By on August 17, 2016

2016 Nissan Tsuru silver

After 25 years in production, the Nissan B13 chassis is not long for this world. New Mexican safety regulations will spell the end of the Nissan Tsuru, according to a report in La Jornada Aguascalientes.

While the Tsuru — sold here as the Sentra from 1991 through 1994 — remains one of the most popular vehicles in the Mexican market due to remarkably low prices and ownership costs, the lack of airbags and anti-lock brakes mean doom as the Mexican government begins to bring cars sold in the country up to the safety standards required in the U.S. and Europe.

We last looked at the Tsuru back in March and lamented on the cheap-and-cheerful ur-Sentra’s lack of availability on our shores. With a base price of around $7,000 USD, it’s no wonder why the Tsuru is a darling of taxi fleets south of the border.

2013 Nissan Tsuru Latin NCAP

Unfortunately, a platform designed in the late ‘80s is woefully unprepared to handle the brace of airbags and advanced driver-safety features expected in modern transportation. Mexico’s new NOM-194 motor vehicle safety laws expressly require ABS and airbags engineered to various EU and FMVSS standards, among other regulations. The new laws will make the B13 chassis obsolete, much in the same way similar laws killed off the Volkswagen Type 2 “Kombi” in Brazil.

While Sentra enthusiasts will bemoan the end of a beloved platform, Nissan has plenty of other top-selling models, including the Tiida, which we know as the last generation Versa sedan.

[Images: Nissan Mexico, Latin NCAP]

h/t to GMInsideNews

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59 Comments on “It’s Been A Good Run: Nissan Tsuru Production Likely To End Soon...”


  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    *Grabs tissues for Gtem’s tears.*

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Noooooooo!

      I’m sure they’ll live on for quite a while, long after production has ended. I mean look at how many Ladas ply the roads of Russia (the old 2106 is the most-registered single model of vehicle on the roads as of 2014), and Mexico’s climate is much more rust-prone car friendly than Russia’s.

      I’ve ridden in some 400k kilometer Tsuru cabs. Somewhat worse for the wear but with cheap parts they are infinitely rebuildable. A cabbie in Puerto Vallarta told me they swap the shocks/struts out every year, and the tires about every 9 months.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        Here’s a perfect example of the breed, albeit this particular article was written in Belorussia (same difference to the part of Russia I’m familiar with in terms of what people drive):

        auto.onliner.by/2012/12/14/vaz-7

        My grandma’s neighbor has a totally preserved ’98 VAZ-2106 that he picked up from a pensioner for 50k rubles (less than $1000). Not a spot of rust on the prosthetic-limb-beige sheetmetal, perfect mechanical condition. Local parts stores have everything in stock for affordable prices including whole rear axles, crate engines, you name it.

        Her other neighbor has a fuel injected 2107 that we took on a sight seeing trip this summer. Softest ride short of a Volga, I’d imagine on par with a land yacht from the 1970s. Frankly much better adapted to the locale than anything foreign short of a Land Cruiser (and even then the LC will ride worse).

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          How old is that Lada? The front end just looks like a desperate lipstick makeover. I know underneath it’s a Fiat from 1964 or whenever.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            I think it was in the article that it’s an ’84. But stupid aftermarket tacked on grilles and all sorts of other silliness is common, and that’s what that is (maybe even serves a role in blocking cold air to the radiator, who knows).

            They made them right up until 2005, at the Izhevsk factory actually after production was wound down in Togliatti. By the end there was no real logic to the hierarchy (2105, 2106, 2107). The 2106 was an update on the existing ‘sporty’ model (2103, which also had 4 round headlights), and was the top dog in the Lada lineup in 1976. When the squared off 2105 and 2107 debuted in the early 80s, the 2105 was the cheap lower end model, and the 2107 was the big motor, 5spd (instead of 4) with full lower dash trim and tall chrome grille. By the end you could get a 2107 with a carb and 4spd, a fuel injected 2106, just a big old mess of variants being manufactured at all sorts of different sites in the Ukraine, in the Chechen Republic of Russia, Izhevsk, ROSLada.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I can imagine trying to buy parts from a catalog with that sort of mismatching and model variation going on. It’s like AMC, times a million.

