By on February 1, 2016

2016 Nissan Sentra-006

Traditional car shoppers are moving away from small sedans and toward compact crossovers. That’s the conventional wisdom used to explain the slowing sales we see in some models. But could there be another reason? Could it simply be a lack of focus and attention to the compact segment?

There is one model that’s seen a meteoric rise in sales since 2013: the Sentra. Nissan’s complete overhaul three years ago and aggressive pricing doubled Sentra sales since then, moving it from a “top 15” player in sales to number five in 2015.

In an effort to maintain the trajectory, Nissan opted for a major refresh after just three years on sale. (Sounds like the Honda plan with the Civic, doesn’t it?) Perhaps the key to compact success is a combination of frequent updates and more gadgets for shoppers to choose from. That sums up the 2016 Sentra perfectly.

Exterior
The 2016 Sentra receives a refresh, not a complete redesign. That means “hard points” such as the wheelbase, track and overall dimensions of the Sentra remain essentially unchanged. That’s not a problem for Nissan’s compact, being it was already one of the largest compact sedans at over 182 inches long. In fact, the “compact” Sentra is so large in fact that the EPA classifies it as a midsized sedan, much like the new Civic, Elantra, and other compact cars.

Up front, Nissan grafts a new bumper, hood and quarter panels to the Sentra, making it more homogeneous within Nissan’s lineup. The new look also injects some much-needed personality into the Sentra with a simpler chrome grille, more aggressive headlamps with optional LED beams and deeper creases in the sheet metal. The design manages to be more fresh and modern than the 2015 Sentra without looking awkward from some angles, a failing seen on the 2016 Civic. The Sentra is not as exciting as a Mazda3 to my eye, but it certainly looks fresher than the Elantra, Forte and Focus.

2016 Nissan Sentra-014

Interior
The interior of the Sentra is more traditionally styled than some entries, but parts quality in the SR and SL testers are above average for the segment. Base models see less premium materials used in the cabin, but the base price of the Sentra is also lower than every other entry except the Forte. The average shopper will find a leather-wrapped steering wheel in trims $5,000 cheaper than in the Civic and for thousands less than in others. Top top it all off, Nissan’s latest front seats are among the most comfortable in the segment and adjustable lumbar support is available in top trims.

Part of the Sentra’s success comes from its size. It offers 80 inches of combined legroom, which is five inches more than the Ford Focus and just 2/10ths of an inch behind the Ford Fusion.

As we’ve seen in other Nissans, the trunk is unusually deep and offers 15.1 cubic feet of stowable volume. This allows 24-inch roller bags (the largest you can carry on a domestic flight) to be stowed upright. Our tester successfully swallowed 10 such roller bags, a feat difficult for much larger sedans like the Camry and Accord. Next time you’re at the rental counter, you’d do well to take the Sentra over the Fusion or 200.

2016 Nissan Sentra-016

Infotainment & Gadgets
With a base price that starts lower than almost every other compact sedan, S and FE models get a base AM/FM/CD audio system with four speakers. Thankfully, Nissan doesn’t cut too deep and base models still get a USB connector, iPod interface and Bluetooth integration.

For $18,550, the SV gains a 5-inch LCD in the dash with smartphone app integration, hands-free text message support, Siri Eyes Free, a backup camera, XM Radio and six speakers. Optional on SV and SR and standard on SL is a 5.8 inch version of the same system that adds navigation and voice commands. Top trims can be equipped with a 10-speaker Bose sound system.

Like Honda, Nissan is betting on active safety, but Nissan’s approach is different. SV trims allow the addition of blind spot monitoring with cross traffic detection, a feature not found on the Civic. SR and SL shoppers can add a $1,230 technology package that bundles full speed radar cruise control, automatic braking and Nissan’s OnStar-like telematics services. This system will take you to a complete stop, but won’t hold you at the stop like Honda’s will.

Nissan’s package is $230 more than Honda Sensing and lacks the lane keeping and road departure mitigation system you find in the Civic, but does include telematics. On the flip side, the Sentra is considerably less expensive than a Civic, so an SL sedan equipped with radar cruise would still be thousands less than a comparably equipped Honda.

2016 Nissan Sentra-017

Drivetrain
Under the hood is the same 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine as before. Closely related to the 1.6-liter unit in the Versa, the up-sized engine makes 130 horsepower and 128 lbs-ft of torque (unless you’re in one of the 14 states that follow California’s stricter emissions standards, which drop output to 124 horsepower and 125 lbs-ft.)

Power is sent to the front wheels via, you guessed it, a continuously variable transmission. Like the Versa’s transaxle, this CVT uses a 2-speed planetary gearset to broaden the range. In broad terms, you start out with the gearset in low and the CVT in its lowest range. When the CVT hits the highest ratio, the planetary gearset switches to high and the CVT switches back to low. This design allows the CVT a broader ratio spread than you find in most compact sedans. The high-low shift is noticeable under hard acceleration if you pay attention, but it’s effectively masked by the programming that imitates a stepped automatic when using anything more than 3/8ths throttle. Nissan still offers a six-speed manual, but it’s relegated to the base model only.

