancements over lesser Sentra models because the SE-R and Spec V utilize 177- and 200-hp versions of the larger 2.5-liter four-cylinder found in the Nissan Altima sedan and Rouge crossover. Suspensions, brakes, and interiors of these Sentra performance models are also enhanced.

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