Nissan has announced that it will be discontinuing the B13 Sentra. Wait, Didn’t that happen 22 years ago? Yes, but the car was so popular they had to do it again.
Despite having been introduced 25 years ago, the B13 Sentra is still (for now) being built and sold in Mexico as the Tsuru. It’s gone on to amass a rack of awards and has won the hearts of the Mexican populace as a cheap and cheerful form of transportation.
Unfortunately a crash test performed under by global NCAP in 2016 revealed how poorly the Tsuru fared against a modern US-spec Nissan Versa. The Tsuru returned a paltry 0/5 stars with a near guaranteed fatal result for the Tsuru driver. According to NCAP, the number of road deaths involving a Tsuru is about 4,000 deaths per year since 1992, a higher murder rate than the Sinoloa Drug Cartel.
While the Tsuru may be dated, it has always had mass appeal. The B13 is one of the only Sentra generations which was universally loved. Popular not only with drivers of South America, but with the FWD performance crowd embracing the SR20DE powered SE-R. It was even was quite popular with the mini truck and lowrider crowds in the early 90s.
After the Sentra moved onto the B14 generation in the US, it was continued in Mexico under the Tsuru name as a more modern option to the air cooled Beetle. The Tsuru has received moderate exterior upgrades and modernized interior features in the years following, but mechanically it’s largely the same, only receiving a Renault transmission thanks to benevolent overlord Carlos Ghosn. It was the best selling car in Mexico until 2011 but has since retained podium position behind the Jetta.
If you feel like you’ve seen an abundance of B13 Sentras In SoCal or other southwest states, it is because Tsurus have been brought to the United States on occasion. Don’t attempt to get one registered, however, because we still have to wait for the 25 year law to either be abolished (as it should be) or until this car hits that mark. For those of you who are interested in getting one of these few last homages to the B13 and can register it outside of the United States, Nissan is letting it go with a bang.
The 2017 Nissan Tsuru Buen Camino (“good way” in Spanish), as it will be called, will be as close to a collector’s Tsuru as you can get with a car known mostly as a taxicab. Special Orion Blue paint will be complimented by a Buen Camino badge, dark gray hubcaps and a chrome exhaust tip. The interior will have a gray and blue two-tone, a modern AM/FM/CD/USB stereo and hands free Bluetooth. Finally, customers will receive a commemorative plaque, along with a thank you letter from Nissan and a special keychain.
This is as good of a proper send off as possible for the Tsuru. Despite its safety performance, a car like this is instrumental in the mobility of the developing world. A common, accessible chassis also fosters the growth of car enthusiasts in the developing world, which is good for all petrol heads. Adios, Tsuru.