Today, I’ve had the pleasure of driving the 2010 Nissan Sentra 200, courtesy of Nissan Motor Philippines, Inc. I get to keep the Sentra 200 for a weekend (and more)–something that was supposed to have happened last December, but delayed due to scheduling conflicts. Nissan delivered the car at my driveway this afternoon, and boy was I greeted with a spacious surprise.
The Nissan Sentra 200 is a rarity in Philippine roads these days, which is a huge disparity from how numerous its older brethren are, ranging from the so-called B13 LEC or ECCS models, the B14 “Series 3,” and the more recent B15 and N16. In fact, Nissan is still selling the N16 alongside the B16 “200” model, as a lower-cost variant.
Perhaps the biggest hurdle to the Sentra 200’s popularity is its PhP 1 million plus price, but let’s leave that to a later note, as I check out each nook and cranny of the Sentra 200 these next five days.
My daily drive being a sub-compact sedan, I found the need to adjust a bit to the expanded and extended dimensions of the Sentra 200. After all, it’s currently classified as a mid-size sedan brought in right from the American market, as evident in some clues (red rear turn signal lamps, MPH indicator alongside KPH). The Sentra 200 is currently Hecho en Mexico or Made in Mexico, but Nissan might start producing or assembling it locally sometime soon.
One would also appreciate the smoothness of Nissan’s MR20 engine paired with the Xtronic continuously-variable transmission. A gripe at this point would be that the Sentra’s smoothness is much too appropriate for an executive sedan. However, someone who wants spirited driving might miss out on the fun. But this I have to confirm when I attempt to max out the ponies at the expressway sometime this weekend. The suspension also results in some jarring experiences, as the rear mostly comprises torsion bar; Nissan took out independent rear suspension from the Sentra a long time ago. In a way, the longer and wider wheelbase compensates for this, though. The ride is definitely softer than that of a Vios.
For now, I must say the Sentra 200 is indeed bigger and bolder, as Nissan claims. These next few days, I’ll focus on the different aspects of the Sentra, including amenities, ride and performance.