June 25, 2020 By Gerard Jude Castillo Nissan GTS photos: Randy Silva Nietto

Throwback: Nissan Sentra (B13)

Bringing tech and a bit of luxury to the then bare-bones compact class

Once upon a time, cars had fuel management system that used what is known as a Carburetor. This was a mechanical system that essentially delivered fuel to the combustion chamber in a rather crude manner compared tot its fuel injected counterpart. The same held true for power amenities—or lack thereof. There was a time not too long ago when these were reserved only for premium brands.

Then came the 1991 Nissan Sentra. The second-generation (or B13 in the Nissan internal code hierarchy) for the nameplate in the local market brought with it technologies that were considered cutting-edge in the compact car class. First off was Electronic Fuel Injection or EFI. This piece of tech utilized fuel injection controlled by an electronic or computer brain. Using microprocessor technology, it translated to more power and better fuel economy.

Yes, this was a big deal at the time, especially in the compact car segment. The top-of-the-line Super Saloon’s GA16DE 1.6-liter DOHC 16-valve four-cylinder motor produced 110bhp and and 108lb-ft of torque. It was mated to either a 5-speed manual or 4-speed AT. Those figures were considered class-leading during the time, even beating the likes of the then-mighty Toyota Corolla 16 valves. Pretty soon, every other manufacturer followed suit and fitted their compact with such an engine management system.

Another piece of technology that the B13 Nissan Sentra brought in was Antilock Braking System. While it wasn’t initially available when the car was launched in 1991, then distributor Nissan Motor Philippines Inc. equipped the Super Saloon with the safety device around a year or so after the local reveal.

And then there was power—power amenities, to be precise. While Nissan already offered power windows and doorlocks on the previous generation’s (B12) top-spec SGX variant, the succeeding B13 got these, plus power operated side mirrors, power steering, and a few other toys. These were speed-sensing doorlocks and a power antenna that came up or down when the radio was switched on or off, respectively.

Beyond these cool-for-its-time innovations and toys, the second-generation Sentra (locally. It was the car’s third, globally) is an enduring and endearing car. Proof of these were the Mexican market (which sold it as the brand new Tsuru until around 2013), and the numerous enthusiasts who still restore the car up to this day. Case in point is the car in the photo, owned by Nicoh Roque who dressed up up his ride in period correct GTS trim.

This is the lasting mark of this generation Nissan Sentra.

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