The 2008 Nissan Sentra is available in three models: a bargain-priced base 2.0 model, a better-equipped 2.0S, and the more luxurious 2.0SL. The base model includes standard power door locks and windows, air conditioning, and a CD sound system. S models step up to power mirrors, keyless entry, a sound-system upgrade, fog lights, cruise control, and anti-lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution, while top SL models include 16-inch aluminum alloy wheels, an Intelligent Key system, and a leather-trimmed steering wheel. The CVT automatic is standard on the SL.
These Sentra models get a 2.0L aluminum four-cylinder engine that makes 140 horsepower and 147 lb-ft of torque. The base 2.0 and the uplevel 2.0SL are equipped solely with Nissan's Xtronic CVT automatic transmission. The CVT system offers improved acceleration versus a standard automatic transmission, and returns better fuel economy ratings than the manual transmission. A six-speed manual is offered on the 2.0S.
The sportier SE-R model gets a larger, 2.5L four-cylinder engine that makes 177 horsepower and is mated to the CVT. It comes with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters to provide more control during spirited driving. At the top of the range is the high-performance SE-R Spec V model, which gives the engine 200 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque, and matches it to the six-speed manual transmission. A helical limited-slip differential is available on Spec V models.
In addition to the aforementioned upgrades, both SE-R models add standard 17-inch alloy wheels, four-wheel disc brakes, and various performance cues inside and out. SE-Rs come with special sport bucket front seats, while Spec V models add red seatbelts, aluminum pads, more leather trim, and an extra gauge cluster.
The Sentra's interior is terrifically practical. For starters, the center console has multiple storage bins. There is also an overhead, integrated compact disc holder built into the sun visor, and the glovebox is designed to fit a large notebook or map book. The Divide-N-Hide trunk system, optional on the 2.0SL, gives a false floor to the trunk and provides a private storage area beneath.
The Sentra has more optional premium equipment available than ever before. Some of the new options include leather seating, a Bluetooth hand-free system, and a Rockford Fosgate audio system with eight speakers, an eight-channel amplifier, and a six-disc CD changer.
Nissan protects the Sentra's occupants with standard front seat-mounted air bags as well as roof-mounted side-impact curtain bags. Active head restraints are also standard on the front bucket seats.