VIDEO: Behold the now-extinct B11 Nissan Sentra hatchback

The B12 Nissan Sentra didn’t really make shockwaves in the American car market, but according to Motorweek, it was once the best-selling import in the US. Not only that, but the car review program actually named the Sentra their top pick in a comparison of compacts. But even though it sold in apparently large numbers, 1985-1990 Sentra, especially the 3-door hatchback model, is all but extinct.

Even in Los Angeles, where you can see any manner of 1980s Japanese cars still truckin’ along many decades after their counterparts have disappeared from northern climes, the B11 hatchback is non-existent. I can’t even tell you the last time I saw one, and rallymaster Patrick Strong and I have an appointment to check out a survivor TE72 Corolla Sport Coupe later this afternoon.

Motorweek gives the 1986 Sentra hatchback high praise for its styling and spaciousness, but dings it on its handling. Sure, the front-driver isn’t going to compete with what Toyota had going on in 1986 in terms of three-door hatches, the AE86. Still, it’s almost certainly got better feedback than most drive-by-wire cars out today, has a tiny 32-foot turning radius, and in 5-speed form the testers got a combined 39 mpg.

It also comes with snazzy 13-inch alloy meshies, split-folding rear seat that my even my purportedly luxurious 1986 Cressida Wagon lacked, and snazzy rear vent windows activated by a lever in the rear center console. It would probably make an excellent city car for the discerning Nissan nut or 80s car enthusiast today, but the first trick would be finding one.



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11 Responses to VIDEO: Behold the now-extinct B11 Nissan Sentra hatchback

  1. LTDScott says:

    Isn’t this a B11 hatchback?

  2. Nigel says:

    Last time I saw one was in the mid nineties !

  3. GeorgeL says:

    That’s a B11, not a B12. I owned a 1987 B12 two door sedan, which is much boxier in styling. The B12 hatchbacks were quite ugly, but the B11 had very nice and sporty styling. They’re rare, but I still see one occasionally.

  4. Socarboy says:

    That first gen Sentra was a well made car but had acceleration so slow that it couldn’t get out of its own way

  5. Pravin says:

    I have a tidy one here in Auckland nz, body and interior is mint as, wof and reg . No issues. Auto. Amazing car

  6. Streetpunk64 says:

    My Pulsar NX had the same wheels when I got it. Swapped them out for some 15’X8″ +0 Still have them if anyone needs a set of 13″ of vintage goodness.

  7. Steven David Panlook says:

    Pretty sure Australia didn’t even get these. Although looking at them, I’m not sure we were missing much… But we’ve never had Sentras sold here at all. My first exposure to them was NFS Underground lol. The closest we got were similar Pulsars.

    Wiki’s telling me around 2000 they replaced the Pulsar in Japan with a new car, the Bluebird Sylphy (Sylphy always seemed like a strange name to me), which kept the Bluebird name going there. But here in Aus this car was the new N16 Pulsar. Which was the last Pulsar here for a fair while. They replaced them with Tiidas but they were never very popular. So they brought back the Pulsar name instead of Tiida but by then everyone knew they were just Tiida 2.0s with a new name. And were/are pretty dull things. Haven’t exactly set the world on fire, even with lukewarm SSS versions.

    Have found it bizarre for a long time that Nissan hasn’t at least kept up a foot in the hot hatch market. I mean every mass market brand has hatches, and most have a hot version, or at least a warm one. But the best Nissan’s tried to do is put stickers on warmed up, bulbous Pulsars and try to entice people with nostalgia. Which is even weirder when a lot of Nissans have been sharing things with Renaults, and Renault’s had some of the more mental hatches around in recent times. I mean a Pulsar GTiR based on a Megane RS would’ve gotten a lot of enthusiasts’ attention. Even if it was just rebadged and given a Nissan makeover.

    Basically, I miss the days when Nissan had cool small cars 🙁

  8. Tristan Gallo says:

    Wait I don’t understand this. The B11 was sold until ’86 in the US and the B12’s came out in ’85?? I just found one of these for sale in Florida and its an ’86, I’m looking to buy a certain B12 coupe hatch which is also an ’86.

    So let me get this straight… in 1986/1985 (?) you could buy 2 different generations of the Sentra each in either wagon, sedan, coupe, or coupe hatch form? So 8 different body styles of the SAME MODEL at the same time?

  9. potato says:

    Say, what if Initial D decided to feature not the AE86 but another look-a-like hatchback like an Accord hatchback, Celica, some Mitsubishi or this Nissan Sentra? Would it still be able to bring these car to legendary status like the AE86, or would the whole series just flop?

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