Nissan Motor Philippines Inc. (NMPI) recently introduced major model upgrades for their 1600cc Sentra Exalta GS and LS, which have reincarnated into the Sentra GS and GSX, while the top trim GS Granduer morphs into the Sentra 180GT and gets beefier with a new 1800cc engine. A product of more than one and half years of cooperative development NMPI, Nissan Japan and the Yulon Group of Taiwan, the new vehicles are part of NMPI's brand image building and product improvement thrusts towards a younger market.

"We are very proud of what we have done with the newest Nissan Sentra," exclaimed Leman Lee, NMPI President and CEO. "We have invested a large amount of our financial and human resources in developing this vehicle, which I must add, is a product design unique in Nissan's global overseas market. We've made it sure that the newest Sentra have the feature that the market truly wants and needs."

NMPI has also decided to readopt the "short and sweet" Sentra name to end the confusion caused by various levels of grade names and definitions. But it made clear that the name adoption does not erase the Exalta variant completely. "The Exalta refers to a totally different grade of the Sentra," explains NMPI Product and Marketing Manager Raymond B. Tribdino. "It should be made clear that the Exalta line may continue in future product planning developments for the model line."

"Many people have had good feelings about the Sentra and the car it represents. This new Sentra heralds a higher level of assembly quality and technological performance for the model," comments NMPI's VP for Marketing and Sales Virgilio L. Diwa. "We've taken this positive step of a more logical badging of our line-up to make it easier for the market to identify with the vehicles."

Major changes include a restyled exterior for the front and rear sections. A bolder front styling with a new grill, bumper and multi-parabola CSR headlamps which also acts as a driving aid. The completely restyled rear is highlighted by new combination tail lamps and a lower rear bumper. The exterior update is finished off with a new 14-inch alloy wheel design for the GS and GSX variants, while the 180GT gets a new 15-inch wheel design.

Three new grade levels will be available for the new Sentra led by the QG18DE 1800cc inline-4 VTC engine powered 180GT. The QG18DE coupled with an automatic transmission, boasts of a maximum power output of [email protected],000rpm and a pulling power of [email protected],400rpm. The 180GT also features a two-tone beige leather interior with black instrumentation finished off by carbon fiber trims.

The middle variant is powered by the 1600cc QG16DE engine with VTC. Interior-wise, the "nanometer technology" seats with stain resistant material syncs in with the new metallic trim finishing.

A new entry level GX 1300cc engine segment has been added in place of the redundant 1500cc class, which is targeted at small families and young professionals who want a little more space with frugality.

The new Sentra will be available in five colors, Mystery Red, Blue Azure, Vivid Black, Sterling Silver and Alpine White. Pricetags are as follows, 180GT Php888,000; GS Php798,000; GSX A/T; GSX M/T; GX A/T Php629,000; and the GX M/T Php589,000.