2003 Nissan Sentra User Reviews

2003 Nissan Sentra Review Ratings

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Average Ratings from 37 reviews

  • Performance:4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars 4 / 5
  • Appearance:4.1 out of 5 stars4.1 out of 5 stars4.1 out of 5 stars4.1 out of 5 stars4.1 out of 5 stars 4.1 / 5
  • Build Quality:4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars 4 / 5
  • Overall: 4.2 out of 5 stars4.2 out of 5 stars4.2 out of 5 stars4.2 out of 5 stars4.2 out of 5 stars 4.2 / 5

Review Highlights Click to filter reviews below

PROS
"ride" 18 reviews
"power" 17 reviews
"speed" 12 reviews
"fuel economy" 12 reviews
"handling" 7 reviews
CONS
"power" 7 reviews
"fuel economy" 4 reviews
"build quality" 4 reviews
"oil" 2 reviews
"expensive car" 2 reviews

User Reviews

Displaying 1 - 10 of 37 2003 Nissan Sentra reviews.

Graeme writes:
2003 Nissan Sentra SE-R Spec V Review
Appearance:
Performance:
Quality:
Overall:
5

Pros

Acceleration, torque output, excellent handling, appearance, interior and exterior styling, suspension, RF sound-system.

Cons

FWD Torque steer, turning radius, sports-car ride quality.

85

Absolute Biggest Bang For The Buck! — I purchased my 2003 Nissan Sentra SE-R Spec V in November of 2007. The car overall is very fun to drive- it's definitely as much as a pleasure to look at, as it is to drive. 1. Interior The interior of the car is well-designed. It has several storage compartments which are handy for anything you need to store, although the center console could have been larger. My only complaint is the location of the cup holders, like the former Sentra/200SX. They don't support large drinks easily, and the height of the cup interferes with the HVAC controls as well as when shifting the 6 speed transmission. I usually never take drinks anyway, but it could have been placed better. However, to redeem the front cup holders, there is a convenient cup holder designed for rear passengers in which folds shut to provide more room. I also love how there are numerous ways to control the windshield wiper speed, which is convenient from very light rain to very heavy rain. The interior lighting is very sufficient in which there are two small, but very bright light sources directly above the front driver and passenger seats in addition to the typical dome light. The optional sunroof has a checkered tint to block out the sun when you have the shade pulled back, and the sunroof is also easy to control. It can be distracting if you operate it when driving, due to the roof-mounted control. I also find the rotary HVAC controls as very easy to use. The charcoal-schemed interior overall, while nicely designed with excellent fit and finish, has it's quirks- a few itchy rattles. Just don't expect Infiniti or BMW sound deadening or build quality for a car that was loaded at $20,000 new. Especially one with a performance engine, transmission, and suspension. Just turn up the amazing 300 Watt Rockford Fosgate sound-system. Interior Materials. The side armrests seem to dull a bit where the window controls are, but all the other plastics seem to wear well. Everything looks amazing though, including the dash, gauges, seats, shift knob, "SE-R" logo floor mats, pedals, and the sporty leather steering wheel which not only gives a firm and comfortable grip, but also an up-scaled feeling. The seat design and silver mesh material are also very stylish, and are bolstered well to provide support in quick turns. 2. Exterior Not much to say, except that it looks amazing. I love the 2002 and 2003 "Skyline inspired" front fascias. The beauty of the exterior is enhanced by an attractive rear spoiler, mesh-style grilles, 17 inch alloy rims, and several defining "SE-R" and "Spec V" logos. The engine bay is clean, and the QR25 wears an attractive engine cover. Good exterior build-quality overall- it is a Nissan. 3. Performance The car drives and handles very agile for a front-wheel drive, and the SE-R Spec V is all about performance. It accelerates very easily up steep hills, and gives V6's a run for their money; you can thank an engineering term called torque. This also results in sufficient passing power in pretty much any gear. However, 180 ft lbs. of torque results in moderate FWD torque steer when launching. Just get a firm grip on the steering wheel. The 2.5L inline 4 cylinder engine has a healthy exhaust note, especially when the CVTC kicks in and alters the cam timing. It has excellent, nicely-weighted steering and handling, especially when cornering; it rides like it's on rails and almost completely refuses to understeer. The Helical Limited Slip Differential helps the front wheels paw the car around corners. The addition of a thick rear sway bar will exemplify neutral handling. The 6 speed manual transmission is exceptional. It feels a bit plasticky, but shifts smooth. Reverse can be a pain at times as it feels like it won't engage, and the pre '04 models also lack the reverse lockout mechanism, so careful downshifting into 6th gear is required to prevent bouncing off the reverse gear. The clutch is also easy to operate. Braking is strong, with disc brakes on all four wheels. My car is equipped with ABS, which I believe was strangely optional. Mixed city and highway driving results in good gas mileage, which is around 27 MPG on premium fuel. Strictly city driving results in a lower 23 to 24 MPG, and my car is never driven on the highway long enough to determine highway fuel economy. My Spec V really hasn't spent much time in the shop either: The rear axle hubs and bearings went out at 50k and needed replaced. Other than that, just oil changes and regular maintainence. 4. Recalls There are some issues that Nissan has addressed with the engine that can cause people some costly problems. Loose screws in the intake manifold can be sucked up when the butterfly vales open up around 4000 RPM's. Also, the precat in the header can become too hot and the ceramic coating can possibly break, resulting with backpressure sucking these particles into the cylinder walls of the engine. There are also other miscellaneous issues. I do not worry about these issues though, as there are ways to fix them. Replacing the stock header for a catless one will eliminate precat problem, and the main cat still filters pollutants to keep the car more enviornmentally friendly. You can also tear apart the head and apply loctite to the screws in the intake manifold to keep these screws from becoming ingested in the engine. Most issues are addressed and discussed either at www.nissanforums.com or www.SpecVForum.com. There you can read other peoples opinions about the cars reliability and the car in general. Overall. Overall the car has been very well-designed, and has a great balance of looks and thrills. It has good performance to back up good looks. The sporty curves are easy on the eyes, and the power and handling prowess can be something to boast in the sport compact segment. I would definitely recommend this car to someone who wants to get away from the ordinary, and go with something sporty, fun, and efficient. Mods Stromung exhaust, DC Sports 4-1 ceramic header, Nismo CAI, Nismo high-pressure radiator cap, Stillen strut bar, lowering springs, sticky Enduro Runway tires (215/45), 20% black tint, GM 3" Onstar Antenna, Billet Grilles, chrome Nissan license plate and frame, black leather Nismo shiftknob, Redline Goods black leather shiftboot, armrest covers, and ebrake cover with red stitching, custom-fitted seat covers from IGGEE, JVC stereo head unit, MTX rear coaxial speakers, AC Autotechnic white-faced gauges. More to come!

