Sedans & Coupes

Cars and Bids Bargain of the Week: 1991 Nissan Sentra SE-R

With the 400Z’s promising design, it seems Nissan is rediscovering its affordable performance side. This is great news, as the Japanese brand has a history of fun hits outside of the Skyline GT-R. For example, there was the AWD Pulsar GTi-R and the Corvette-slaying 300ZX. And there was also the car that’s today’s Cars and Bids bargain of the week: the B13 Nissan Sentra SE-R.

The B13 1990-1994 Nissan Sentra SE-R is a genuine pocket rocket

A red 1994 Nissan Sentra SE-R parked on a mountain road
1994 Nissan Sentra SE-R | Nissan

While the current Nissan Sentra has gotten a luxurious upgrade, the early-90s B13-gen car was significantly more basic and under-powered. Then again, most compact economy cars were at the time, Autotrader points out. The 1991 Nissan Sentra SE-R, though, almost single-handedly changed that perception, Road & Track reports.

The B13 Nissan Sentra SE-R has a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 140 hp and 132 lb-ft, R&T reports. That doesn’t sound impressive today, but it’s 30 more hp than the base Sentra had at the time. The engine, Nissan’s SR20DE, also redlines at 7500 RPM, and is legendarily reliable, R&T reports. Plus, the Sentra SE-R weighs less than 2500 pounds, Autoblog reports. And with its 5-speed manual, the FWD car’s 0-60 mph time meant it could keep pace with contemporary BMWs, Hagerty reports.

Speaking of BMWs, many have compared the B13 Nissan Sentra SE-R to the BMW 2002 and its contemporary rival, the Datsun 510, DrivingLine reports. That’s because the B13 SE-R’s upgrades weren’t limited to its engine.

The compact coupe has a standard limited-slip differential, stiffer springs, as well as larger front and rear anti-roll bars. It also has larger tires, a rear spoiler, 4-wheel independent suspension, and 4-wheel disc brakes, R&T reports. As a result, the B13 Nissan Sentra SE-R wasn’t just faster than the base car, but it also handled better. And you didn’t have to be traveling at illegal speeds in order to enjoy it.

The 1991 Nissan Sentra SE-R on Cars and Bids

A red 1991 Nissan Sentra SE-R in a field
1991 Nissan Sentra SE-R | Cars and Bids

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The 1991 Nissan Sentra SE-R currently listed on Cars and Bids is in remarkably good condition given its age.

Admittedly, it’s not perfect. There are a few chips and nicks inside and out. And Cars and Bids notes that the radio doesn’t turn on. However, this Sentra SE-R only has 32,900 miles on the clock. Plus, despite the propensity for owners to modify their cars, this one is essentially stock.

The black front seats and dashboard of a 1991 Nissan Sentra SE-R seen through the door
1991 Nissan Sentra SE-R front interior | Cars and Bids

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Being an early-90s compact car, this 1991 Sentra SE-R doesn’t have a lot of frills. But in addition to the performance features, it does have a sunroof, fog lights, and A/C. Plus, one of the previous owners installed some mudflaps to protect the paint from flying debris. Which, given this car’s sporty reputation, was likely a good move.

What makes this car a bargain buy?

The rear 3/4 view of a red 1991 Nissan Sentra SE-R
1991 Nissan Sentra SE-R rear 3/4 | Cars and Bids

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As of this writing, this 1991 Nissan Sentra SE-R is listed on Cars and Bids for $6750 with 3 days left in the auction.

Considering its condition, that’s a lower-than-expected price. While some B13 SE-Rs have gone for less on Bring a Trailer, low-mileage stock examples can cost almost twice as much. Plus, this example is painted in Aztec Red, which Cars and Bids notes is a rare color choice.

A red 2002 Nissan Sentra SE-R drives on an autocross course
2002 Nissan Sentra SE-R side | Nissan

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Actually, the B13 Sentra SE-R is fairly rare, period. Despite its capabilities, it didn’t sell in large numbers, and many were modified and crashed over the years. And while Nissan made other sporty Sentras, only the 2000-2006 SE-R Spec V got close to capturing the original’s magic, Automobile reports. The 2007 and later models, though more powerful, aren’t nearly as fun, Motor Trend reports.

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