2006 Nissan Versa vs. 2007 Nissan Sentra review

I took a test drive of a new ’07 Sentra today. In the interest of comparing oranges to something at least relatively close to an orange, I made a point of picking out a 6-speed Sentra (since my Versa is a 6-speed).

Sentra test model was a 2.0 S with 6MT and no options.

The Sentra shows that it is becoming more of a appeal-to-the-masses family car, rather than a more “basic” car (as it were) in the past.

It felt quicker off the line than my V, and had no trouble barking the tires shifting into 2nd gear. The MR20 is very responsive and likes to rev quicker than the MR18. Claimed fuel economy is only 2 mpg lower in both stats than the comparable Versa.

The gearshift does not have the “click” and positive engagement feeling that I get in my Versa. A number of people have indicated that the Versa’s shifter feels “clunky” because of this, so those of you that have said that will probably like the feel of the shifter. Those of you who are like me and actually LIKE the car giving you feedback will hate it. The shifter is VERY heavy compared to the Versa. If you like rowing gears, I hope you’re in shape.

The seating surfaces (cloth in the model tested) had this weird webbed netting type stuff woven into the surface that I guess is there to help keep you in place. It looks tacky. Furthermore, it’s not woven cloth. This puts the material at the same level as the Versa S, with the SL having a MUCH higher quality woven cloth seating surface. I’ve seen pics of the leather interior and as much as I despise leather interiors, I would pick it over the cloth interior in this car.

The dash is very nicely laid out. The trip computer display doubles as a HUGE display for the stock stereo, which has more power than the Versa’s stock stereo. The audio package also adds 2 subs and the 6-disc MP3 changer, so get it if you can. Also, the fan in the climate control system has a nearly infinitely variable fan, like my RX-7. That is VERY nice.

I do NOT like how the front door rests angle away from the driver as they get closer to the front of the car. It made reaching the window controls rather difficult.

The back seat is nowhere near as spacious or comfortable as a Versa’s, the V beats it hands down here.

The trunk is very long and, FOR A SEDAN, very tall. However, the trunk still does not have the capacity of a standard Versa hatchback does with its seat up… and as it is a sedan, with the seats folded down, it still cannot carry the size and type of cargo that the Versa carries.

The pseudo-altezzas on the back of the Sentra help break up some of the monotony, but the car looks like it’s trying to play the “see? I can conform!” card.

My impressions

  • Versa is more comfortable
  • Versa is more versatile
  • Versa has a more ergonomic and higher quality interior
  • Sentra has better creature features
  • Sentra has a trip computer (with outside temp gauge)
  • Sentra has a better trunk *WHEN COMPARED TO THE VERSA SEDAN* (conjecture, as the Versa sedan has yet to be released)
  • Sentra has a SLIGHT edge in handling
  • Sentra is faster
  • Versa is more economical
  • Versa is cheaper
  • Versa allows i-Key with Manual transmissions (Sentra only allows it with CVT)
  • Sentra allows i-Key with ABS

My personal decision

I’d still buy a Versa any day of the week. Sorry, Sentra lovers…

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