By on September 10, 2016

2017 Nissan Sentra Turbo

Nissan is filling in all the unfilled niches today.

The automaker unveiled a turbocharged variant of the sensible and unexciting Sentra today at the Miami International Auto Show, promising a performance version of a sedan known mostly for its value and grocery capacity.

In doing so, Nissan implies that a hotter NISMO version is around the corner, while closing the casket lid on the IDx concept once and for all.

The 2017 Sentra SR Turbo ditches the vanilla sedan’s 1.8-liter in favor of a turbocharged, direct-injection 1.6-liter four-cylinder borrowed from the Juke subcompact crossover. Making 188 horsepower and 177 pounds-feet of torque, the mill boosts the Sentra’s power by 50 percent. Transmission choices are a six-speed manual or a CVT with manual shift mode.

Also part of the package are 17-inch wheels, ventilated front brake discs, larger brake calipers, stiffer front springs, and increased damping front and rear.

Nissan’s newly muscular Sentra arrives just in time to compete with the looming Honda Civic Si and Hyundai Elantra Sport. Pricing hasn’t been announced.

There’s plenty of evidence that Nissan has an even hotter NISMO version in the works. Besides the Sentra NISMO Concept (unveiled at the 2013 L.A. Auto Show as a “performance study”), Car & Driver has snapped photos of a disguised Sentra sporting an aggressive front spoiler — something you won’t find on the SR Turbo.

Anyone holding out hope that Nissan’s rear-wheel-drive IDx concept would one day make it to production can consider their dreams completely and utterly dead. Last year, Nissan’s Pierre Loing, North American vice president of product planning, told TTAC that it wasn’t economically feasible for the automaker to build a new RWD niche product. He added that certain elements could find their way into an actual production model — perhaps a front-wheel-drive compact.

Well, you’re looking at it. The 2017 Sentra SR Turbo is the IDx you don’t want.

[Image: Nissan USA]

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59 Comments on “2017 Nissan Sentra SR Turbo Dashes IDx Dreams...”

  • avatar

    Hopefully they’ll offer it with a manual instead of that garbage cvt that’s in all their products. My dad’s 2013 sentra Sr has been in the shops twice already for leakages in the cvt.

  • avatar

    I hope the gearing and lag is better than it was in the Juke we had. It was only enjoyable in “Sport” mode but I had to select that every time the car was started.

  • avatar

    A welcone addition to the Sentra line. Nissan NA knows it has to compete with the excellent Civic turbo.

    The only advantage with the Juke would be the torque vectoring awd. Otherwise Juke’s ugly and cramped.

    I enjoyed my 2011 Sentra SER’s paddle shifters. Not the best SER they’ve done but the car was faultless over the 5 year lease.

    • 0 avatar

      @yamahog (can’t reply directly)
      “It’s a shame – some older Nissans are cool and I like them in the same way I like Kawasaki motorcycles – they tend to have very powerful engines.”

      I don’t think it was so much the powerful engines (although they didn’t have a fear of displacement) as a willingness to put their good engine (3.0-3.7 V-6, whatever the current incarnation) in just about anything in the lineup (ok, not the Sentra or smaller). It seemed to be a fixture of Ward’s top engines. And the other ones seemed to be a checkbox option of a specific model or included with the “unbelieveably expensive edition” of a specific model. The Nissan was “we’ll put it in anything bigger than the Sentra (in various states of near-full tune)”.

      This isn’t completely gone. See the “ace of base” article on the 370z where the base model gets the “good engine”.

  • avatar

    My coworker has had a strut fail (15k miles) and a wheel bearing go out (21k miles) on his bought-new ’14 Sentra. Not exactly confidence inspiring.

    I’m happy to see another affordable(ish) turbo+manual offering in this space but if they’re going to be charging more than a normal SR already goes for ($21k IIRC), how can this thing stand on its own merits against something like a Civic Si?

    Another basically direct competitor is the Jetta Sport with a 5spd and 1.8T. Just a guess, but I think the Jetta will drive much nicer.

    • 0 avatar

      Imo Nissans quality control declined around 2004, when Altimas had issues with major floor rust (enough to Flintstone them).

      Used to be Nissan would shot to beat Hinda with power. But with the Sentra? Civic anyday for me.

      • 0 avatar

        Oh hell it started a long time before that. All Nissans through the mid-90s and well into the mid 2000s like you state have horrid paint/galvanization/rustproofing, they just somehow escaped the ire of the public and the B&B. The cost cutting started in time for the 4th gen Maxima (’95-99) and accelerated with my generation (00-03). Very apparent in the interior, but the switch from IRS to a beam rear axle is a good example as well. It’s funny how the lowly B13 Sentra (Tsuru) had an IRS rear end and really nice interior in terms of materials, and the top-line Maxima had regressed to below that in less than a decade.

