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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I LOVE THIS CAR!... So Far



Well, my Honda Prelude is still in the Body Shop... they spent about 1 month and 2 weeks on the car... they are still working on it. The damage is not even that bad... not like they have to rebuilt my engine or anything... but they can manage to take their time, and rather rent a 2000 Nissan Sentra XE for a month to drive around.

Well, they're renting the car... so I still have time to shop around for my next car for a week or two... then my lease is up for the Honda, so I gotta return the car and get a new one (or take my aunt's Benz C class...)

Anyway... I've test drove the Sentra SE Sport twice already (Sport is the Canadian version of the Performance package, it is almost the same as the Performance Package, but comes with more stuff for about the same price)... I kinda like it... but since I've been renting the Sentra XE for the last month or so... I found a lot of problems and things I don't like about it.
The cheap dash material, well, makes the car looks cheap. The auto transmission is horrible, but the 5 speed manual stick vibration is worst. The rear bumper keeps popping out from the side (maybe someone hit it before, but I pop it back in every now and then it still pops back out), the front bumper... crazy stone chips (I hope I don't have to pay for it since it is a rental car), the headlights, well... nothing beats a 2 bulb system, individual bulb for low beam and high beam, so this 9007, although it is the latest bulb design... I don't really like it (minor point). The front piller (between the front passenger window and the windsheild, the plastic is popping out. I'm 6' tall, but I sit like I'm 5'5"... I sit way too low for my taste. The stereo control, well, looks kinda cheap in the way it is designed, but definitely not easy to control without really staring down to find out which button is which on the highway), oh yah, Don't forget about that weird cracking noise from the dash, the weird rain noise from the rear, the ugly antenna, the cheap knobs for the climate control, the stuff I've always been complaining about.
Other than all that, I definitely think it is a way better buy than a 2000 civic se, neon, echo, or most of GM cars. Other cars to consider, well, there is the Ford Focus, a world class car, seems pretty good, but I don't really like the way it looks... is "alllrrrite", the new Civic looks decent, but probably doesn't drive as well as the Sentra, who knows... I gotta try it out. The Corolla is well, nothing fancy, nothing too good about it, but defintely not bad for a regular car, but I expect more. The Mazda Protege, now THAT's a CAR.
Okay... it might not have as much horsepower, but made purely in Japan says it all. (Okay, I've only drove it for 5 min) The Steering, it's like a European compact car, it handles great, just the right weight, and the reponse you get from it, well, lets just say you know if there is a small bump, crack, pebble on the road (no, doesn't mean it's a rough ride, but you get direct response from the steering to the wheels... it's great!). The throttle, again like a european car... you can slowly accelerate in to it... not like some Japanese cars and American cars that doesn't respond for the first 1/2 inch of the peddal, but if you step a bit further, the car just jerks forward like a rodeo bull.
The aluminum look trim is great, the knobs are wonderful, like a Civic, you can easily turn the know effortless, without thinking about where they are. The stereo, standard AM/FM/Cassatte/CD (on the Protege5). Engine response is great... power everywhere on the curve, and the brakes are bad... could be a bit better for my taste.
You get all the stuff you would get on a Sentra SE SPort, including big fog lamps (I can live with that), 16" rims, better tires, front/rear/side skirts, spoiler, good looking grills, sunroof, a/c, cruise, power package, and all for now a bit cheaper than the Sentra SE Sport (a few hundred bucks cheaper... wow)
I really gotta test drive one of those... I'll tell you guys more about it when I have a chance... but for now... check it out... might be a good choice for your next car.
Maybe I should rent it for a month and try it for a bit... hehe!

(sorry guys, I don't mean to dis your rides, i'm not actually, but I'm just not very happy with my rented Sentra XE, maybe because it is rented and has been abused)
Of course, I'm just sharing my 2 cents.

Oh yah, tell me what you guys think! (this is not my first time posting about Mazda vs. Nissan, but the now Protege5 is very cool, like to know what you guys think!)
 

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In my experience Mazda's built in Japan or not are CHEAP. I have been behing the wheel of many and nearly every single one was using sheet metal so thin the you could actually see the hood ripple when you hit bumps, this is without exception from trucks to cars. Now, that being said, the new model has a chance to be different so I can't knock it untill I try it.
As for the gripes on the Sentra? Well, I've had my 2001 SE,PP with auto, since December and have really put it through its paces and all I can say is it is holding together like it was built in Germany instead of Mexico. No rattles, great handling and one of the best automatic tranny's I have ever driven, you can stirr this slush box quite nicely. Those of you who are having rock chip problems, I recomend you get a good tough wax on there and keep it up, this should help a bit. Incidently, I am having no chip problem with my car.
If you are looking to buy a car soon, I would wait a bit and drive the SER/SER V-spec. This will probably change your tune a bit.
(or wait for the new 240hp Altima like I am).
 

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It could have something to do with the fact that you are driving a bottom of the line bargain basement XE. What do you expect? I do love the way the Protoge 5 looks. But until they do something with teh engine I have no intrest in it. Of all the complaints you had about the Sentra, the only one I share is the ugly antenna. But that's easily fixed for 20 bucks.
 