2016 Nissan Sentra-015

Drive
Nissan’s broader-range CVT allows the Sentra to feel peppier than I expected. Of course, when you pit 130 horsepower against 2,877 pounds, you shouldn’t expect any great urgency, but the Sentra managed to be a hair faster than the Corolla at 9.3 seconds to 60 mph.

Nissan has tried their best to disguise the CVT’s stepless nature by programming “shifts” that happen any time you command more than 3/8ths throttle. However, the transmission acts just as CVTs always have when driven conservatively. In moderately aggressive driving, the new step logic makes a convincing imitation. The shifts feel “mushy” beyond that, however, with the transmission slipping into the next ratio with a more leisurely pace than a traditional automatic.

2016 Nissan Sentra-009

The newly tweaked suspension has firmed up the ride and settled the rear end. New tires with grippier compounds have been fitted to all trims, but the sectional width has stayed resolutely narrow at 205. A new steering rack and additional chassis bracing helps complete the package and the Sentra feels altogether more capable than before. Yet, up against stiff competition, the Nissan still ends up being a middling experience in terms of performance and handling.

Although Nissan bumped the price tag on the Sentra by $230 for 2016, the MSRP is still aggressively low, especially when you consider how large the Sentra is compared to some other compact sedans. SV, SR and SL trims undercut the Focus, Civic and Mazda3 by a notable margin, and even manage to be less expensive in some configurations than a similarly equipped Hyundai or Kia. With the most recent tweaks, the Sentra is not only less expensive, but fresher as well.

2016 Nissan Sentra-011

Comparisons with Honda’s Civic show an even larger delta. The Nissan is at least $2,000 less than the Honda across the range. When you factor in the deeper discounts we often see on Nissan lots, the gap between the Sentra and Civic grows.

The 2016 Sentra doesn’t break any new ground. The dynamics are still in the middle of the pack, and acceleration and braking are moderate. The safety features may be new to the Sentra, but are not new to the segment. However, like the 2013 Sentra I reviewed several years ago, the Nissan continues to be a great value. With sales of competitive sedans declining, Nissan’s aggressive pricing, large cabin and well bundled options explain its popularity.

Enthusiast shoppers are likely to gravitate toward Honda’s new turbo engines or the high-performance Focus models while Nissan fans live in hope the next refresh will include an SR with wider tires and more power under the hood. That would turn the Sentra from the logical, rational option to more of an emotional choice.

Nissan provided the vehicle at a launch event which included travel and a stay at a swanky hotel in Southern California. 

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131 Comments on “2016 Nissan Sentra Review – Nissan’s Compact Goes Premium...”


  • avatar
    Drzhivago138

    If the Sentra, Altima, and Maxima are all EPA-classified as mid-size, why does the Maxima exist?

  • avatar

    I took a friend shopping for a Versa and Sentra.
    The cars do look better and have grown.

    I still prefer Hyundai though.

  • avatar
    sproc

    For the life of me I can’t understand why manufacturers wouldn’t make every new vehicle they sell 50-state legal, especially for an inexpensive, high-volume model like this. Regardless of your opinion on California emissions, what’s the business case for keeping two different emissions versions in the supply chain? I can’t believe it’s so they can brag about the whopping 6HP difference.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Perhaps they do this and charge extra for the “California emissions”?

      Subaru used to list a $300 cost on their website configuration for PZEV. I’m not sure if this was just abject stealing on their part of if they were dinged X million by the PRK and were simply making all customers pay for it. Either way its pretty sh*tty and not a “feature”.

      • 0 avatar
        sproc

        Makes sense. Also, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if the hardware is all identical and it’s purely different ECU firmware.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          The plugs are probably generic but I doubt all ECUs everywhere are generic, but I’d wager there are probably only a few supplies.

          OBDII has generic and mfg specific ports and codes. Codes which start with P0x are generic, and P1x codes are mfg specific (i.e. traction control, ABS, etc). I don’t know this, but I imagine the emissions related codes and ports are generic.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      A few years ago I dated a girl with a c.2004 California Sentra. Its exhaust manifold had an integrated catalytic converter, which failed with about 70K miles. Because it was in California, the CARB wouldn’t allow her to replaced it with an aftermarket part, which would have been about $700 less than the Nissan part. The local muffler shop informed her that ‘they all do it and we can’t install anything other than a Nissan manifold,’ after the Nissan dealer sent her there rather than deliver the news themselves that she was on the hook for an $1,100 part. Fortunately for her, she is a California public school teacher, and most of her students are illegal immigrants. One of their fathers was able to get her car smogged with a check engine light and visible smoke, because laws are for citizens only in California. Renault-Nissan customers are probably better off without their French efforts at passing California emissions whenever possible.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        @CJinSD, so… you got those “TRUMP 2016” signs up in your yard yet?