        • 0 avatar

          That is weird, so the Sentra was briefly more luxurious than its neiboring Maxi?

          Never did understand how Nissans dodged tbe ire of the B&B or public, since their quality issues are quite apparent just observing some of the older models.

          I was actually shopping 4th-5th gen Maxis for a bit, could never find a nice one. Looks like it was for the best I dodged them. I’ve seen a few with serious rust issues.

          Imo the 4DSC was the last Nissan with a sense if quality put into it, even then the autos were a bit weak.

          • 0 avatar

            No not at all at the same time. 91-94 Sentra had IRS and some very nice furnishings for the era (along with sequential fuel injection in a 16 valve 1.6L DOHC motor and electronically controlled 4spd automatic that gave low-highway RPM cruising). For 95 the new B14 Sentra switched to a beam rear axle. Likewise the Maxima went from IRS on the final ’94s to a beam in ’95.

        • 0 avatar

          nail. on. the. friggin.head.

          My dad had 3 sentra’s and a pathfinder since the late 80’s. The most reliable was the 2001 pathfinder and that b13 sentra. It all started to go downhill afterwards.

          Their reliability just isnt on par with other japanese makers anymore. The CVT is a joke, their head gaskets on he sentra (b15+) were notorious and im not sure what the hell is wrong with their front suspension design, but the b15 sentras ate rotors like bonbons.

          Toyota and to an extend Honda are the only remaining “quality” players left in the japanese car game.

          • 0 avatar

            “Their reliability just isnt on par with other japanese makers anymore”

            It seems like Nissans get pretty reliable by the end of the production run, but mostly on cars that are around for 10+ years (e.g infiniti G35)

            Outside of Toyota and Honda, I’m not sure the Japanese automakers really have a serious quality advantage. And yes, I’m including Subaru.

            I mean, Ford’s really been stepping it up. There are too many Escape hybrids with 10+ years of taxi duty and mostly stock parts to say that Ford can’t make an unreliable car. Yeah, they have some issues with new technology / designs but the only company that seems to be able to launch new technology without issues is Toyota (who usually releases major technology last – they’re just now starting to use direct injection).

            It’s a shame – some older Nissans are cool and I like them in the same way I like Kawasaki motorcycles – they tend to have very powerful engines.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            I don’t know if what you are stating is correct. Nissan reliability is on par with many Japanese vehicles.


            I think the most unreliable or problem prone Nissan in Australia is the Navara (Frontier) and yet in the US they state they are reliable.

            Nissan Patrols are almost bullet proof. I havent’ heard of too many issues with the Pathfinder or Xtrail.

            We have the Duallis, which is the Qashi or something. The Xtrail is based on this platform.

            No. I do believe Nissan are okay. Even the Maxima and Pulsar here are very good.

            Are the problems related to US manufacturered Nissans?

          • 0 avatar

            yamahaog, I think Ford quality peaked right around that 2010ish threshold, pre-Ecoboost, pre MFT, pre-DCT automatics. It’s been a downward dip after that. A 2010 Focus with either the 4spd auto or manual is in all likely hood a very solid long-term (10+ year) ownership proposition.

            The gen 1-1.5 escapes have some pretty janky suspension (spindly plastic swaybar links come to mind), and I have some doubts about Ford’s implementation of the 6F35 transmission that they co-developed with GM. Not CD4E bad, but not Toyota Aisin good either.

          • 0 avatar

            ” but the only company that seems to be able to launch new technology without issues is Toyota (who usually releases major technology last – they’re just now starting to use direct injection).”

            They’ve been using direct injection for over a decade.

    • 0 avatar

      My ’93 Sentra ate alternators, water pumps and clutches in a highly Germanic manner. It was the little ways in which it really sucked, too, like having the radiator fans fail over and over…

      I switched to Audis after that car because they were more reliable.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      Where are the US Sentra’s (Pulsar) manufactured?

    • 0 avatar


      If the SR indeed uses the Juke’s turbo engine, (MR16DDT?), a strut and wheel bearing will be the least of your concerns. This engine is known to eat its timing chain; I believe Nissan has gone through several revisions without resolve. I also believe this engine is found in the Clio.

      I would rather R&R the chain and cam/crank sprockets every 60k miles than own an EA888 massive POS. IMO.

      The only small displacement turbo engines I would consider right now are Ford & Hyundai’s 1.6s.

    • 0 avatar

      I once had a used and abused ’87 Nissan Stanza hand me down as my daily driver. It was a great car up until about 210k miles when it needed a new fuel pump. The seats were great in that car and it was really screwed together well.

