Why Are Nissan Sentras So Cheap? (4 Reasons)

If you’re looking for a cheap small car, it’s likely that you’ve come across the Nissan Sentra. Unlike most other vehicles currently available, the Sentra’s basic 2022 model costs under $20k. 

In today’s post, we will have a closer look at why Nissan Sentras are so cheap, and if they are worth buying.

4 Reasons Nissan Sentras Are So Cheap

1. Good Value Is the Brand’s Success Strategy 

Some experts and car users believe that Nissan Sentras are so cheap because offering functional, low-cost cars is the brand’s success strategy. Since 2020, most car manufacturers have increased their prices drastically due to the Covid pandemic, the increase in the cost of living, and supply shortages. 

But not Nissan. In 2022, the cheapest Nissan Sentra was priced at $19,810, which is almost $30,000 less than the average new car. Nissan is a brand known for its reasonably priced and functional vehicles, so they are keeping prices steady to live up to their name. It is what makes them stand out from other manufacturers. 

2. There Have Been Some Issues with the Cars

In the past, there have been some issues with Nissan Sentras, so drivers might not be willing to pay top dollar for this car. 

One big problem with the Nissan Sentra is its transmission. When it malfunctions, the car may experience premature failure, overheating, lurching, and issues with acceleration. The transmission problems were so bad that the manufacturer had to pay 2013–2017 Nissan Sentra owners compensation after they filed a lawsuit.

Other potential Nissan Sentra defects include gear problems and malfunction of the warning lights. Since most of these issues occurred in the past two decades, many drivers don’t trust the brand. Therefore, they either avoid it or expect the price to be low. 

3. There Is Limited Demand 

There are various compact cars available on the market, but the Nissan Sentra isn’t one of them bestsellers. In 2021, the Toyota Corolla was the top vehicle in this category. It had over 11% of the total market share worldwide. In the US, the Toyota Corolla sold almost 224,000 times in 2021. Some other popular options were the Honda Civic and the Hyundai Elantra. 

In contrast, Nissan sold fewer than $128,000 Sentras in the same year. Since there aren’t as many customers interested in this car, the brand can’t charge as high a price for it. 

4. The Ratings Are Mediocre 

Kelley Blue Book has rated the Nissan Sentra sixth out of nine compact cars in 2022. While this car works well for most people, it isn’t one of the top choices in its category. Therefore, Nissan can’t charge as much as the brands that have produced a better products, which include Hyundai, Honda, and Toyota. 

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Why Are Used Nissan Sentras So Cheap?

The primary reason why used Nissan Sentras are so cheap is that the price of the new version is low. If a Sentra is bought for $20,495 when it is new, it will only be worth $10,360 after five years. This is a depreciation rate of 49%, which isn’t particularly high. But because the car was cheap to begin with, the resale price is low. 

Additionally, Nissan Sentras tend to last very long, so they can be sold second-hand multiple times. Currently, there are still models from the 90s and early 2000s on the road. Since these cars are 20+ years old, they can be bought at a very low price. 

Are Used Nissan Sentras Reliable?

Most used Nissan Sentras are considered reliable, but it all depends on the model and year you buy. According to CoPilot, you should avoid the ones manufactured in 2004, 2005, 2008, 2012-2015. 

The main reason for this is the above-named issue with the transmission. However, there are other reasons to steer clear of these years, including potential head gasket failure. 

Fortunately, there are other years that are unlikely to cause you any problems. Very old Nissan cars, produced before 2003, are considered very reliable, and they are also cheap to buy. Similarly, you could do well with a 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, or 2011 Sentra. If you’re looking for something newer, anything after 2016 is considered safe. 

Do Nissan Sentras Last Long?

Older Nissan Sentras are extremely long-lasting, and you might still see cars from the 1980s and 1990s on the road today. Unless you damage your car, you can expect your Nissan to last for around 250,000 miles. If you’re an average US driver, this means that you won’t have to replace your Sentra for 16+ years. 

During this time, you can expect your costs to be low. On average, you will spend $491 maintaining your Sentra, whereas the average US car costs $652 per year. What’s more, some versions of the Sentra are highly fuel efficient. The 2022 model has a gas mileage of between 27-29 mpg in the city and 37-39 on the highway. Therefore, you will also save money on gas. 

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Are Used Nissan Sentras Worth it?

Whether or not a used Nissan Sentra is worth it depends on your individual situation. If you’re interested in a car that is good for the environment and won’t cost you a lot, the Sentra could be the perfect option for you. 

Some of its advantages include: 

  1. The price of a used Sentra is very low. At under $20,000, this car is one of the cheapest currently available. While it holds its value quite well, the price is cut in half within five years. Therefore, there are some great used models available under $10k. 
  2. The ongoing maintenance costs of the Nissan Sentra are very low. Once you’ve paid off your Sentra, you will spend under $500 per year on maintenance and repairs. 
  3. While the car is compact, there is enough room for the whole family. It has supportive seats, large doors, and more than 15 cubic feet of cargo space. 
  4. If you buy a model manufactured in the last three years, the NissanConnect infotainment system is easy to use. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are now included. 

Some of its disadvantages include: 

  1. Certain years are less reliable than others. If you’re buying a used car, you should check that there aren’t any performance issues with your chosen year. 
  2. Depending on the Sentra you buy, the safety rating might be mediocre. While some years have received five-star ratings, others have fallen short or failed to include updated features. 
  3. The basic engine isn’t as powerful as other cars in this class. If you’d like increased performance, you need to purchase one of the more expensive Nissan Sentras. 

As you can see, there are pros and cons to buying a used Sentra. While most drivers are happy with their choice, there are some better cars in this class. Despite this, the Sentra offers excellent value for money due to its low starting price. 

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