        • 0 avatar
          CJinSD

          Trump is the best Democrat running for President this election cycle.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Trump has no actual ideology, unless Narcissistic Personality Disorder counts as one these days.

            I’d say he’s no Democrat, but then again, he has no coherent policy positions besides “Twitter Feuds with News Anchors are kewl,” so who knows what he really thinks? But he’ll sure hand the election to Hillary if he wins the nomination…and I strongly suspect if he doesn’t, he’ll just flip the bird at his “support the nominee” pledge and keep on running, just so he can continue to hear himself talk. This guy’s a pox on the Republican party.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            Malignant narcissism works for Obama and the Clintons. The Republican Party exists to prevent conservatives from influencing national politics. They’re too busy fighting to be taken seriously by ‘their’ party. Perhaps malignant narcissism is as good a term for the political ideology of our age as any.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Ah, the rule of law in the glorious People’s Republic.

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        I’m trying to decide which part of CJ’s story is least credible: that laws are for citizens only in CA, or that he dated someone.

      • 0 avatar
        TOTitan

        The exhaust manifold with integrated converter doesnt have to be a OEM part, it just has to be CARB certified. Recently a friend with a Mazda 6 had the same problem. The Mazda manifold was around $1000. I was able to get a CARB certified aftermarket manifold from Rock Auto for $300. It pays off in spades to shop around. CA is such a huge market that there are CARB certified aftermarket parts available for just about everything.

        I just looked it up at Rock Auto. The CARB certified manifold/precat for a 04 Sentra is available for $225.00. The manufacturer is Eastern Catalytic.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          You’ll have to excuse CJ, TOTitan…anti-government cranks are gonna keep cranking no matter what the facts are.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I’m not saying he’s accurate but I have no doubt such a thing does go on. Whether such and such’s cousin issues stickers when he isn’t supposed to or if stickers are merely stolen I couldn’t tell you as I don’t know the process in CA.

        • 0 avatar
          CJinSD

          This was four or five years ago. I’d never heard of Rock Auto at the time, and my girlfriend believed what she was told by Dual-Tone muffler shop and Mossy Nissan in Pacific Beach. They specifically said that the only acceptable part to CARB was the Nissan OEM manifold. It cost Dual-Tone a sale, so unless they were getting kickbacks from the Nissan dealer, I’m guessing they didn’t know of any CARB certified aftermarket part.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Heck, you could dodge the emissions test in Missouri for YEARS with a timely donation of about $50 to the mechanic.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    So do all the trim levels have the same suspension? How “poverty spec” is the base model? The folks who are hardcore manual enthusiasts want to know.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      There is no “active understeer control” on the base models with the manual. Whatever the [email protected] that is. Other than that, same suspension. Higher trims do have a “sport” mode function. Driving my father’s Sentra, I found the difference to be “slow car” in normal vs “slow car is worse” in sport mode.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        lol well some of us are old enough to remember base midsize sedans that came with 92 hp. Looking at Nissan’s “build your own” it was interesting to see that color choices on a Sentra S are limited but they will let you throw the accessory catalog at it if you want lighted door sills, a spoiler, body colored splash guards, etc.

        The much fanboyed SE-R models made less hp than this Sentra for most of the time that option package existed.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          Well the Altima/Maxima used to be sporty too. The sportiness is completely baked out of the Sentra now. The price is right though. If you are paying more than $150/month for a lease, you’re doing it wrong.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          “The much fanboyed SE-R models made less hp than this Sentra for most of the time that option package existed.”

          Are we talking about the early-’90s models? They made 140 hp, versus 130 for the current model, and weighed probably 600 or 700 pounds less.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Nissan’s updated design language seems to scale better on the Sentra than the larger cars, in my opinion.

    A compelling choice, I say.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      I agree. The refreshed Altima looks dowdy, but Nissan’s styling works here. And the Sentra has the best backseat legroom of any compact car on the market, with perhaps the exception of the new Civic (which I’ve yet to drive).

      • 0 avatar
        tonycd

        It’s interesting to note that in Consumer Reports’ recent survey, “Would you buy it again?”, the Sentra was at the bottom of the compact class. Not just at the bottom — way, WAY at the bottom, something like 8% below the runner-not-up.

        I think the secret of this car’s popularity is dirt simple: In an era when the average American family is nearly broke, its size and superficial bling make it a borderline midsize at a compact price. It’s a value proposition by the cubic foot, period.

        • 0 avatar
          wmba

          Well said. Sums this thing up very well. Would also add that its CR reliability is not stellar either.

          In fact this is the vehicle that tired and exhausted people buy. Possessed of nothing but space and ersatz “luxury”.

