Remember 1990? It was a blissful time, right at the birth of the Internet, before few people outside of Seattle ever heard of a band called Nirvana. There was no Facebook, no iPhone. But, like today, there was a Nissan Sentra.
The B13 Sentra ran from 1990 to 1994 in the U.S., and it was probably the last fun-to-drive Sentra made. It spawned the mighty SE-R, one of the best sport compact cars of the era.
In Mexico, the B13 Sentra is known as the Tsuru. And it’s still in production. Yup, 26 years after its release in the States, the Tsuru, with a few small updates, still roams the roads of old Mexico, mostly as taxi cabs. Long-running models like this make sense in less developed countries, as the cost of entry is low and the availability of parts is high.
The current generation Tsuru actually launched in Mexico in 1992, and after 2.4 million cars sold over three generations, it will end production in May of 2017. The Tsuru line will end with 1,000 commemorative edition models that will go on sale starting in March.
The problem with selling a car with 1990s technology is that it has 1990s crashworthiness. Check out this crash test video of the Tsuru:
And now, compare it to a modern-day Sentra:
Safety measures have come a long way in 26 years, but even without airbags, the Tsuru’s structural rigidity leaves a lot to be desired.
Still, the old/new Tsuru has a pretty big following in Mexico, and is still a top seller. Nissan says that they won’t be replacing it, but instead will point customers in the Versa’s or Tiida’s direction. FYI: The Tiida is the same as the first-generation Versa in the U.S.
Despite being nearly identical to a model sold here, the Tsuru is illegal to import into the United States as it doesn’t meet federal emissions and crash test standards. However, in a few years, the first of the current-generation Tsurus will be eligible, as they will be 25 years old. Of course, you could still drive a new one here as long as it has a current Mexican registration. But after seeing that crash test, would you want to?
Check out this TFLcar video of the latest Sentra, the 2017 Sentra SR Turbo: