By on October 27, 2016

2016 Nissan Tsuru silver

After over two decades of uninterrupted production, Nissan’s Mexican division is finally killing off one of the oldest cars currently on the global market — the Tsuru compact sedan. Virtually unchanged since 1992, Mexico manufactured it for 24 years, selling a grand total of 1,849,289 units in that time.

However the re-badged B13 Sentra’s rich history of reliable transportation and status as Mexico’s favorite taxi won’t save it from the axe. This popular little deathtrap has overstayed its welcome. Here’s why the blade needs to fall.

If you want one, the final 2017 model year will run you the Mexican equivalent of $7,564 (U.S.). Premium items like air-conditioning, a 12-volt outlet, hydraulic steering, and cloth-lined doors are extra. Also extra are the three-point seatbelts in the rear, and nonexistent are things like airbags, ABS, and a host of other safety items that modern cars take for granted.

According to Latin NCAP, those missing items contributed to over 4,000 Tsuru-related deaths in Mexico between 2007 and 2012.

This end of days was a long time coming. Mexico has passed new vehicle safety laws requiring airbags, ABS, and other elements engineered to EU and North American standards that a 1992 Nissan Sentra just isn’t designed to meet.

In August, David Ward, Global NCAP Secretary General, said, “By continuing to sell the Tsuru in Mexico, Nissan are exploiting the lack of crash test standards and exposing their customers to an entirely avoidable risk of death and serious injury. Ahead of the application of UN Safety Standards, Nissan should do the right thing and withdraw from sale this sub-standard and unsafe model.”

Nissan said it will terminate production of the Tsuru in Mexico by May 2017 but will continue offering service, parts for repairs, and maintenance of the vehicles for the foreseeable future. It will also build 1,000 special commemorative versions as a farewell to the country’s beloved suicide machine.

Nissan Tsuru

[Images: Nissan]

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29 Comments on “The Nissan Tsuru (aka 1992 Sentra) is Dead: Here’s Why...”


  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Well if these are suicide machines, then how did so many of us survive driving around in the death traps of the 50’s and 60’s. We used to fit 8 teenagers into a 1962 Beetle. Sorry 9, 2 on the passenger seat and 6 in the back. Sometimes 7 in the back depending upon the male/female ratio.

    Before that, when it was the ‘family car’ we would place my infant brother in the little storage cubby over the rear engine so that he could stay warm (no heater in those things) and inhale all the engine fumes his lungs could handle.

    • 0 avatar
      e30gator

      I think it’s all relative to what other people are driving. Being in a B13 Nissan in 1992 and crashing into a ’91 Corolla would yield a comparable amount of damage in both cars. A crash between that same B13 and any modern vehicle that is designed to handle much tougher impact loads would flatten that Nissan like a tin can.

    • 0 avatar
      Jellodyne

      The old death traps didn’t kill EVERYONE who rode in them, not even the Corvair. It is nonetheless safe to say that there’d be a lot of people still alive that are not if 50s and 60s cars were as safe as modern cars. And vice versa, there’d be a lot of living people dead if modern cars were still the deathtraps they used to be.

      The average speeds on the roads of the era were slower, the roads were less crowded, and the cars were way less capable of reaching dangerous speeds. Can you imagine a 60’s Beetle with a 250 horse engine?

      • 0 avatar
        DC Bruce

        With respect to the Corvair (1st gen) not for the lack of trying. Vicious handling on wet pavement, especially with the stock bias ply tires. Certainly, the roads were less crowded; but the one virtue of crowded roads (i.e. congestion) is lower speeds. Highway speeds of that era were 65-70 plus the famous unlimited speeds in, IIRC, Wyoming and Montana. 1960’s Beetles were certainly capable of highway travel at 60 mph, and lots of people used them that way. I had a 1968 Karmann Ghia with a slightly modified engine, and it would do 70 all day long. People have an exaggerated sense of the horsepower required to maintain a sustained speed, outside of the mountains. Say what you will about the air cooled VW engine, it was however, understressed and designed to run continuously at full output.

        • 0 avatar
          Arthur Dailey

          Actually we drove faster in the late 60’s and early 70’s. In Ontario our highway speed limit was 70 miles per hour. So of course we drove consistently at 79 (127 kmh and would speed up as needed from that.

          And there was no legal requirement to wear seat belts.

          Now the speed limit is 100 kilometres per hour (62 mph), if you can find an uncongested stretch. And the max you can drive without worrying about losing points is 116 kmh(71mph).