        • 0 avatar
          ponchoman49

          Most folks I know that have bought one of these things have done so based mostly on price or lease deal. After a couple of years with one they are usually ready to buy something else.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I agree with you on the styling. But the case gets a lot less compelling when you drive the Sentra.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    Needs more engine.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    I loved my old 5-door Stanza but I don’t trust today’s Nissan. If I were ever seriously tempted by a deal on, say, a Rogue I’d have to depend on CR for a decision.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    “The newly tweaked suspension has firmed up the ride”

    WHY do these OEMs think the average buyer WANTS that?!

    We want cush and muffling!

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      No we want stiffer sport suspensions just as all of the infrastructure really starts to crumble. Wait…

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      It’s not that firm. The suspension when from being made out of generic Colby Jack to generic Cheddar. It’s basially the same cheese with a different name.

    • 0 avatar

      SO there with you. In Europe, where the roads are (mostly) good (I LOVE it when some Brit complains about their bad roads…hah!), I want a car that handles well. It really counts when you’re whipping around a 90 degree curve at 60MPH in narrow lane with a stone wall 6 inches from your mirror.

      In North America? I want an absorptive ride, quiet, and comfort. I’m in Montreal, where the roads are really terrible (due to a unique combination of weather and a mafia-controlled/corrupt construction industry), so this is especially important here.

      I want what Lexus does with their non-F Sport cars…but without all of the ugly.

      • 0 avatar
        RideHeight

        Thanks, EChid. I can’t believe I got *any* agreement on this site.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          Hey now, I love a smooth cushy ride.

          If the opportunity ever presents itself, get a ride in a Russian “Volga.” These things were originally engineered to drive around Important People over non existent infrastructure, and they made the cars with incremental changes but based on the same bones from 1970 until 2009. I got a ride in a friend’s beat up late 90s variant last summer, the rural Siberian village’s dirt road may as well have been made from glass! There’s just a bottomless well of suspension travel on those things.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            This is what I want! I thought Zils were the nomenclatura’s cuddle-buggy. Were Volgas more for the field officers?

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            A Volga Stratus? LAWL

            http://www.cars-directory.net/pics/gaz/volga_siber/2010/gaz_volga_siber_a1327907102b5641938_orig.jpg

            Isn’t the Chaika the biggest car for the heads of state? I know it was meant to look like a 50’s Buick.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          I’d bet that the majority of the commenters here prefer a suspension that leans to the comfort side.

          I guess the big difference is that some of us also want phenomenal cosmic power to go along with it.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            What does “leans toward the comfort side” mean?

            If it means “cuts down on vibration, noise, and impact,” then I’m for it.

            If it means “creates secondary body motion, wallow, and float,” then I’m against it. Such things make me seasick.

            So: yes to the well-damped S550 or LS460 ride, no to the underdamped and nausea-inducing Mercury Grand Marquis one.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            Does it really matter? No one considers an LS460 or Grand Marquis to have a “sporty” or “track-tuned” ride. Beyond that point, it’s like arguing barbeque styles.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            It matters because I don’t like it when manufacturers phone in ride and handling like Ford did with the Panther, GM did with the W-Impala, Nissan did with the Sentra before this one, and Hyundai does with almost every product it makes. I’d rather have a sporty suspension than a “comfort” suspension like that.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            If you could only choose a Grand Marquis suspension or a Nismo 370z suspension, which one would you take?

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Ugh some wank parks his Nismo 370Z in the visitor parking at work every day. It has a ridiculous body kit and a ridiculous wing, and it looks incredibly uncomfortable.

            And if you’re here every day, you’re not a visitor.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Honestly I’d take the Nismo. I dislike wallow over pretty much all else, including impacts.

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        >> @EChid In North America?

        We do have narrow lanes in North America lined with stone walls. Plenty of roads like that near me. Sometimes there are trees, rock walls, and water flush with the edge of the pavement. Parts of New England have European-like roads. In fact, we had a visitor from Germany was shocked that some of our two-way roads weren’t one way due to the narrowness.

        • 0 avatar

          @mcs: The scenario you are describing far-and-away puts you in the minority. The vast majority of our roads are flat, wide, and straight. Old parts of the country, yes, vary on this to some degree, but largely that’s what it is. I wasn’t claiming that NA doesn’t have curvy roads AT ALL, I’m just saying that’s not what we’re typically driving on. I have precisely the same story you do, except in reverse (a Brit being shocked about how wide and straight our roads are).

          Plus, North Americans have a tendency to drive much further. Where Europeans would routinely take the train or an uber-cheap short-haul flight, we often drive (cheap fuel, lack of affordable/accessible options). This translates into more time driving in straight lines at high speeds which is, again, why comfort is what I care about.

          I love sharp handling cars…and I live in a city where sharp handling is fun, and near Vermont where there are many curvy roads. But that city offers plentiful access to public transportation, meaning the only time I drive is when I’m visiting family 3 to 7.5 hours down The Worlds Flattest Highway. That’s when I ask for the land barge from Avis.