            But then again, probably seven of ten people there have owned one directly and know how to work on them and what part is needed.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Well it’s actually pretty simple I think, most guys will just know what motor they have (by series name), whether they have fuel injection or not, and a few other details. Otherwise everything is plug and play on those things (rear ends, suspension, etc). Swap a running motor from your rusty workhorse into a clean shell with a dead motor and keep rollin’. The amount of ‘folk knowledge’ around those cars is mind blowing.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            It’s like the Fox Mustang of Europe!

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    If the roof doesn’t bend up like in an accident, how the hell else are you supposed to crawl out to gather your limbs afterward? That door’s not gonna open.

    #safety

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

    Wait, I thought only GM hated people being alive and showed it by offering airbag-less cars in places that don’t require them?! Surely a Japanese company wouldn’t do that. There must be some mistake somewhere.

    Seriously, though, I’ve always wanted a two door B13 Sentra with the updated Tsuru front clip.

  • avatar
    carlisimo

    I had a 1992 (B13) Sentra E – the base model with those stupid two-part seat belts (the shoulder strap was attached to the door and wasn’t supposed to be undone), a terrible 4-speed manual transmission, ridiculously stiff manual steering, and no A/C. Very good 1.6L engine, only let down by the motor mounts. I think the biggest difference between that generation Sentra and the B13 Tsuru is that the Mexican car has more suspension travel. Unlike Civics from the ‘90s, you could only lower the Sentra 1” or so before its handling started to get worse. I guess Mexico has enough poorly-surfaced roads that they needed to change that.

    At some point I also had a 1991 Toyota Tercel with similar specs plus A/C, and its transmission, manual steering, and interior quality were miles better than the Sentra’s. Lousy engine, though. Let Nissan become an engine company and leave everything else to other companies.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      As the owner of a rusty ’00 Maxima with a cost-cut-to hell interior but a gem of a VQ30 motor, I’m inclined to agree.

      Actually very seriously considering flipping it just to break even, before I get in too deep. After my strut replacement, I’ve still got a mediocre at best ride and thunks in the back suspension that I’ve traced to worn out rear trailing arm bushings which are not made to be replaced from the factory. Oh to have bought an old Camry instead!

      • 0 avatar
        bumpy ii

        Do it! You can buy this unicorn:
        https://washingtondc.craigslist.org/doc/cto/5726540522.html

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          LOL @ $3300. That thing is REKT.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            There’s a clean little cared for ’01 Corolla for $2500 locally, in retrospect that would have been a much safer choice.

            indianapolis.craigslist.org/cto/5736881194.html

            I think I’ll just marinate the 4Runner in Fluid Film (even more than it already is) and use it what it’s made for this winter.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            That’s very tidy at the price, since big miles don’t scare you. And I like how even though it’s cheap – they bothered to clean it before photographing. That says something.

            https://cincinnati.craigslist.org/cto/5733092631.html

            I keep eyeing this one, and telling myself the miles are too high, even if he’d take book. But so clean.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Corey that’s exactly the kind of Tahoe you should be looking for. Being sold by the owner, who obviously took care of it. Just check for proper transmission and t-case function, as well as cold-start piston slap, and of course underbody rustiness. A could see a GMT800 Suburban in my future, imminently practical family vehicles for folks with inclination towards family trips to the outdoors.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            So you’re saying I should go check it out, lol. I think it probably hasn’t sold yet because it’s about an hour east of the 275 loop, and many people haven’t heard of Hillsboro. I had to look it up as well.

          • 0 avatar
            bumpy ii

            If the miles don’t scare you:
            https://norfolk.craigslist.org/cto/5727536709.html

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            $5k and 300+ miles!? And the step rail is falling off! And I’ve got to look at their cups. And look at the oil pressure gauge, even though it’s at temp.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            I wonder what that guy considers “unreasonable offers,” he might be laughing for quite a while as he looks for that perfect sucker. For $5k I’d at least want some decent tires on the rig. Sounds like he’s trying to recoup the cost of that engine swap. Paint looks like a respray, and poorly done at that. He’s got the old boat-anchor OHV motor to boot.

          • 0 avatar
            bumpy ii

            “Come on, $5k is a bargain. I’m practically giving it away. Look at how much this one is.”
            https://richmond.craigslist.org/cto/5710757858.html

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Going to see Tahoe tonight at 6:00!

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Nice! We’ll be awaiting a PPI-report tomorrow!

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            So far, owner says:

            Bought from orig owner in Louisville 6 months ago, when his truck got totaled and he needed something else. Selling now because he really needs a truck, and normally only drives something a couple years old. Original owner (older guy) put the miles on with regular trips from Louisville to Texas.

