The third-generation Nissan Sentra’s claim to fame was the debut of the sporty SE-R variant, but for the most part, the compact was yet another run-of-the-mill econobox here in America. It’s a much different story in Mexico, where the wildly popular compact is still produced (under the Tsuru nameplate), essentially unchanged from 1992. But after over two decades, Nissan announced it will end production of the Tsuru in May 2017.
Nissan says Mexican consumers are drawn to the Tsuru for its reputation for durability and reliability. The Tsuru is affordable as well, with a brand new base model selling for around $7,600. Powering the five-passenger sedan is a 1.6-liter inline-four rated at 105 hp and 102 lb-ft of torque.
To date, Nissan has produced 1.8 million Tsurus in Mexico. That number goes up to 2.4 million if you count the first- and second-gen models. Nissan says it has no plans for a Tsuru successor, and will instead point customers to the Versa. The current-generation Sentra is also sold in Mexico.
Despite the Tsuru’s popularity, it suffered from dismal safety records since most are sold without airbags. Reuters attributes the compact to over 4,000 deaths in Mexico between 2007 and 2012 and reports that it received a zero-star safety rating from the Latin New Car Assessment Program. Later this week, the NCAP and IIHS will perform a crash test of a Tsuru and a 2016 Nissan Versa. The demonstration is part of the NCAP’s effort to eliminate “Zero Star” vehicles from Latin America and other regions.