      • 0 avatar
        dolorean

        In Europe, love the stiff suspension and well-balanced feel of a BMW 3 series coupe. In America, I’ll retake my MY78 Pontiac Catalina. Nothing like driving your Laz-E-boy couch on cruise control in the SS Floaty Boat on I-70 from KC to Denver.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Some of us prefer cars that don’t handle like a demasted barque in a storm. It is perfectly possible to have a smooth and isolating ride without nausea-inducing float and wallow. The French are VERY good at it.

      • 0 avatar
        RideHeight

        “Some of us prefer cars that don’t handle like a demasted barque in a storm.”

        Then don’t gratuitously provide that storm by driving ordinary cars faster and cornering them harder than necessary to get from A to B.

        Enthusiasts are simply in the minority on this as on many other issues. Catering to their adolescent craving to display physical dominance over people and things is inevitable for a full-line OEM that wants to cover every possible niche.

        But a niche is all it is and it shouldn’t be allowed to pollute mainstream segments like a mid-sized, popularly priced 4-door sedan.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Sounds like the original idea behind the Q45.

  • avatar
    davefromcalgary

    I’ve really liked the exterior design, shape, size, pricing, etc of this latest Sentra (both pre-and post refresh) since they released it. Its got a decent greenhouse, its not a stupid aero-pedestrian friendly wedge.

    All that said, I personally wouldn’t spend my own money on one of these. And I am a huge fan of this segment. But come on, the 130 hp 1.8L is just a no. Why cant we expect something like the 2.0L 160 hp available in the Focus. I’m not looking to win drag races, but I’ve always had the 150hp/150tq (give or take) minimum in my cars, (typically around 3000 lbs, Grand Am, Alero, etc) and in a car with this amount of passenger and trunk space, and the mountains an hour west, I like a car thats got a bit more power than Nissan sees fit to offer here.

    • 0 avatar
      davefromcalgary

      A quick math check indicates the Micra’s horses each have fewer pounds to content with.

      (I like the Micra)

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        Of course you like the Micra, you’re Canadian. I bet you like the Suzuki Swift and Mitsubishi Mirage too.

        • 0 avatar
          davefromcalgary

          Heck no. Only a very few subcompact cars “work” to me in terms of shape, proportion, aesthetics, etc. The Swift and Mirage don’t.

          Aesthetically the 500 is my favorite in this size. Because it doesnt have a traditional trunk or hood, and the lighting elements are projector based and thus scaled down, it works being overly tall due to its shape. I wouldn buy one though, interior design and ergonomics are a mess.

          The Micra is the next best looking postage stamp sized car. And they are priced nice. I think a Micra would make a great city runabout, second or third car.

          The Sonic sedan is awkward but actually a heck of a great small car (very space efficient). But its also ugly!

          But I really cant stand the looks of the Sonic, Spark, Fiesta, Versa, Mirage, Swift, Accent, Veloster, Mazda 2, Yaris, Scian iA, etc. (I know I kind of combined sub-compact and very-sub compact.)

          TL:DR, I dont like small cars by default just because I am Canadian. Its very hard to make a nicely styled small car and few succeed.

          Give me an SX4 JLX 5MT AWD.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            The 500 is actually a microcar, as is the Spark.

            Subcompact sedans are pointless; anything smaller than a compact should be hatchback or nothing.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      It’s not just the lack of horsepower – it’s the lack of torque combined with the CVT.

      • 0 avatar
        davefromcalgary

        Agreed.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          The previous B16 generation Sentra had a larger, long-stroke 2.0L engine that felt happier saddled to a CVT, even the older generation of single speed CVT. I test drove an ex-rental ’11 Sentra 2.0S and new ’14 Versa CVT back to back and found the Sentra to be a vastly more relaxing vehicle to drive. The torque allowed for the CVT to keep the RPMs lower in regular acceleration scenarios, where as the Versa’s 1.6 needed more revs all the time. My guess is that this newer Sentra’s 1.8L strikes the middle ground in terms of output and efficiency, the old 2.0L Sentra was never that much of a miser.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    My project car is a 2014 Cadillac ATS 2.0T.

    I purchased it with 7,000 miles on odometer for $4,200 because it had blown two of its three cylinders and I’m doing a rebuild.

    Anyone know where I can get one of these Sentra’s gauge clusters? It’d make the ATS’s interior WAY MORE UPSCALE.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      It also has literally triple the rear seat legroom, although I don’t know how you’ll transplant that.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      True and sad. The ATS’ gauges can’t be mocked enough.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      I dream of transferring the rear AND front leg/knee room, shoulder room, head room, & trunk space from the Sentra into the ATS. That would be icing on the cake!