            New tires, new shocks.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            An interesting variant:

            indianapolis.craigslist.org/cto/5712781178.html

            Pluses: won’t rust, obviously well cared for with a lot of recent work and fresh suspension, 5spd(!!)

            Cons: inop A/C, it’s a higher mile 850 Volvo…

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Black on black with inop A/C = fall months sale! Also the interior needs lotions.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Since we’re thoroughly off-topic, my favorite Russian youtuber just uploaded a review of an old ’91 Toyota Crown Royal Saloon with 1 million KM of mostly Russian roads under its belt. It is perhaps not a coincidence that this 140 series Crowns were the last to have BOF construction. That’s over 600k miles of Russian “roads.” Let that sink in for a bit. Original un-touched non-turbo 2JZ (of Supra fame) motor in a soft 248hp state of tune, albeit the automatic transmission has been replaced once.

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aP3QA2FHb1Y

            Dat brown interior with velour seats. Sport mode button that activates a solenoid to adjust a valve in the exhaust system, ultrasonic mirror cleaners (!), touch screen climate control, all of this in 1991!

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            That old climate screen and the big green numbers for the speedo are sorta hilarious. I’d drive it though. You can’t get much more Japanese with your car than a Crown or Crown Comfort – unless you have a Century.

            Also, now I own a Tahoe.

          • 0 avatar
            bumpy ii

            Ah, Japanese automotive gadgets. If you could afford the taxes on a Crown, you could certainly afford the kitschy options listed in the brochure.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Daaaaang Corey making moves! That’s how I find CL works. You just need to be quick on the trigger some times because you never know when the “right one” pops up. So you’re up to a three car fleet now with the Infiniti, old Caddy, and Tahoe? Keeping all three?

            I’m working on polishing the Maxima up some more cosmetically and hoping to steam clean the interior some. Basically doing what I can to increase appeal and resale value on CL without eating into my bottom line. Plan is to price it aggressively relative to the rusted out heaps that most 5th gens that are on craigslist. It’s been nice to be driving the 4Runner in the mean time. Driving a beater for a bit just puts things in perspective for me as far as just how nice the old 4Runner drives. Closer to a 2016 vehicle than anything used even remotely close in age.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I broke my N+1 car rule! First time I’ve ever done that. The Cadillac will go up for sale when the weather is a bit cooler – and I need to get it washed up as well. I can’t keep three cars because it means one will constantly be trapped in the garage, and require shuffling.

            Once I went to see it, I was pleased with the additional information I found, like the nice new tires (Geolander? I think), new shocks and the new wheels he’d got from a ’14 Suburban. He also -only- purchased Chevrolet trucks and -only- if they had the 5.4 in them. His neighbor has his old Avalanche, which he said he sold to him at 255k miles. Also, he delivers parts for a living – so I’m thinking he knows a thing or two about engines. Also said he used to be a GM dealer for five years.

            House was well-maintained and he had a fancy new off road golf cart.

            Drives straight, no rattles, good brakes. Only sound when I went into 4×4 Hi was an electronic brrt sound. Tested it on a gravel lot to make sure it worked okay. Inside around all the door seals looked brand new. It has one small scratch in total, and one small dent on driver’s rear fender which isn’t enough to rust. Has just the start of some rust on driver’s rocker panel beneath passenger door, which I might get fixed depending on cost.

            He did come down a little, but I still paid above book. I was the first person to look at it because of a) weather and b) the 1h15 minute country drive from the city. I actually stopped at a Marathon station to get some fuel as I was running low on my way there – and they only had 87 grade. Good grief.


            Sorry your Max experience didn’t turn out well. Sounds like one of those too far gone situations.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Man that sounds like a good find. Are you going to baseline it with all new fluids? (ATF, front and rear diff, t-case)? That’d be my first order of business on any used SUV. I assume it has the “auto 4wd” setting in addition to 2H and 4H and 4L, and that it needs to be in neutral to shift in to 4L. My coworker’s 05 ‘burb crapped the t-case (chain slipped) at about 120k miles after what sounds like viscous coupling failure combined with driving turns on dry pavement in what turned into basically 4H mode (locked up failed VC). Just something to keep in mind, changing fluids can help alert you to any in-process failure before it gets expensive.

