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2009 Nissan Sentra

Overview
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2009 Nissan Sentra Review

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With the addition of the Versa as Nissan's smallest car, the once tiny Sentra moves up the line to nearly mid-size status. Anchoring the largely carryover 2009 lineup are 2.0, 2.0 S and 2.0 SL models, while high-performance SE-R and SE-R Spec V variants (reviewed separately) provide enthusiast appeal. This front-drive four-door boasts sophisticated styling, competent ride and handling, excellent fuel efficiency and a long list of standard and available creature comforts – traits that serve it well in dealing with market challenges from the likes of the Chevrolet Cobalt, Ford Focus, Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, Kia Spectra, Mazda MAZDA3 and Toyota Corolla.

You'll Like This Car If...

When interior space and serenity really matter, the Sentra delivers in a big way. Those facing long, tortuous commutes will also appreciate the practical charms of its Xtronic Continuously Variable Automatic Transmission (CVT). Standard on the 2.0 and 2.0 SL and available on the 2.0 S, it earns even better EPA mileage numbers than the six-speed manual.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Those who prefer crisp handling response or brisk acceleration are likely to be disappointed, although moving up to the SE-R or SE-R Spec V models would dramatically change both elements of the overall performance equation. Stability and traction controls are still not available on any variant.

What's New for 2009

New for 2009 are speed-sensitive locks, new cloth seat trims, a new rear trunk lid, MP3 playback (S and SL trims) and three new colors.

Driving the Sentra

Driving Impressions With SE-R and Spec V variants to please the enthusiast crowd, Nissan tuned the suspension of its mainstream Sentras to deliver the kind of ride comfort that core buyers clearly...

prefer. As a result, all three display a fair amount of body roll during aggressive cornering maneuvers and prominent nose-dipping under hard stops with their capable front disc and rear drum anti-lock brakes. However, this more polished personality also delivers smooth, relaxed in-town commutes and effortless freeway cruising with cabin noise levels that remain commendably low regardless of vehicle speed. Although engine power is hardly overwhelming, it's still somewhat surprising to see that neither traction nor stability control are available on any 2009 Sentra model.

Xtronic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT)
While it lacks the "sport mode" found on several other Xtronic applications, this seamless automatic is a good match for the Sentra engine and offers EPA fuel economy ratings that are superior to those of the six-speed manual gearbox that's standard on the 2.0 S.

Leather upholstery
Included as part of the 2.0 SL package, this premium interior trim item adds a definite upscale flavor to the top-line Sentra model.

2009 Nissan Sentra Details
2009 Nissan Sentra photo Interior

Designed for U.S. buyers, the 2009 Nissan Sentra's nicely finished and well-appointed cabin comes in either beige, charcoal or saddle tones with aluminum-look or faux-wood accents. Large doors simplify entry and exit for all seats, and the Sentra offers more space for both people and their carry-ons than most of its competitors – including a laptop-sized locking glovebox and a 13.1 cubic-foot trunk. Control layouts are good and main gauges easy to read, but the charcoal-and-orange LCD displays for the fuel and temperature indicators and audio and air conditioning readouts suffer legibility problems. Well-contoured front seats are matched with a 60/40 split-folding rear bench that's fit for two average-size adults or three medium-size kids.

Exterior

Sharing the edgy design flair that characterizes all current Nissan products, the Sentra's literally high-profile bodywork features a sloping nose and short decklid separated by a tallish roofline and large glass area that ensures good outward visibility. A relatively long 105.7-inch wheelbase results in fairly short front and rear overhangs while prominent shoulder lines transition into softer front and rear contours set off by large, wraparound head and tail lamps. Inside pronounced fender flares, the 2.0 has 205/60 tires on 15-inch steel rims while the 2.0 S and 2.0 SL move up to 205/55 tires on larger 16-inch wheels, steel on the former and alloy on the top-line offering.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The base Sentra includes a CVT automatic transmission, front, front-side and side-curtain airbags, power windows and door locks, air conditioning, trip computer and an AM/FM/CD audio system. The 2.0 S – offered with either the CVT or a six-speed manual gearbox – adds anti-lock brakes, larger wheels with lower-profile tires, remote keyless entry and steering wheel-mounted audio controls, while the 2.0 SL has leather upholstery, keyless start, alloy wheels, XM Satellite Radio and Bluetooth wireless connectivity.