Primary Use: Sport/fun (spirited driving, track racing, off-roading, etc.)

4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
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Peter writes:
2003 Nissan Sentra SE-R Spec V Review
Appearance:
Performance:
Quality:
Overall:
5

Pros

Awsome Power and Torque right out the box, Six Speeds with a limited slip

Cons

Oil Consumption, a definite first for anyone is to get rid of the precat that usually is the death of this vehicle

75

03 Nissan Se-r Spec-v — Awesome car for the money, out powered by the new 07+ Civic SI's and even SRT-4s but when you put it up on the line with them it can haul ass, it's helical limited slip gets you off the line quick, with the torque putting the power to the wheels throughout the entire power-band it's one place where this car prevails, with 175hp and 185tq stock your right foot is really attached to a smile every time you hit the road, and shifting through the 6 speed gear box, don't be surprised if you chirp out 4th gear to emerge victorious amongst those SIs and SRT-4s

Primary Use: Commuting to work

3 of 4 people found this review helpful.
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David writes:
2003 Nissan Sentra SE-R Spec V Review
Appearance:
Performance:
Quality:
Overall:
5

Pros

Acceleration, looks, cost of ownership

Cons

Fuel economy (good, but could be better), seats, turning circle

75

Blast To Drive And You'll Never Lose A Yellow Car In The Parking Lot! — This car is great... I was looking for a nice sporty sedan with a couple requirements. One was it needed a sunroof (check) and another was a manual tranny (check). I looked around at a Mazda Protege5, but it wasn't very fast with the 130hp engine. Found a bright yellow SE-R Spec V Sentra for sale for about the same price as that Mazda. Test drove it and realized that it had been taken care of. The QR25DE 2.5L engine with 175hp and 180lb/ft of torque combined with the low gearing makes for some great acceleration. The car has so much low end torque that I can leave it in 6th gear when slowing down to 50km/h (32MPH) for a town and not have to shift down to accelerate back to highway speed. However, due to the low gearing, high speeds and fuel economyaren't high points. The 6 speed manual with it's double overdrive (4th is 1:1, 5th and 6th are both overdrives) can't manage more than 27 MPG with my wife driving or 25 MPG with me driving. In contrast, I had a faster SVT Contour with a V6 of the same capacity that could outrun this and acheived better fuel economy. The build quality is about par for a Japanese car, lots of durable but hard plastics and other materials. Due to the factory 17" wheels, the turning circle is VERY large for a car this size, but hey, this car definitely has the looks. Gets stares EVERYWHERE you go because of the "look-at-me-yellow" paintjob. This is definitely a super fun car to drive, but with my back I wish it had more lumbar support. It now has about 100,000 miles on it, and it hasn't needed any repairs beyond normal wear and tear items. This is a GREAT car for the price!

