Robert Bowen
Robert Bowen
2/4/13 10:48 a.m.

Small, sporty sleepers have been enthusiast favorites for decades, and for years Nissan’s entry into this category has been the Sentra SE-R. That original 1991 Sentra SE-R added plenty of punch to Nissan’s economy car platform, including more power, stiffer suspension and even a factory limited-slip differential. The result was simply amazing performance for a base price south of $11,000. That’s the equivalent of about $17,000 today.
Unfortunately, the follow-up SE-Rs lost much of that first car’s panache. Weight went up, redlines went down, and enthusiasts were no longer enamored with the twist-beam rear suspension used in the late ’90s.
The SE-R badge wasn’t one to be confined to the ages, however. Nissan released their all-new, B15-chassis Sentra for 2000. Reviewers liked the new car’s increased interior room and solid construction. In response to the tuner market, Nissan PR teased us with another hotrod Sentra. Dubbed the Disco Potato thanks to its wild, iridescent brown paint job, this one-off machine featured a turbo engine, stiffer suspension and giant wheels and tires.
The Disco Potato showed that there was still a place on the market for a performance-tuned Sentra. In 2002, Nissan responded to consumer demand with the Sentra SE-R and its edgier brother, the SE-R Spec V.
These cars occupy a sweet price point today. Values are depreciated, performance is still strong by today’s standards, and good cars abound on the secondhand market.

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