        • 0 avatar
          Johnster

          I recall, from back in the day, that a Volkswagen Beetle would top out at about 81 mph, but that once it got there (if the road was flat) it could stay there all day.

          • 0 avatar
            -Nate

            “I recall, from back in the day, that a Volkswagen Beetle would top out at about 81 mph, but that once it got there (if the road was flat) it could stay there all day.”

            True .

            As a matter of fact the Owner’s Booklet until the 1961 year model specifically said ” top speed is cruising speed ” .

            My 1953 Split Window Beetle was going 85 when I rolled it .

            -Nate

    • 0 avatar
      Nick 2012

      “then how did so many of us survive driving around in the death traps of the 50’s and 60’s.”

      My grandmother (born in 1917) likes to remind people how frequently children and adults died from accidents in the ‘old days.’ She was one of 9. Six survived to adulthood. That was pretty normal.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        That was certainly true – I think you just kept having kids because you’d inevitably lose some.

        • 0 avatar
          Arthur Dailey

          I read somewhere that until WWII the two largest causes of premature death among humans were childbirth and tuberculosis. They caused more deaths than the plague or wars.

          And this is the first generation in history that will have more people die due to obesity related diseases than from starvation.

        • 0 avatar
          garuda

          the quote from Ida in Malcolm in the Middle about not naming kids (back in the old country) until they are one year old because you didn’t know they would survive rings true.

      • 0 avatar
        garuda

        make America great again!
        my dad is the opposite to your Nana, he thinks life is harder now than when he was younger, completely forgetting the fact that 2 of his 10 siblings died in childhood, or that his own mother died in her late 40’s from simple asthma.

    • 0 avatar
      PeriSoft

      You’re absolutely right! Why, I don’t currently know a single person who died in a car accident in the ’60s. Obviously those vehicles were just as safe as current ones!

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      “Well if these are suicide machines, then how did so many of us survive driving around in the death traps of the 50’s and 60’s.”

      Simple – we were lucky enough to not get into serious accidents.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    We’ve heard about the Tsuru in March, August, and now October. I think we’re well covered on it now.

  • avatar
    zamoti

    When my wife and I were younger, we doubled down on one of these. We had a 93 Sentra (red, natch) that was a rebuilt after someone bashed the driver side door. The “new” door never really closed quite right but we drove that thing all over the damn country. It was great compared to its predecessor which was an 87 with no AC and manual steering. We drove it all through Central California, 80+ miles one way to work every day, we drove it from California to New Orleans, Pittsburgh and back on a Christmas break. It did eat a CV joint on the way home, but the repair was less than $200 someplace in Missouri. That thing was pushing 200k hard earned miles when it failed smog despite many repair efforts and we donated it on the day we were moving out of LA (did it on the way out of town in fact). It started every day and still ran just fine otherwise. It may have been a death trap, but it was least a RELIABLE death trap. Godspeed little ratty Sentra!

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    ” country’s beloved suicide machine.”

    Oh come off of it.

    #TsuruLivesMatter

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    I had an ’87 Sentra for a short time when this generation was being sold here.
    My car made these look like Volvos in comparison.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    I call B.S. ~ as long as they were selling and making Customers happy and Datsun money they should remain in production .

    -Nate

  • avatar

    They sold Tsurus? Obviously, nobody at Nissan speaks Yiddish.
    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/tsuris

  • avatar
    baconator

    Obsolete, perhaps, but that generation of Sentra was awfully fun to drive. The 140-horsepower SE-R is what people remember, but even the base models handled very well and liked to rev.

  • avatar
    Mario81587

    They actually came out with the B13 Sentra in 1991, not 1992 as the article suggests. The only reason that I know that is my first car was a 1991 Nissan Sentra GXE. Mine had the extremely rare ABS option.

    • 0 avatar
      greaseyknight

      Correct 91-94, IIRC the 94’s in the higher trim levels even came with Airbags, so the technology does exist for airbags in these cars, no idea if it would be effective or not.

  • avatar
    acehunter

    My 92 Sentra (SE-R) had ABS. And an airbag was offered as an option in 93 IIRC.

    As far as crash safety goes:

    A couple months ago, after well over 300,000 miles, a high school student ran a red light and plowed into me, spun me around, where I was then T-boned (driver’s side) by a SUV. My Sentra was totaled, but I walked away without a scratch.

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