            Yeah I’m not too bent out of shape. I got to tinker with a car, practice a bit of body work (just polished the top coat, blended in very well for amateur spray-can work), and got to try out a car I’ve long touted as a beater-champ. I just want to sell it without losing my shirt on it, something that won’t be too difficult I think.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            My beater conclusion: in northern climates, avoid Nissans of this era. Very poor rust-proofing compared to Toyota and Honda, particularly for structural elements and not just cosmetic sheetmetal. We’re talking Mazda protege-tier rust. Secondly, I had previously touted the simple Maxima rear beam axle as having few moving parts and nothing expensive to wear out or hard to track-down bushings. Well the former is true, but those few bushings that it does have DO wear out, and they are damn near impossible to replace economically. A Honda or Toyota may have more links/arms back there, but all are easily and cheaply acquired at any parts place, and easily installed. Finally, the V6 motor itself is awesome and internals are stupendously robust, but the nature of a V6 engine means that something like exhaust work is now more expensive to do. Interiors do not wear anywhere as well as even a de-contented late 90s Camry or Honda.

            Having said all that, if you find a rust-free, 95-99 variant, especially with a 5spd, they are a great car IMO. Good simple styling, fun to drive, and that turbine-smooth and strong motor make it all worth it, all at used Corolla/Camry/Civic/Accord prices.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            If the fluids thing is your recommendation then that’s what I’ll do! Especially since it can’t hurt. I was pleased how it still shifted smooth at these miles.

            Another reason: The original owner from KY did not provide any records, so I have no idea if it’s been rebuilt already, or what.

          • 0 avatar
            bumpy ii

            All Corey needs now is a bass boat and a W/04 sticker.

            What bushings wore out on the Max? The two big ones for the torsion beam?

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Hey when does Bob Evans start servin’ dinner portions?

            It’s already got the old man wind deflectors on all four windows, and a matching guard over the hood.

          • 0 avatar
            TMA1

            That $2500 Corolla would be gone in half an hour in DC. Even if it cost a thousand more.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            bumpy yes the two big rear trailing arm bushings. Not torn, but you could tell all the fluid leaked out of them a while ago. The only solution short of a new OEM trailing arm/axle is to burn out the old ones and press in polyurethane units from Energy Suspension ($75ish). Appart from the unpleasantness of the job, the aftermarket units are stiffer and give a harsher ride. Don’t get me wrong, the car could be driven in its current state for years, it isn’t terribly sloppy or anything, but just unpleasant sounding over certain bumps, and it’s driving me bonkers.

  • avatar
    threeer

    …pausing a moment to remember and reflect wistfully on my 1991 SE-R…

  • avatar

    Interesting will be watching the consequences of updating to US/Euro safety standards: new vehicle cost will rise across the market and at current Mexican wages they would be unaffordable, cratering whatever volume the market represents.

    So what raise wages? That’s the whole reason Mexico’s become a competitive manufacturing hub–plus trade agreements–lose your low-cost labor, lose your piece of the pie…

  • avatar
    RHD

    That crash test picture shows how underengineered the chassis is, compared to newer models. It was remarkably successful at taking over the niche previously held by the even more outdated Beetle.
    No worries, Mexico, I’m sure Nissan will have a factory full of depreciated tools and dies for another obsolete model that they can ship over.

  • avatar
    PRNDLOL

    I remember when the Nissan SE-R debuted and Car & Driver considered it a modern day BMW 2002. It even earned spot on the 1992 10 Best list.

  • avatar
    Stugots

    I own a 1991 Sentra SE-R with 80,000 miles. I ran across it two years ago, totally unmolested and unmodified, except for a suspension kit of bigger stabilizer bars and lowering Eibach springs/Koni struts. That thing is a hoot to drive, engine revs to 7500 rpm, and it is light and tossable in a way most modern cars simply can’t achieve. After seeing that photo, I am planning to not hit anything with it!

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    God, how I love seeing any vehicle, even a sedan, sitting proud and tall upon its strong, young springs.

  • avatar
    mountainman

    I had a 93 SE-R – I should have never got rid of that car.

  • avatar

    So I guess the Tsuru didn’t give owners much tsuris.

    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/tsuris

  • avatar
    motormouth

    They don’t build ’em like they used to. Wait – yes they do!

    I was working for a short time at a Nissan dealer when these were launched in the US, they were half decent but things have clearly moved on.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      A co-worker has had to replace a strut at 15k and now a rear wheel bearing at 21k on his bought-new ’14 Sentra. I’m feeling at least a bit guilty since I enthusiastically supported said purchase. At least it’s all been covered under warranty no questions asked.

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