      When it came time to buy my first sedan, I went to the dealership to buy a used low-mileage ’97 Nissan Altima with a 5-speed. I bought it… but quickly began to notice that the car was not as well assembled as the ’87 Stanza. It had a weird “sprong” noise that came randomly from under the dash. The seats were flimsy and didn’t have the range of adjustment as the Stanza. Material quality overall was lower as was the stereo. The KA24DE was a stronger engine though.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “The 2017 Sentra SR Turbo is the IDx you don’t want.”

    I suppose that’s true. I would have seriously considered an IDx, but it was already looking like a no-show.

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah, Nissan could’ve really went out of the box, there, and it would’ve been fine as an underpinning a Juke replacement, a shame.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        Would you want a Focus over a Sentra?

        My mother has a Michigan built Focus and to me it’s quality is quite abysmal.

        We don’t have a Focus built as poorly here. I’d a Pulsar (Sentra) or Corolla over a Focus any day of the week.

        • 0 avatar

          Each plant that builds the Focus worldwide is identical per Mulally’s One Ford plan. Man, I feel sorry for your rampant hatred of America, the one thing we can both agree on is that both of us wish you were born in Australia instead of New Jersey.

  • avatar

    I kinda expected them to wimp out on the Idx, but I didnt expect a “sporty” Sentra. Im surprised they didnt cynically revive the SE-R badge.

    • 0 avatar

      How would this be any worse than anything else that wore the SE-R badge? (Hypothetically, given that none of us has driven this concept.)

      I’d be OK with this being called the SE-R and model above it the SE-R Nismo.

      • 0 avatar

        Compared to the original SE-R, instead of being a modestly styled sporty economy car, its an ugly (and from what others tell me) low quality economy car.

        Though its still nowhere near as cynical as say… the Chevy HHR Ss, or Aston Martin Cygnet.

  • avatar

    Turbo, 6 speed, hot little sedan?

    You’ve got my attention, Son. Now say something interesting.

  • avatar

    This is the automotive equivalent of seeing your granny in go-go boots a halter top and booty shorts.

    I had a rental Sentra after my Jetta was totalled. One of the least pleasant driving experiences I’ve had for a long time. Every stop felt like a panic stop, with the lurching and nosediving. Throttle programming brought on a lot of sound and fury in the the first 1/2 inch of pedal travel, but everything after was anemic wheezing accompanied by the drone of the CVT.

    • 0 avatar

      Did you tell the rental counter your Jetta was totaled? They’ll hand you their shxxbox if you do – that’s procedure.

    • 0 avatar

      What he said. The thrilling combination of no real power, transmitted through a rubber band, is not to be believed.

      I thought my “SV” model handled OK for what it was. After checking it was a 17k new car, and would probably survive 6-10 years of the probable hard use it would get….but I’m still not sure about the rubber band

  • avatar

    Bring the Megane RS (with or without Nissan badge). That will be a proud successor for the SE-R

  • avatar

    A planted rocket at enocobox price a la dying midsize sedan? Hell yes.

  • avatar

    the prospect of buying and driving a nissan should be enough motivation to get your finances in order. sadly, empirical evidence shows this is not sufficient. nissan, at least we’re not mitsubishi.

    • 0 avatar

      Why you wanna mau-mau us average schlubs who just want whatever New Car they’re willing to let us finance?

      Will a Nissan *not* reliably get me to my gig at Cost Cutters, Home Depot or the VA hospital every day?

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I like this. Good on Nissan.

    A “flagship” Sentra should be made available with a turbo 2 litre and the AWD system from the Rogue.

    Now, that would be even nicer.

    What is refreshing about the Sentra is the more conservative look of the vehicle.

    I think to many vehicles nowadays concentrate on how animated and overstated they are in aesthetics.

    I had a Nismo enhance Pulsar I bought in 2001. There wasn’t much to it, other than being lowered by a little, different (sporty) suspension tune and the 1.8 litre four found a few more kilowatts. It was shod with 40 Series tyres.

    It actually was a fantastic driving vehicle …………… for a FWD.

    • 0 avatar

      What’s refreshing about a poorly-proportioned car that has too high of a waistline because Nissan cheaped out on their C-segment platform and designed it for the Rogue instead of the Sentra while everyone else does the reverse?

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    Talk about peeing on the grave of the IDx.

    Forget the Civic Si, unless Nissan’s made this a far better basic car than the current commuter special it won’t hold up to even the Civic 1.5T. The Si is another rung above.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    Consumers Reports actually rate the Dart better than the Sentra. A Dart GT with the 2.4 Multiair and a 6-speed could be a better value and more fun to drive.

    • 0 avatar

      *Which side* of Consumer Reports? They have the “road test” side, which is where they try to be a car mag, and the “ratings” side where they trot out the red and black dots, and decide whether a car is “recommended.”