      Cadillac XTS Driver’s view:

      http://motoringrumpus.com/wp-content/uploads/2014-Cadillac-XTS-Gauge-Cluster.jpg

      Cadillac CTS V-Sport’s Driver’s view:

      http://gmauthority.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/2015-Cadillac-CTS-Vsport-Sedan-GMA-Garage-14-720×340.jpg

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Here’s a general question, how difficult are motor swaps to do on cars after say 2005? Can something like the ATS even be salvaged later by tuners or mod shops?

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          It should be doable in the ATS. Even more so than other vehicles. It is an Alpha product with a sibling that has the mighty small block of goodness.

          Now, cost….ehhhhhhhhhhhh

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I could see GM doing stupid custom things with the platform to enable the LS to work which they wouldn’t do with the standard I4s which will be available for mods (i.e. subframe enhancements).

    • 0 avatar
      tonycd

      How the hell did you manage to turn this into yet another Caddy rant?

  • avatar
    CoastieLenn

    As an owner of a MY 2014 Sentra SR (wanted a ’15 but even in December of 2014, Nissan hadn’t released 2015’s yet), I can say that I have mixed emotions about it. I LOVE the ride quality in it for normal usage. It soaks up the bumps and road irregularities nearly as well as my wife’s (now departed) 2013 Fusion, and that says a lot. There’s virtually no road noise to speak of, even having the smaller sidewalled 17″ Continental tires and the overall driving experience is fine… aside from one niggling little aspect.

    The CVT in just about all Nissan’s that I’ve driven is absolutely second rate compared to what I’ve experienced in Honda’s and Toyota’s. The CVT in the new Accord is top notch and the Corolla is a little more finicky but still orders of magnitude better than the one found in my Sentra. This is a common source of complaint among the B17 Sentra crowd. Cold morning? Cold engine? Accelerating from a stop will yield the car revving up past 3,000 rpm’s to accomplish the same rate of speed increase that will only yield 1,100 rpm’s when warmed. It frequently feels jerky when gradually slowing to a stoplight.

    The only other complaint with mine at 22,000 miles is that with the A/C on, there is an ever present rattle in the engine bay that sounds like my old 120k mile Mazda 6 with a collapsed engine mount. Apparently, there is no cure Nissan can do for this. They offer an upper engine torque mount that really helps the guys with the 2013’s that have this issue but apparently they’re not permitted to install it on 2014 MY cars.

    Oh, and a completely subjective yet significant topic- the combined fuel economy is the pits. I’m a very conservative driver and use light throttle application. For some reason, I manage 33.6mpg combined with mostly highway driving. This number places me in the upper eschelon of the B17 Sentra owners facebook group. There are guys on there that struggle to hit 30. To me, that’s unacceptable in such a slow car with economy in mind.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Didn’t you mention to me once you wrenched Volvos in another life?

      • 0 avatar
        CoastieLenn

        I did. I was a service advisor at a Volvo dealer in Virginia for nearly 8 years. I’ve owned and wrenched on quite a few Volvo’s.

        My own:
        1998 S70 GLT-SE- Paid only $45.00. 221k miles and broke timing belt. Rebuilt head and upped the boost!
        1996 854 GLT- got it for a song and loved it for a short time and sold for significant profit.
        1985 764 Turbo- 337k miles and purchased for $450 from original owner. Sold for significant profit with 35x,000 miles.

        They hold a special place in my heart and I’m waiting for a cherry 855R to show itself for sale.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I have a general question. I have a final year 244 which had been serviced by my indy for some years before my purchase, but no matter what I do it consistently gets 14mg. City or highway, regular or premium, overdrive on or off, its 14mpg on the nose. I have had the old Volvo shamans look over it who inform me nothing is wrong and its running as designed. I was also later told “they always got bad mileage for a four banger” but I have no previous experience with these to confirm or deny. I suspect the car is running rich somehow but I have no way of knowing. Do you have any thoughts or wisdom on this subject?

          Additional: Since my ownership we have changed out the crank pos sensor, the O2 sensor, spark plugs/wires, battery several times, and the fuel filter.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            The “Days of Thunder” driving style might be the culprit. That Volvo mill is just so intoxicating…

          • 0 avatar
            CoastieLenn

            I do remember them being bad, but not that bad. I never calculated the fuel economy on my 764 but I’d say either clean/replace your MAF sensor.

            How many miles do you have on your beast?

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @CoastieLenn

            The odo decided to retire around 155, but it did work as recently as 2011 prior to my purchase so its not too far off in terms of actual mileage (I might drive it 500-1000 miles a year). I’m not sure what the state of the MAF sensor is but I will look into it and replace as need be. RWD Volvo parts are quite cheap I have found out.

            @freedmike

            Hehe, this thing isn’t quick in the least. If I had to describe it in one word, the word would be “hilarious”.

          • 0 avatar
            CoastieLenn

            There are few Volvo’s on the road of the pre-1998 vintage that actually have functional or accurate odometers. Seriously. Without exaggeration, I’d estimate an 85-90% failure rate.