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Al, The Ignorant Fcuk
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I would agreee with backstop..

And I have no reason to defend the SE. For me its just a car to get me from here to there in my retirement years. I looked at the Mazda. I was unimpressed with the quality of construction or the comfort/sitting position. For me the SE was more comfortable. I have had no problems with the paint. I have put a couple of coats of good wax on though. I am curious what you found wrong with the auto trans. I think it is the most responsive auto I have ever driven. The SE is constructed better than the Mazda IMHO.

I'll give you that the interior, especially the door panels are cheap. I don't even have the PP and the handling and tires are way more than adequate for me.

Sounds like you are headed to the Mazda. That's a lot better choice than the Fucus. Avoid that like the plague-way to many problems with it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
In my experience with the rental XE, the car feels like it was badly built, like a Sunfire. The car feels more American than what I expect from a Japanese. Okay... it is the bottom line of the Nissan family, and it is the bottom model of the Sentra, plus it is a rental.
The Sentra is not as bad as the Honda Civic I rented. The Sentra drove great, it handles well, it is steady (even at high speed). I'm not a automatic kind of guy, I like manual transmission, and when the tranny doesn't get in the gear I want, or all of a sudden change gear when I don't need it, then that's a problem. But I'm also comparing this to a more expensive car that I drove which had a pretty damn good auto tranny.
The Sentra gave me the impression that it took parts from maxima, altima, g20 and whatever else they found in the parts bin and put together a new car...
The Sentra however, seat a bit better than the Honda (okay, I lied, it seat way better than the Honda Civic)... I'm kinda tall, and this sentra is actually long enough to have my leg comfortably rested on the seats.

Yah, looks like I'm headed for the Mazda, but I'm gonna take a look at the thin sheet metal thing, maybe the have improved! :p
but we'll see after a test drive (hopefully today)
then of course, I might not get a new car if my family decides to get the benz instead, then I'll be riding in my lovely VW Passat VR6, sweeet sweeet sweeet, (but the gas consumption on that beast is not as sweet, and it is a auto tranny... doh!)

Thanks for the tips guys... I'll watch out for them
*I love this board*
 

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One of my friends actually works for the company that makes the door panel material. It is Haartz in Acton, Mass. It is a 3-4 layer process or something like that. He told me exactly how they make it. If you push on it you can actually feel it move a little b.c it does have a foam backing. Yes I agree that it looks cheap, but it's the graining tool that they used that made it look that way. Just thoguht I would tell you guys that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
3 Test Drives on the Protege

I've been 3 Mazda Dealers in Toronto.
I've test drive a Mazda Protege5 5spd, an Auto and a Protege ES GT 2.0 5Spd.
Power wise, the car is not as fast as I wanted to be... the Sentra is a bit faster, but this car is torquey. It drives very well, they say in a saleom (sp??) the car loses power (as if the gas is cut)... I didn't see that happened... but then again, I was doing it slow. Braking is not bad, acceleration could be better but it will do, the car is light. I seriously love the steering system... is crisp, is fun, is accurate and the weight is excellent... I don't think Nissan and Honda entry level can drive as well as this.
I will definitely miss out on leather wrap steering wheel (something I always love)... but the steering wheel on this one, the 3 spoke extra thick wheel is great to...
The rims are awesome looking, 5 bolts instaed of the 4, huge fog lamps... okay great spoiler, great skirts (all around).
Fog lamps are good, i like the fact that they are big, gives the Protege a whole new look.
The shifter, oh yes the shifter, it vibrates... yes, but just a tiny bit of it... the Sentra I tried... it's like a old washer/dryer, the Protege5 is a lot better, but it's no VW or Honda.
Dunlop tires is a plus, V rated... compared to Firestone on Sentra, this kicks ***
Overall, I love it... but I always have a few things to complain
1) Expensive because of HIGH demand and LOW supplies
2) Could use a bit more horses
3) Shifter too tall
4) Shifter boot is cheap... looks like fake leather.
5) Rear seats are bench seats... and made badly.

of course... minor stuff... but it looks like I'll be getting one of these Protege5 soon (waiting list is 1-2 months)

my lude is due back to the dealers... I'll be car-less for a month or two... darn

the Protege5 is a really good competitor to Sentra... if anyone is thinking of a Sentra, think of this first.

I haven't found any Forum on the Protege5... I will start one maybe next week

If anyone tried the P5, please post what you think of it in comparison to the Sentra SE
 

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The Protege5 is a Station wagon (shortened) Its a very stylish car, however the engine needs some WORK...130hp for a car like that? We have a Mazda 929 and its very underpowered for a luxery car (compared to other cars in its class). We took the Protege5 for a drive in downtown Toronto, and it wasn't half as good of a drive as the SE sentra was.
 

