The Nissan Sentra has been a big hit for the Japanese auto maker. It’s shown itself to be a great compact with a winning combination of practicality, value, and that all-important Nissan reliability. The question is whether that grand heritage has been continued in the newest Sentra. Still only a year old, this car remains a bit of an unknown quantity.
Nissan has chosen merely to tweak the Sentra, not wanting to mess with a winning design. Some of the more eye-catching upgrades include the introduction of LED lighting as standard and 17-inch alloy wheels. There are also some enhancements to the trim, such as the use of more chrome, to give the newest Nissan an upmarket appearance. They’re small things, but they speak volumes.
The elephant in the room is that of power output. With a mere 130 horsepower, the basic Sentra does seem a bit underpowered when carrying a full load. It’s not likely to cause too many problems in city conditions, but out on the freeway, it can get more than a little frustrating. Fortunately, the car’s transmission is good, responding well when there’s a need for quick acceleration.
Surprisingly, given the modern trend for cars to get bigger, the current Sentra is only a couple of inches longer than the model it replaces; the wheelbase is actually slightly shorter. Nissan has addressed one of the concerns about the old car: that it didn’t have sufficient legroom for rear seat passengers. It’s still not amazing, but it’s now comfortable for adults.
Economy is good: you should be able to maintain 30 mpg in urban driving without trying too hard, while 40 mpg is a possibility on the open road. If only the new Nissan Sentra weren’t quite so underpowered, it might have been a category killer. As it is, it’s not quite there – but it’s still worth thinking about if you prioritize value over outright performance.