            Also, check your MAF sensor brand. It could be either Bosch, Renix (I think that’s what it is called) or CI (Chrysler). If its a CI unit, it’s got different injectors and fuel injection pump than the other two. Total crap and the injectors leak and the pump gets out of time. If that’s the case, I’d recommend driving it till it dies.

            Another source… check the adjustment on your transmissions kick-down cable. Trans could be holding shifts too long. Combine that with a nearly total lack of horsepower and economy goes to hell quickly.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            I got 14mpg in my Diplomat so you should swap out for a Gran Fury.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @CoastieLenn

            Seriously, thank you. This is an MY93 with what I thought was Bosch LH 2.4 FI but then I see on IPD 3.1 was also available in ’93. Its nice today if I get home on time I will check under her hood. I will have to look into the tranny kick down cable, I’m not knowledgeable on it.

            http://www.ipdusa.com/techtips/10087/how-can-i-tell-which-version-of-bosch-lh-fuel-injection-is-on-my-volvo-240

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            @28:

            I owned a naturally aspirated 740 wagon with an automatic, so I feel your pain. A kid on a bike could have outrun that rig with a stiff tailwind. And it never got particularly good mileage. Awesome on the road, tho…and those seats were magic.

            I once schemed to do one of those Ford V8 engine swaps on it, but the car went to my ex in the divorce and she ended up giving it away.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @FreedMike

            Thanks for the info, heck I’d be happy with 17-18 I just think its running rich. I like the car for what I do with it but even back in the day I can’t see myself DDing it. I’d like to try the V8 swap myself one of these days but its a total exercise in burning a pile of money at this point.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          This weekend I saw something quite rare.

          V70 R AWD! That’s how a Volvo wagon should look.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    A 182 inch compact? This is basically the 1995 Altima I used to own, but the Altima had a 2.4 (150/150) and 4-speed auto. The Sentra Weighs about the same, gets much better fuel mileage, has the same interior dimensions, and is slower.

    The EPA may classify it as mid-size like the current Altima, but the current altima is nearly a foot longer and a few inches wider than this Sentra, and the Maxima is a couple inches longer than the current Altima.

    It looks like Nissan made the old Altima a Sentra, and the old Maxima an Altima, but didn’t upgrade the current Maxima, since Nissan didn’t have a larger model than the old Maxima.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    My impression of this car isn’t that it’s bad per se – just boring. Far better choices exist in this segment.

    Also, I suspect those back seat legroom figures are skewed by the front seat travel – I’m 5’9″, and had to put the seat back all the way to get somewhat comfortable. You can put the seat back a lot further in many of the Sentra’s competitors.

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    Define “firm up the ride”. I’ve spent a lot of time in both Sentras and Altimas and the suspensions and steering get unnervingly mushy above about 60 mph. I understand Nissan not wanting to compromise the ride quality, but it would be nice if they figured out how to tame some of that body motion at highway speeds.

    • 0 avatar
      RideHeight

      “the suspensions and steering get unnervingly mushy above about 60 mph.”

      Well, who the hell goes that fast? Love how it stays rock hard down the speedo where I live.

      • 0 avatar
        tjh8402

        @Rideheight – the highways I drive on have 65-70 mph speed limits. On one in particular, if you’re doing any less than 75 mph, you’re usually getting run over. My boyfriend has an Altima and I genuinely dislike and avoid driving his car anywhere other than around town because of how unsettled it feels. My experience with rental Sentras and Altimas says this is the norm for recent Nissan suspension tuning. I haven’t had a rental in about a year, though, and his Altima is a 2014, so I can’t comment on how and if things have improved.

        • 0 avatar
          RideHeight

          Well, yeah, I was mostly kidding about 60. But the circumstances where 75+ is necessary for survival generally don’t include a lot of hairpin turns or esses.

          • 0 avatar
            tjh8402

            @RideHeight – not talkign about that. I mean just handling curving highways, uneven pavement, and any undulations. It’s not floaty like my Mom’s old town car was. That wafted along but generally went where you pointed it and the body motions were gentle. The Sentra and Altima seem to just bobble and wobble around at high speed and the steering requires constant corrections.

  • avatar
    John

    Continously variable transmissions with ersatz slushbox shifts are perhaps the epitome of automotive lunacy today. “Woot! Woot! Check out my new Sentra – shifts just like it has a REAL AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION!”

    • 0 avatar
      Chan

      Yeah, no idea why anyone would bother making a CVT, only to have it programmed to imitate gears.

      The point is to have the optimal ratio at any given time, hence the lack of gears.

      • 0 avatar
        RideHeight

        So this!

        Why introduce and perfect a major drivetrain improvement only to make it mimic its inferior predecessor?

        It’s as if Edison felt it necessary to make his light bulbs dim and flutter for people still accustomed to candle light.