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Maybe I'm just in love w/ my Sentra SE pp, but I think it's one of the best cars in it's class at least when I bought it 8/2000. It handles and brakes really well, with the discs from the Altima. And I love the ride. I think the interior is comparably good. My only complaints were I was expecting it to be quicker when I test drove it, and those firestone tires suck. mazda P5....looks hot, I like the styling, but if you are really looking for something in the sport wagon area.. I would check out the Toyota Matrix..thats the Stuff...it's supposed to have the Celica GTS engine. I like it.. I always have tones of people in my car..I'd like that plus you can take the seats out easily when you want to race!! http://www.toyota.com/html/shop/look_ahead/index.html
 

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Why on earth.....

would you try to form an opinion of a car by driving a rental? Every rental car I've ever driven has been so abused and beaten that it feels like it's on the verge of mechanical failure!

The way I drive it doesn't help!:D
 

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Al, The Ignorant Fcuk
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Rentals...

Just another opinion, but my experience with rentals has been pretty favorable. I have never really had a bad rental (I've been around) As a matter of fact I bought two former rental cars. My current one has 125K and the other my daughter has 75K. Luck of the draw, I guess.

Later
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I guess the only major complaints from you guys about the P5 is
1) slow engine
2) some of us doesn't like "station wagon" --> btw, is the 4 doors Volkswagen Golf a Stationwagon to you? It is base on the same idea... along the lines of a Subaru Impreza Sport.

Anyway, yes, I know it is unfair to judge with a rental. Yes, driven a Sentra SE Sport 3 times at the dealership doesn't really do much, but a rental car is more or less a car that has been abused, or driven for quite a long time. I rented my car from Carmax of Toronto, most of the cars has problems, including their Honda Civics, Mazda Protege, and the Sentra. The Sentra XE was probably their best car (well... they gave me a car with only 2 ml of coolant, so that didn't help much)
:mad:
Anyway, it's not all bad news about the Sentra, I do like the way it drove, felt like driving a bigger car like an Accord.
I took it out for some spins (YES... LITERALLY)
I went on grass, sand, mud, rain, everything. I make the tires scream like madness everytime I make a turn... I make crazy 180 on the streets... I pretty much woke up my neigbours. For a rental car, I give it a 9/10 for best rental I ever had. I had Neons, Hyundai, Durango, Maxima, Beetles, Civics, Corolla, Caravan, Escorts, Jetta, Golf, (hmm... I rented a lot of cars before), but the best is still the Sentra, and the Golf was great too.
Anyway... getting back to my point....
Stationwagon/Sportwagon/hatchback or whatever you wanna call it... I think most agree that it looks good.
And that is one big reason I would choose that over Sentra (conservative look --> we can always argue over this, but it is conservative without mods)
Biggest bang for the bucks for now is still the Sentra SE Sport... but it's just the little things about the Mazda I like, and it is a few hundred bucks cheaper...
Only if they put a nice engine in it... oh sweet sweet Mazda.
BTW... I've driven it for a bit (the sales person didn't come along on the test drive... so I took it out for a spin for a while)... it had a lot of zip, but it's no SE Sport, but drove very well...
OKay... I'm talking too much now... thanks for reading! hehe!
 

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there is a saying that if a 4X4 can drive thru there, rental already done it...
when I got a rental with a/t I revved the engine in neutral and drop it in D on a redline...whew!


IMO I would never buy a rental
 

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Hey, if you really like that MP5, go for it man, and be happy!!!
 

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Personally, I've been thinking about it.....till I saw the Protege MP3, Id' rather get that....run circles around the P5 and SE. Then again, I never was for hatchbacks...except for the new 2002 SiR.
 

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the new MP3 is a great looking car...it has 10 more horses than the P5. and its a much smaller car. The Interior of the MP3 looks Very NICE!!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Haha... yah... I neutral dropped the rental too...
when I returned the car... the tread was worn down to 10% left.
I wouldn't make it to the winters (I'll tell ya that)
Hand brake turns didn't help it neither! :p
I will never buy a rental car neither... not the way I've seen some people drive it... (like me... abuse abuse abuse)
Anyway...
The MP3 is nice, looks like an EVO to me! it's really sweet... but last I heard (I could be wrong), it has no ABS. Only $2000CAN to go from P5 to MP3... sweet.
It has Tokico suspension system, Racing Hart rims, Nardi steering wheel and shifter, short shift, kenwood mp3 of course.
The new ECU, different gear ratio, clutch, and entire system pumps it up to 140. The Jap gets a faster one too!
But No ABS... so no way... plus I gotta wait longer to get it... i"m already outta a car... I have to take the bus! :( (okay... taking the bus is not a big deal... but when you have a few things to carry like a watermelon and a bag of rice - yah... i'm a rice boy - then it's not happy story)

I like the P5, I say 80% chance I would take the P5 over the Sentra, but unless Sentra SE Sport has some crazy promotion... then yah... that might change my mind!
I still think the P5 is a great buy. I do like the Sentra, but the P5 has the looks... (and no balls, but oh well)

The Sedan and the Hatchback/Wagon weights around the same, not too much of a weight different, and it's not really LONGER or Taller or Wider than than the Sedan. I've tried both, and they drive pretty much the same.

There are a few cars to look forward to, the Matrix, the SiR Civic (TypeR?), Altezza Wagon, all sharing basically the same design in mind.
In fact, the P5 looks a lot like the Altezza/Imprezza/EVO...
 
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