The Sentra was Nissan's entry-level car from 1982 to June 22, 2006. It was then later replaced by the Nissan Versa, which costed as much as a 1996 Nissan Sentra (XE to GLE) in its first year.
Slight upgrades have kept the Sentra fresh, but the competition, Honda Civic, Geo Prizm and Toyota Corolla, went upmarket, and Nissan was sure to follow. The "1994.5", Nissan's term for it, Sentra was larger, heavier, faster and more expensive than the bargain-priced pre-1992 Sentra.
The 1994.5 Sentra was available in 2- and 4-door sedans with two engines, a 1.6-liter dohc 16-valve Four, and a 2.0-liter dohc 16-valve all-aluminum Four identical to the one in the Infiniti G20. The smaller engine was available with either of two transaxles, manual or automatic.
The 2.0-liter was available only in the high performance 2-door SE-R model, a car Nissan liked to compare with the much more expensive BMW 318i. The SE-R had power steering, aluminum wheels, 4-wheel disc brakes, optional ABS and power sunroof, front and rear stabilizer bars, foglamps and a viscous limited-slip differential.
The same basic 2-door and 4-door bodies were available in base E and LE versions with the smaller engine. These used drum brakes in the rear and had the 4-speed automatic as an option. The LE also had power steering and front and rear stabilizer bars, both optionally available on the E.
The SE-R and LE had a front airdam. All Sentras had tinted glass and rear window defoggers. Air conditioning was standard on the LE, optional on the others. Only the LE 4-door had the option of power windows and door locks, and standard cruise control.
The third-generation Sentra continued sales until January 1995, about two months after the 1995 model began production.
The 200SX was reincarnated in early February 1995 on the new Sentra platform as a more spacious alternative to the Honda Civic coupe, Saturn coupe and Acura Integra. It offered more front headroom and more rear shoulder, hip and legroom than the competition. This in a market segment that usually considered the back seat nothing more than an extended package tray. With a stiffer body shell (17% more torsional rigidity over the previous Sentra SE-R) and Nissan's space-saving Multi-Link Beam suspension rather than the independent setup used previously, the carmaker was able to apply a longer wheelbase and a larger trunk to the reborn 200SX.
The Multi-Link Beam, though prosaic, helped to elevate the 200SX to a very high level of handling and control. It offered superior camber control and uses softer bushings and fewer mounting points to reduce noise. An independent test, which included the 200SX SE-R, Integra GS-R, Saturn SC2 and Civic EX, claimed that the Nissan produced the fastest slalom times ever recorded for its class. Motivation for the base model came from a refined dohc 1.6-liter 4-cylinder coupled with a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic. Performance-minded SE-R models were equipped with a splendid 2.0-liter, twin-cam engine and manual transaxle as standard.
Features up through the model range included the base 200SX with power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering, power mirrors, front-door map pockets, dual cup holders, tilt steering column, intermittent windshield wipers, full wheel covers, tinted glass and rear-window defroster. The SE added air conditioning, 4-speaker AM/FM/cassette stereo and digital clock, power windows and locks, cruise control, fog lamps and 14-in. alloy wheels. The SE-R provided a leather-wrapped steering wheel, limited-slip differential, 15 x 6-in. wheels, rear spoiler and side sills and a remote keyless-entry system.
All versions of the 200SX were equipped with dual airbags. In addition, a 4-channel, 4-sensor antilock braking system was available on SE and SE-R models.
Coming into the fray as a 1995 1/2 model, there were no further changes for the 1996 200SX.
As of April 18, 1994:
- $10,319 (1994 Nissan Sentra 2DR Coupe)
- $11,169 (1994 Nissan Sentra 4DR Sedan)
- $12,669 (1994 Nissan Sentra XE 2DR Coupe)
- $12,759 (1994 Nissan Sentra LE 2DR Coupe)
- $12,869 (1994 Nissan Sentra XE 4DR Sedan)
- $12,979 (1994 Nissan Sentra LE 4DR Sedan)
- $13,169 (1994 Nissan Sentra SE 2DR Coupe)
- $14,369 (1994 Nissan Sentra SE-R 2DR Coupe)
- $14,939 (1994 Nissan Sentra GXE 4DR Sedan)
As of April 9, 1995:
- $10,999 (1995 Nissan Sentra)
- $12,949 (1995 Nissan Sentra XE)
- $13,879 (1995 Nissan Sentra GXE)
- $14,649 (1995 Nissan Sentra GLE)
- $11,999 (1995 Nissan 200SX)
- $14,269 (1995 Nissan 200SX SE)
- $15,269 (1995 Nissan 200SX SE-R)
As of August 28, 1995:
- $11,499 (1996 Nissan Sentra)
- $13,529 (1996 Nissan Sentra XE)
- $14,459 (1996 Nissan Sentra GXE)
- $15,229 (1996 Nissan Sentra GLE)
- $12,449 (1996 Nissan 200SX)
- $14,869 (1996 Nissan 200SX SE)
- $16,069 (1996 Nissan 200SX SE-R)