2016 sees Nissan’s compact Sentra returning to dealerships sporting a brand new look and a host of other changes to help it compete against a new raft of new small cars from rival brands.
Inspired by the Altima and Maxima, both of which have been revised for 2016, the Sentra receives new headlamps – with LED beams on the two top-level trims – the brand’s signature V-motion grille, plus a new hood and front bumper. Around back, the rear bumper and taillights have been revised. The SR and SL trims also receive new 17-inch alloy wheels, with designs similar to the Altima and Maxima.
While the Sentra’s interior design remains conservative with a simple, well-organized layout, the cabin is spacious and nicely finished with soft-touch plastics, metal-look trim and available wood accents. This year’s update brings changes to the trim on the centre stack, door panels, and automatic shift knob, though the most obvious alteration is a new steering wheel design shared with the sporty Nissan 370Z. All trims receive a revised instrument cluster with a 5.0-inch TFT display screen; SV, SR, and SL trims get a higher-resolution screen, plus Siri Eyes-Free compatibility. The range-topping SL also gets a new power driver’s seat.
One area of the Sentra that has changed little is the engine. The 1.8-litre 16-valve four-cylinder is carried over and produces 130 hp and 128 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard on the S and SV trims, with a CVT as standard equipment on the SR and SL. It is optional on the S and SV. As with other Nissans, the Sentra's CVT now has D-Step Logic, which mimics a traditional automatic's gear changes upon hard acceleration.
While the Sentra’s engine isn’t as powerful as rivals and lacks direct injection or a turbo, it delivers solid fuel economy figures. Manual cars are rated at 8.9 L/100 km city, 6.6 L/100 km highway. The CVT is even more frugal, with a city rating of 8.0 L/100 km, and 6.1 L/100 km on the highway.
Revisions to the steering and suspension – including spring and damper rates that are 10 percent higher – plus more sound insulation bring refinement to the Sentra’s road manners. While all trims receive cruise control as standard, the range-topping SL trim gets standard radar cruise control, forward collision warning, and emergency autonomous braking. So equipped, the Sentra earns an IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus award. A reverse camera is standard on SV, SR, and SL trims, while blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert is optional on SR and SV.
Value has long been a Sentra strength, and despite the updates, Nissan’s compact remains competitively priced. With a base price of $15,898 – including Bluetooth, air conditioning, and remote keyless entry – the Sentra undercuts pretty much all its key rivals on price, including the new Hyundai Elantra, Kia Forte, Chevy Cruze, and Honda Civic. The fully loaded SL, complete with navigation and active safety gear sells for $25,998.
This vehicle has not yet been reviewed