3 of 4 people found this review helpful.
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Chris writes:
2003 Nissan Sentra SE-R Spec V Review
Appearance:
Performance:
Quality:
Overall:
5

Pros

Lots of torque. Bold stlying.  6 speed transmission with Limited Slip Differential

Cons

Not a ton of bolt on modifications.

75

Best Compact Sports Car By Far — The B15 Sentra SpecV is a race and skyline inspired small conpact sports car. With a ton of low end torque it digs out of the hole. The Engine although not the most powerful is very responsive and the car loves to just get up and go. A turbo kit is the best way to just unleash all of this car's potential. Overal this car is the best bang for your buck. Trust me when you can out run Mini Cooper S, Most Honda Civics, stock 5.0L mustangs, and 300 series BMWs you have a quick car.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
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Lea writes:
2003 Nissan Sentra Review
Appearance:
Performance:
Quality:
Overall:
4

Pros

Fairly decent gas mileage
Got sideswiped by a 16 year old with 5 friends in the car and still ran!

Cons

Aforementioned grounding cable, cheap plastic parts.  
Also loses asethic points in comparsion to my Altima (see that review)

95

I Guess It's Okay. — Sylvie the Silver Sentra is my second, and current, car. She is on a buy out, and will be fully mine this time next year. I plan on keeping her for a while and enjoying life without car payments for the first time in 8 years. I am not nearly as satisfied with Sylvie as I was with Dusty, but she does alright. My biggest issue with her has become the funny story that makes the answer to all unidentifiable car problems "the grounding cable!!!". To sum: Sylvie, age 2 1/2, wasn't starting reliabily, and was clicking when I turned the key (still had power though, it wasn't a dead battery). Now, pretty much since I got her, whenever it was wet I had a squeaky belt. Whenever I asked my oil change guys about it they said, "don't worry, not a problem". So I didn't worry till this started. The car guys I took it to (not my oil change guys) told me that the squeak was in fact a problem, and that it meant my belts weren't tight enough, therefore they weren't charging the battery properly, therefore I not only needed to change my belts, I needed a new battery. Now, I didn't like this explanation, because the remote worked, the lights went on when I opened the door, and the radio would go on when I was in the "on" (not "start") position with the key. But who am I to argue? Needless to say, I was right, and a week later when I was supposed to be leaving with Sylvie to go out of town, she did it again. This time they came up with "the grounding cable needs to be replaced", and after hours at the shop and no apoligies for the misdiagnosis, we were on our way. The only other issue was maybe a year after I got her (still within warranty), the spring or whatever it is that controls the temperature knob broke and I couldn't turn it back and forth. While I didn't have to pay anything for the repair, I did have to leave at the dealer for 3 days (not to mention resetting my radio settings!) while they fixed their cheap plastic workmanship. Right now I'm a little over 55k miles and it's time to replace the tires and brakes, and I've already done the coollant hoses. The oil change people say I should do a transmission flush too, but I don't know how much I trust them these days.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful.
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SpecV03 writes:
2003 Nissan Sentra Review
Appearance:
Performance:
Quality:
Overall:
5

Pros

Fun to drive. Easy to maintain.  Great gas mileage for the horsepower.

Cons

Pre-Catalytic converter can cause catastophic failure to the engine.

SpecV03
35

I Love This Car. — First off, I love this car. It has given me some headaches in the past. The big one is the catalytic failure. Once the warranty expired on the replacement engine, I dropped a header into the car along with a new cat back exhaust. Coupled with a NISMO cold air intake, this car has lots of torque and is fun to drive. It corners very well. I can step on the throttle on the clover leaf heading on the on ramp and this car will accelerate and stick to the pavement with my NISMO 17" rims and Potenza Pilot rubber. The suspension is tuned to my liking...somewhat stiff but not teeth jarring. I drove this car from the lot and I plan on driving it for at least another 3 years. I believe it will give me a few more years. With my modifications I estimate that it has 199 HP at the flywheel. (8 for the CAI, 8 for the exhaust and 8 for the header.. and these estimates may be on the low side for the header and exhaust) For the horsepower I get great gas mileage. Matter of factly, my gas mileage has not changed with the addition of those parts. I get about 21-25 mpg city (depends on my driving habits) and 31 mpg highway Some issues I have had other than the engine are; the stock radio has failed on one side, the front passenger window eventually wore loose and rattled. I had to take it in to the shop in order to tighten it.

Primary Use: Family transportation

1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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Bobby writes:
2003 Nissan Sentra SE-R Review
Appearance:
Performance:
Quality:
Overall:
5

Pros

Fun to drive, quick, good on gas

Cons

Cheap feel to the interior, issues from the factory that could potentially kill the car.

