>> The Sentra SE-R. It's one of those cars people start clubs over. I had a 93 and loved it. But 16 years later will the magic still be there? Let's drive the SE-R Spec V and check the tech.
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>> Hopping in the SE-R Spec V you're struck by what it doesn't have and can't have, namely tech. Nav system, nope, not available. That's the only head unit you're gonna get. How about Bluetooth Hands Free? No! iPod adapter? Uh uh! HD Radio? Uh uh! Hard drive? Come on, who we kidding? Basic unit on this car is gonna be a non-branded, single disk, AM-FM CD that plays WMA's and MP3's through 6 garden variety speakers. We have the premium audio package. That brings us the Rockford Fosgate branded head unit. That means you've got a 6-disk changer, not a single slot. Still AM-FM. You've got satellite radio, XM on this guy. And you've got 8 speakers around the cabin. And because it's Rockford Fosgate, even when the bass is set to neutral it's a big old thumper.
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>> I can hardly talk over that. Beyond that the cabin does have some interesting touches to distinguish it, a little bit of red everywhere. Red stitching here inside the wheel. We've got red stitching around the seats. And no, I'm not kidding, we have red seat belts. That's just tacky. The gearbox in this car is a one choice only, thankfully, manual transmission, 6 speed gearbox. A good gate feel. Didn't take any time to figure out where the cogs are. You've got a lockout ring for reverse, that's kind of old school. Speaking of old school, the collar that's mounted in here, which is kind of up and pointed to the sky, is very kind of late 60's Alpha Spider. The only other piece of tech in this car of any note is that thing on the right, a G-Force gauge, and that kind of tacky little dual pod instrument cluster. It gives you an idea of what G's you're throwing, although it's kind of slow to react. Now here in lies the heart of the beast. Such as it is, not much to look at. Some of the ugliest castings you'll ever see on a modern engine, but hey, it's a $21,000 car, let's not get snooty. This is the QR25 engine, 2.5-liter inline four sitting sidesaddle. No super charger. No turbo. No nonsense. But it does have a higher compression ratio than the non-Spec V SE-R. 10.5 to one that gets us to 200 horse power, about 180 foot pounds of torque. That's about 20 more horses than a standard SE-R. It's good for 0 to 60 in about 6 seconds, and mileage is also pretty good, 21-29. Driving the SE-R Spec V, you're pleasantly rewarded with a naturally aspirated engine. Turbos are never ideal, and this car doesn't have one. But as much as I was pleased by the lack of turbo lag and spool, I was displeased by the degree of RPM float. This engine just hovers up there way after you let off the gas, leaving you to dump the clutch in the next gear to bring the engine down. Not satisfying at all. The 6-speed manual and 2.5-liter engine don't give performance a bad name either. Handing over MPG numbers of 21-29. And we did about 26 in the real world over all. This car's a low cost way to get into some genuine motoring athletics, as long as you're okay with a light weight tech payload in the cabin, and a body that is basically an unattractive car dressed up. Okay, and SE-R Spec V is gonna run you about $22 base, not a lot of tech to add. $850 for premium audio, $400 for limited slip dip, and that leaves a lot of money for new tires. That's good.