      The two sides are frequently in disagreement. E.g. the Model S. The road test side loved it, the ratings side doesn’t. So you have the mixed message of “The Tesla Model S is so awesome it broke our ratings scale! But don’t buy it because it’s an unreliable piece of junk.”

    • 0 avatar

      Choosing between the Dart and Sentra is like choosing between being injected with AIDS and being kneecapped Mafia-style with a baseball bat. I’ll take the kneecapping (Sentra).

  • avatar

    Did anyone really believe Nissan would build the iDX? Come on, it would have been a one-off project with a niche market. Automakers don’t play that game these days. So when does that new join venture BMW Z5 / Toyota Supra come out again?

    As for Nissan’s reliability I’ll just add my experience: My 2003 350Z Touring takes some serious abuse on the track and still handles DD duty. Biggest issue was 3rd gear disappeared which is known problem with the original 6 speed CD001 unit. Nissan only fitted single instead of double syncros which was seriously stupid on a performance car where people are going to bang thru the gears hard. This was corrected 2 years later with CD009 unit. So a junkyard Infiniti G35 6 speed has been swapped into mine, but it still grinds 3rd gear when cold. I’ve burned out the front wheel bearings which is a common problem on tracked cars due to the stress of pushing it thru multiple high speed corners on sticky tires. Earlier model cars also have some front end alignment issues, however a TSB came out and if you use the new specs it doesn’t chew thru tires too badly. The hatch struts for the lift back are another weak part, but the aftermarket provides a replacement solution that requires no tools and 10 minutes to fix. The car currently has a randomly occurring misfire that I can’t figure out. It comes and goes, often running perfectly for weeks then sputters for 20 minutes with the CEL flashing only to recover the next time I crank it up. I think an injector dying. Zero rust, but the car has spent its whole life in snow-free FL. So despite seeing track time its been one of the most reliable cars I’ve owned included several Hondas. Its the first and only Nissan in my garage but based on its performance I’d buy another for sure. Can’t say the same about VW or Volvo.

    • 0 avatar

      Ive had good luck with Nissan products too. I owned 1995 and 2003 Q45’s that both went past 200K without any major issues. I ordered a 4×2 Nissan Titan SE in 2004 with king cab, bed pkg, towing pkg, and off road pkg. Other than having both exhaust manifolds replaced under warranty, it has been a great, reliable truck. I did upgrade the front brakes to the 14″ units when they came out in 08, and I added airbags to the rear suspension for heavy loads.

  • avatar
    Steve Biro

    I applaud Nissan’s efforts to do something with the Sentra… with a hearty shout out for adding the six-speed manual. I imagine this car will probably be reasonably pleasant and fun to live with on a daily basis.

    But why does every one of their vehicles have to be ugly? Some are ugly in a Buck Rogers art deco spaceship kind of way (Maxima) . And don’t get me started on their trucks and SUVs. The Sentra is ugly in a frumpy grandma commuter kind of way.

    It reminds me of the Buick Verano, with its Regal-esque styling shrunk down over a compact unibody. The proportions are all wrong and the end result is neither pleasing nor memorable. And we all know what’s happening to the Verano. None of this can be helping matters for the fading four-door sedan market.

  • avatar

    I don’t understand why there’s appeal for this car. What is the market? People who are 100% sure they’re going to purchase a Nissan Sentra, and then choose the “sporty” model?

    None of this makes any sense.

  • avatar

    It makes lots of sense if

    for its price, its the quickest car money can buy 0-60, of all new cars on the market
    for its price, its has the longest rear legroom, of all new cars on the market

    recently took an Uber ride in a Pulsar sendan (Sentra) the kids in the back were very impressed at the legroom
    I more noted that the Uber spec Pulsar’s internal trim seemed to be optimized for booze bus service.

    Its an honest 1970s/1980s/1990s turbo Datsun.
    best in price for its class, but not best in class for its price

  • avatar

    From the Nissan Smyrna plant website:

    In 2015, Nissan marked a number of key U.S. milestones, including all-time records for total sales (1,484,918) and production (962,373). Localization remains an important part of Nissan’s strategy in North America, and the company has increased production of its core models in North America: Altima, Pathfinder, Sentra, Rogue, Versa, LEAF, Murano, Maxima and the next-generation TITAN.

  • avatar

    Wait, does this mean that normal Sentras have NON-ventilated brakes?

    The last time I saw non-vented front disks was on a super baseline mk3 golf td…

  • avatar

    From personal experience, I’ve owned two Frontier/Datsun trucks and sold them for a good price. 220K on the first, and 250K on the second. Never had a big failure, just normal stuff. In ’06 I bought a new Dakota, saved a big $4K on various rebates. Which about covered the $4K I spent on a remanufactured trans. I have 205K on that Dodge now, looking at a new Frontier or Tacoma.

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