35

Good Car That Is Surprisingly Quick. Just Don't Expect That Much From The Interior. — The '03 Sentra SE-R is a good little car. The exterior styling has an aggressive look, but the interior is essentially the same rental car feel of the normal Sentra. There is too much hard plastic in the interior, and there are some minor squeaks that come from the dome light and the occasional rattle in the doors from excess bass in the stereo. As far as mechanicals are concerned, the car has been very reliable, with the only real problem I have had being a leaky A/C hose. There is a big issue that I was able to take care of before any problems arose. The stock exhaust header has a catalytic converter built in, and the catalyst substrate material tends to break up and can get sucked back into the motor. An after-market header takes care of this problem. In it's stock form, the SE-R is pretty quick, and is fun to toss around on the back roads. With my added header and catback exhaust, however, there is some real power to the car. The gas mileage is fairly decent, I average about 23 MPG driving on mostly back roads. Overall, this is a fun little car, and despite some interior quality issues, is well worth looking at. Just make sure to get rid of the stock header and the pre-catalyst of death.

Primary Use: Commuting to work

1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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Daniel writes:
2003 Nissan Sentra SE-R Spec V Review
Appearance:
Performance:
Quality:
Overall:
5

Pros

(all stock) Amazing car for under $19,000 brand new, sexy and unique front bumper, fog lights, power sun and moon roof, excellent interior space efficiency, 2.5L 175 HP engine, 0-60 < 8 seconds, 6-speed manual, racing seats, leather steering wheel, unique rims, four disc-brakes, 5 star crash ratings, all mirrors and windows are powered.

Cons

Solid rear axle. Not enough leg-room for four or five adult passengers to sit comfortably. The tires don't have rim guards, so bumping a curb damages the rims.

55

Functional Sports-car — (all stock) The Spec-V trim has bucket racing seats with a cool cloth covering, leather-wrapped steering wheel with silver stitching, 6-speed manual transmission, 180 ft-lbs of torque, 175 horse-power, I-4 16v 2.5L DOHC engine, 17-inch rims with 215/45/17 tires, four disc-brakes, SRS airbags, SE-R badges and a unique front bumper only found on 2002-2003 SE-R's. Unfortunately, I didn't get the Rockford-Fosgate audio package which includes a 6 CD in-dash changer and 16 inch subwoofer in the trunk. Regardless, I'm very impressed with the performance of the 6 stock speakers. There are rear and front cup holders, two cigarette lighter outlets, and a storage compartment on top of the dashboard just large enough for about 15 cd's. Due to the rarity of the 2003 Spec-V, I am resilient to modify anything, though it would be a lot of fun, and this car has a lot of potential to melt some faces when modified.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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Ryan writes:
2003 Nissan Sentra SE-R Spec V Review
Appearance:
Performance:
Quality:
Overall:
5

Pros

Great Car, Handling, Power, response to mods.

Cons

Nothing... seriously no cons!

75

Great Car For The Money! — I would probably still be driving this if it was not totaled out... It was a fantastic car, handled like a corvette around turns! Solid car, especially around hard, fast turns.. the LSD in the 03-04 trannies is the best grip. So much torque from that 2.5L I4 that it will chirp 3rd gear. Easy to mod, work on, and interior was nicer than the average Sentra.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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Daniel writes:
2003 Nissan Sentra SE-R Spec V Review
Appearance:
Performance:
Quality:
Overall:
5

Pros

(everything stock): 2.5L, DOHC, 175 ft-lbs torque, 180 hp, Rockford Fosgate audio system, close-ratio gear ratios, limited slip diff, space efficient with the storage compartment atop the dash, racing seats, 2 cigarette outlets, 6-speed, sun roof, sporty look, smooth ride all the way past 120mph

Cons

solid rear axle, plastic paneling interior, 0-60 in 7.5 sec

55

The Best Car You Can Buy Stock For Under $20,000 — I bought it new. It is the first car I've owned that is a stick-shift. It is perfect for my needs because it has 4 doors, manual transmission, fog lights, cruise-control, killer sound system, racing seats, and looks sporty.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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Displaying 1 - 10 of 37 2003 Nissan Sentra reviews.

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Reviews From Other Years

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2013 Nissan Sentra Reviews

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2012 Nissan Sentra Reviews

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2011 Nissan Sentra Reviews

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2010 Nissan Sentra Reviews

Sentra Sr By sandra1369

I love my car just bought it four months ago BUT.. sometimes when I dont use it for a day or two it wont turn on. I dislike this so much because my car is great but it gives me problems in starting at... Read More

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I leased the Sentra and rolled in some inequity from my previous loan, and still with nothing down my payment was in the mid $200's. Nothing could come close when I made my rounds and did my shopping.... Read More

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