The Nissan Sentra is powered by one of two advanced 4-cylinder engines. Most trims use a 1.8L 4-cylinder engine making 130 horsepower, while a 1.6L turbocharged four powers the SR Turbo and SR NISMO (Nissan Motorsport) models. Standard on the Sentra S is a 6-speed manual transmission, while all other trims feature a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT). The manual is optional on turbocharged trims. Overall, the Sentra is extremely good on fuel, with ratings of at least 30 mpg in combined city and highway driving even on manual transmission-equipped cars.
The 2017 Sentra is divided into eight different trim levels, starting with the base S model. Though obviously fairly basic, the S does include several nice features and amenities. Standard items include Bluetooth connectivity, remote entry and trunk release, power door locks, mirrors and windows, cruise control, automatic headlights, speed sensitive volume control for the stereo and an auxiliary input jack.
The next step up in the Sentra range is the SV, which includes more upscale features. The SV comes with NissanConnect with Mobile Apps, a 5-inch color display, audio streaming via Bluetooth, premium cloth seats and door trim and a smart key with push-button start.
The Sentra SR looks significantly sharper than lesser Sentra models, thanks primarily to the 17-inch alloy wheels and LED headlights. It also gets a rear spoiler and heated front seats. A new SR Midnight Edition is one of six models throughout the Nissan lineup that have been given a similar treatment. This includes unique paint, special black 17-inch alloy wheels with low-profile tires, black mirror caps and a black spoiler, and more. The SR Turbo is equipped like the 1.8L SR, but its 1.6L turbocharged engine scoots it along at a faster clip. Big vented front disc brakes provide stopping power, and a power moonroof lets in the light. A Midnight Edition is available on the SR Turbo as well.
The Sentra SL includes everything that comes on the SV, plus leather seating, dual-zone climate control, and fog lights. Starting at $21,500, the Sentra SL makes for a compelling alternative to smaller, premium cars such as base model MINI Coopers. Even at its highest price point, the Sentra still offers a decent value.
Finally, the top-of-the-line Sentra NISMO features tuned suspension and steering systems, 18-inch alloy wheels, an aerodynamics kit, and a special NISMO interior with red trim.
Several safety features are available on the Sentra. A blind spot warning system helps when changing lanes, while a rear cross traffic alert system makes backing out of parking spots less of a shot in the dark. Other technology driven safety features available on the Sentra include a forward emergency braking system and intelligent cruise control. Both systems use radar mounted at the front of the car to help avoid accidents.
High-end Styling, Technology-laden Interior, Sporty Demeanor, Reasonable Pricing, Roomy Interior
Turbocharged Performance Trims
The Nissan Sentra receives some important updates for 2017. Among them is the addition of the new Sentra SR Turbo and Sentra NISMO trims. They are powered by a 1.6L turbocharged 4-cylinder making 188 horsepower and mated to either a 6-speed manual or Xtronic continuously variable transmission. Elsewhere, all Sentras now feature thicker window glass for improved interior noise reduction and a larger front center console. A new Midnight Edition is offered on SR and SR Turbo models.
The compact Nissan Sentra competes with heavy hitters such as the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, VW Golf and Ford Focus. With so much competition in the segment, the Sentra stands out with its maturity and upscale feel. As is increasingly becoming a trend these days, the Sentra can be optioned up to near luxury-car levels of technology and features, but with a base price of under $17,000, it still manages to be affordable enough for most buyers.