Hello folks.

I guess an introduction is in order because some of you hardly know me.  My name is Rich, and I’ll be the new Auto writer over at GuysNation.  Because while most of you love sex and food…  It’s great, but let’s complete the holy trinity.  Cars.

That’s right.  I’m here to make sure while you’re hitting on that hot Maxim babe and eating those snacks that Rob recommends…  You need to make sure you’ve got the right ride.  So, what do we start with…  The Nissan Sentra SE-R Spec V.

Now, the 2011 version of the Sentra series has a few cosmetic changes overall.  I know this because I own the Sentra 2.0 SL.   The SL gets a pretty respectable 27 city/ 34 highway/ 30 combined miles per gallon, which this isn’t eco nut numbers, but this is not too shabby for a car, either.

Your experience may vary, but the SL does come with a 2.0 Liter 4-cylinder engine.  It’s an automatic with their Continuously Variable Transmission, which I will explain in the next paragraph.  It also comes with the safety features of airbags all around the car, auto traction control, and a navigation system.  It’s not bad for what is.

Now, the Continuously Variable Transmission is what comes standard for most Sentras these days.  The CVT is something that’s very different for anyone.  If you’re used to the “kick” when your transmission changes, then you might not get too used to the CVT.  The CVT uses a system of slip belts that are always in a constant motion on a roller.  Hence, you get that “whine” of a changing gear without the kick.  You get this on any automatic version of any Nissan sedan now, and have been since 2006.

Yet, the SE-R Spec V…  That’s a different creature.  SE-R and the Spec V have the tight 6-speed manual transmission.  Mainly because they are “sport performance” sedans.

And you see that shifter…  I said, “SHIFTER.”  The gear stick is in a bit of a different spot than most expect.  It’s approximately 6 to 12 inches below the steering wheel.  Which is supposed to be “ergonomic.”  The auto gear shift is also in this position.  As an old gearhead, I’m still getting used to this.

You also should know that you’re probably going to get used to the fact that your entire center column is going to be your mini command center.  Everything is going to be above arm level, so no looking down for those drivers who worry about looking down for too long.

Which comes to the radio on the Spec V.  It’s a Rockford Fosgate.  Which is probably one of your better series of radios around.  It’s also going to control your navigation system that’s also a standard on every series above SL.  And also, you get the now almost standard iPod port, if you have an iPod.

For the record, I don’t…

So, this looks a bit neat to you, right?  Well, there’s more goodies on the center column.  If you call it goodies, that is.

You have a nice little oil gauge and a charge gauge above the radio display on the center of your dash.  Of course, only the SE-R and the Spec V contain this stuff.  You’re not going to find, or need, this on any other series of Sentra.

In fact, unless you’re really going to use the Sentra for street racing…  Most of this stuff is very unnecessary.  In fact, I’m also a bit of anti-gauges that are not necessary.

So, what does this all mean for you?  You get a pretty package in a car.  Yet…  does the pretty package equal performance?  Not entirely.  And before you bash me as a complete hack, hear me out.  And I’ll be quite honest.

I do love my SL, I’m not going to lie.  For what I’m paying, I better love it.  However, there are drawbacks to the car.  The handling isn’t the best.  In fact, if I take a corner going 60 and above, there is a lot of understeer.  (For you NASCAR types, that’s “loose”.)  And the car is fantastic on tarmac and straights.  It’s also fantastic on the quarter mile.

That’s where it ends.  You get into rough tarmac and road distress, pack some ice for your sore testicles.  The shocks are hard and unforgiving.  The ride is sometimes a bit trying when you do hit distress.  Also, the handling won’t help in situations where you need it to help.  Does this make it a bad car?  No.

The Spec V’s performance is middle of the road.  It’s a 2.5 Liter Engine with 200 horsepower.  It’s not going to really scare the pants off of anyone in a race.  It’s got decent acceleration, but the gearbox is jerky when you shift.  If you double shift (a street racing must), then you might want to hope and pray that the gearbox holds up.

Is the Sentra a bad car?  Again, no.  It just is.  And compared to Kia, Honda and Hyundai…  The Nissan is in the middle of the road.  It’s not a good spot to be in either.  It’s not the most affordable in it’s class, either.  So, it’s a middle of the road car with a middle of the road price.

Would I recommend it for the readers?  Only if you’re dedicated.  The Sentra can be customized and improved.  You can add the parts it needs.  And you can do it quite decently, too.  It’s got a pretty good body shape for a sedan, and all Sentras have the spoiler for aerodynamics.

So, if you’ve got a hot date with that Maxim model…  I’d say pass on the Sentra.  If you need a car for the commute, then give it a try.  Even the Spec V gets 21/28/24, which is not bad for a sports sedan.  But if you want to get laid…  Keep reading more.  Sentra isn’t for you, my friend.

I’m Rich, and welcome to Gearhead Central.  And Rob will love this, it’s only on GuysNation.