  • avatar
    carguy

    While the Sentra makes a compelling value case by its size, features and economy, the reliability factor is not as clear cut. Nissan simply cannot match Toyota and Honda for reliability which make the Corolla and Civic a much safer choice in this segment.

  • avatar
    plee

    I drive lots of these at an auction, 2012 through 2015 primarily. They seem to lose whatever luster they have when they have a few miles on them. Noisy, rough engines, strange whines and clicks in the CVT, poor trim durability. No thanks. The Versa is even worse.

  • avatar
    Joss

    A base Golf is still the better car. Sentra beats on price. If you want adaptive cruise & blind spot monitoring on Golf you spend thousands more for the Highline. It rings in cheaper on Sentra.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    This car creates an illuminating comparison to my 1987 Vulcan-powered Taurus.

    Overall length: Taurus 5″ longer
    Combined interior legroom: Identical
    Trunk space: Slight (but only slight) advantage to the Taurus
    Acceleration: Identical
    Fuel economy: Taurus ~21 mpg combined, Sentra ~35 combined
    Refinement: Sentra in a walk, in every respect
    Safety: Sentra has modern crash structure and airbags. Taurus… no.
    Toys: The Taurus had crank windows and no tachometer… about describes it
    Curb weight: ~400-pound advantage in favor of the Sentra
    Inflation-adjusted price: Taurus GL ~$25,000, Sentra SV ~$19,000

    Summary: I don’t want to hear any more garbage about how much worse cars today are.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      @dal20402

      We can’t have you talking sense around here – what are you thinking man!

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      Your Vulcan powered Taurus could only manage 21 combined with 9.3 second 0-60 times!
      My 1989 Cutlass Ciera with the 3300 V6 managed 24-25 combined with well over 30 on the highway and was a low 8 second 0-60 car. It also had a complete set of gauges with tach, oil pressure, battery and all the other stuff compared to today’s fuel gauge, tach and temp only video game dashes. It also had power windows, locks, seat and recliners the latter two which are not offered on most compacts today unless you find a high end costlier example. That Ciera also trounced the living crap out of any compact or mid size sedan today for Winter driving with it’s P195/70R14 tires compared to the silly 17 and 18″ crap today which basically turn these cars into ice skates.

      Summary: Comparing a 1987 anything to today is going to find ups and down on both ends of the scale.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Rose-tinted glasses…

        Your Ciera was still 10 mpg below the Sentra, has tires only 10 mm narrower, had the interior build quality of a Trabant, and would have hit 60 in the low 8s only if dropped off a cliff. (High 8s, maybe.)

        In exchange, you got… oil pressure and voltage gauges. (The Sentra has a 6-way power driver’s seat in mid- to high-end trims.)

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          Rose-tinted indeed. The Cutlass Ciera is an odd car to be bragging about. We had both a 1991 Cutlass Ciera and a 1991 Camry V6 in our driveway in the mid-90s and that pretty well demonstrated why Toyota took off and the Cutlass Ciera nameplate soon ceased to exist.

  • avatar
    JuniperBug

    I’m a bit perplexed about the tire size being deemed “resolutely narrow” at 205. How wide do you need your soulless, glacially-accelerating econobox’s tires to be?

    A heavier, more powerful base Golf is getting by just fine on 195s, and there ain’t nobody complaining about the new Miata’s handling on its 205s.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    The 2016 Jetta with the new 1.4T has been getting some great reviews from Consumer Reports and the NY Times. Definitely a cut above the Sentra. Consumer Reports even ranks the Dart above the Sentra, 9 speed herky-jerky auto not withstanding.

  • avatar
    badhobz

    My dad has a 2013 Sentra in SR trim. I have a few complaints after driving it for a little while.

    1) CVT. It sucks. Its noisy, lurchy, and overly aggressive in 0-30 acceleration but useless at 50-80. Plus when it goes up a hill there is a smell of burnt clutch/transmission. I think the unit is going to fail soon and that brings me to the second point

    2) reliability. its questionable. especially with this CVT tranny. We had a 2001 sentra before and it was good until he replaced it in 2013. It had about 150k on it before he traded it in and it still went through a couple of non maintenance items such as o2 sensors/catalytic converter x2/ECU failed due to moisture (covered under warranty). From what ive read on the b15 sentra form the headgaskets were also a common issue on the 2001’s. Thus i cant imagine his 2013 is much better. Luckly he leased it and therefore we’ll be dumping this thing shortly in 2016.

    3) The front seat bottoms are incredibly short. I have no thigh support at all. There isnt even an option to add a bolster to it so your SOL. People with long legs, watch out for this one.

  • avatar
    chiefmonkey

    Just noticed a similarity between this grille and the one Nissan had on the Sentra from 04-06. I’m not its biggest fan, but it’s far more attractive than anything Honda is offering right now.


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