Optional Equipment

2009 Nissan Sentra extras are largely model specific, with anti-lock brakes, a decklid spoiler and some trim bits heading the 2.0's options list. For the 2.0 S, XM Satellite Radio, Intelligent Key remote locking/starting (automatic only), a Convenience Package with Bluetooth connectivity, Rockford Fosgate premium audio system with six-disc changer and MP3 capability, Moonroof Package and the Divide-N-Hide Trunk System are available. Those latter three items represent the prime upgrades for the already comprehensively equipped 2.0 SL.

Under the Hood

All 2009 Nissan 2.0 Sentras share an identical 140-horsepower version of Nissan's 2.0-liter, 16-valve four-cylinder engine that was co-developed with parent-company Renault. The 2.0-liter makes an impressive 147 pound-feet of torque, and features variable timing on the intake valves that helps enhance its mid-range punch. Acceleration with either transmission is decent if not exhilarating, with a zero-to-60 mile-per-hour sprint requiring about nine seconds. Perhaps the biggest surprise is that EPA fuel economy figures with the Xtronic CVT actually surpass those of the six-speed manual gearbox, in both city and highway mode. Due to different emissions regulations, the 2.0-liter's output in California is rated at 135 horsepower and 142 pounds-feet of torque.

2.0-liter in-line 4
140 horsepower @ 5100 rpm
135 Horsepower @ 5100 rpm (California)
147 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4800 rpm
142 lb.-ft. of torque @4800 rpm (California)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/29 (manual), 24/30 (automatic)

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2009 Nissan Sentra Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.3
Out of 10

Based on 419 Ratings for the 2007 - 2012 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.7/10
    Quality
    8.4/10
  • Reliability
    8.9/10
    Performance
    8.5/10
  • Comfort
    8.7/10
    Styling
    8.7/10

Good starter car for the reckless teenager

By on Thursday, April 16, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 85,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
6/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
6/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
2/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "Very spacious interior, easy to drive, cheap maint"

Cons: "louder road noise, bumpy, drum brakes on rear"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7

"There is nothing particularly special about this vehicle. It will go from point A to point B with no problem. The vehicle is very large on the inside where my 6 foot fiance can sprawl out with plenty of room to spare. Gas mileage I average about 24mpg and can get 32highway mpg. It is very quick with CVT transmission and certainly doesn't miss a beat when you need it. Normal wear and tear is inevitable and as far as defects I would say there isn't really any. I would recommend this car to someone who needs a commuter car or is looking to be very price consciences."

Comfortable and Smooth, but Dull

By on Wednesday, April 15, 2015

I owned and sold this car
Reason: Trade-Up

10 6.0
overall rating 6 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
6/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
6/10
Quality
6/10
Performance
3/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Smooth ride, low cost"

Cons: "Road noise, boring to drive, iffy build quality"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5

"If you need a car, and you can find yourself a relatively low mileage Sentra, I can't say you shouldn't get one. You'll get a car that's inexpensive to own and operate, yet has really good ride quality. Still, there are some things that irked me about this car. First off, I had an issue with a leak from the outside in. It turns out that whatever glue they used to hold this car together (yes, that's correct) cracked causing a leak which soaked the floor in the back when it rained. Little plastic and rubber parts here and there, especially on the outside, began to fall off or come loose, and one of the back speakers buzzed occasionally. Driving this thing is about as exciting as shopping for socks. The ride quality is good, but it's not going to plow through a turn or accelerate with any urgency. The turning radius on this car is competitive with a house...I couldn't make u-turns to save my life. Also, road noise is atrocious. I found myself cranking up the radio just to hear it going 55 MPH. That being said, if you're looking for something inexpensive that goes A to B, you probably won't find anything that has a better ride."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Excellent ride, good gas mileage, I like the car.

By on Sunday, March 15, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 93,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Roomy, mileage, response time."

Cons: "No Cruise control :("

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"For the basic of "basics", this Nissan is a Great Car. It has no options however, I have always liked Nissans. The ride is smooth, the mileage is very reasonable, there is plenty of room for 5 adults, the trunk space is amazing also. On the freeway it is a nice, quiet, smooth ride. The response for needing to "GO" or pass, is excellent. I have nothing bad to say about this car. It was a gift but if I were out looking to buy a car and my finances were limited, I would definitely consider buying this car."

6 people out of 10 found this review helpful

Wonderful Car

By on Saturday, January 24, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 54,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Great Gas Miles, Strong car"

Cons: "No GPS or Heated side windows"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Amazing car, So far I receive a lots of offer to sell my car but I know better, not to sell. 2008 Nissan made this Sentra the best car compare with new models. Very Strong and smooth ride, comfortable and sport design. I bought my car customize even though I have to pay more money, was worth it. only one accident, behind driver hit me in the back and the Nissan took the hit very well. Strong car. After fixing I have no problems at all, is just like new. Car still shine like brand new because of care I give it. Every time I change the oil in the car, there are impress of how well I have taking car of the car. Wonderful gas miles. Car has power I have the CVT engine and I love it.I wish the car came with GPS and Heated side windows. Over all Love this car."

11 people out of 15 found this review helpful

CVT Not What It Seems.

By on Friday, January 09, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Dependable, economical, well equipped"

Cons: "CVT, Washer Nozzles in the Cold"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7

"So I have had my Sentra Special Edition for over two years now. The majority of the car I love. Not real keen on the headlights, but that was not a deal breaker for me. I bought the car primarily for the GPS and navigation functions. I didn't want the distraction that would come with using my smartphone. That said, it is your base mode nav, and I probably could have gotten a cheaper price if I would have skipped the nav. My biggest issue with this car is the mismatch between the awesome 2.0 Ltr. engine, and the CVT. Our other car is a Prius, so I was somewhat used to a CVT transmission and expected similar results. After driving the car for close to 40,000 miles now, I would not own another CVT. The above description that you will save gas is very dependent on your driving style and conditions. E.G. if you are the type that likes to punch it and feel the horses under the hood, or you have to hit the gas to merge into traffic, the engine will out run the transmission every time. It will slip and you will find yourself at close to 6,000 RPMs only to be waiting for the transmission to stop whining and catch up to the engine, which will usually happen around 75 to 85 MPH, and only after you step out of the gas to allow it to catch up. Once you are there the transmission performs as expected. The other area with the transmission that you will have to get used to is how it breaks the car's forward motion as you come to a stop. To describe it is like the transmission goes into low gear and you are almost lunging forward as you come to a stop. You almost have to drive it to understand the sense you get. I took mine to the dealer within a month to ask if this was normal, and was told there is nothing wrong with your car. Funny my Prius doesn't lung. There is one additional point you may consider if you live in an area where the cold can get and stay around or below freezing. If so, know that the windshield washer nozzles will freeze, and stay frozen when you are driving. This can be a safety concern, especially when you are driving in snow and ice, or in thawing conditions where your windshield is covered with salt spray, or ice melt. Kinda hard to keep it clean if you can't get windshield washer fluid on the windshield. Otherwise, I like my car. A dealer called my over the holiday to ask if I would trade it in, and I responded no. So that should be some indication of the cars performance. I average around 30 miles per gallon even when I punch it. It handles very well, and can corner extremely tight, so much so it took some getting used to."

12 people out of 20 found this review helpful

Excellent overall car - easy to drive, very comfor

By on Thursday, December 04, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 74,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "East driving - comfortable - good acceleration - g"

Cons: "CVT transmission - just not thrilled with it."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Bought this car used with about 44,000 miles on it, from a dealer's website. The car had been completely detailed, and looked and felt new. I like everything about this car except... the CVT transmission. I still prefer the old standard 4-speed automatic or best of all, the standard 4-5 speed stick shift.I've driven it twice New York to Texas, and once to California and back - comfortable to ride and drive. Good visibility. good mileage at better than 32mpg on the road. Will drive next week to Texas again, return after January 1 2015. Like the current (2012-2014 style changes better than the 2009 style). Looking to trade for a new one, or a low-mileage used car. Years ago, I had a Honda Accord with a 4-speed - was the best car I ever had. Maybe this one will approach that standard."

13 people out of 27 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?