In 2013, Nissan was among the first carmakers to take a compact sedan into near-mid-size territory with a redesigned Sentra that boasted a huge back seat. That was a major selling point for a car that wound up being pretty forgettable in most other respects and never posed much of a challenge to class leaders like the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla.
For 2019, Nissan has made the Sentra even less notable by quietly discontinuing the SL trim and SR Turbo and Nismo versions of this car, leaving just two models powered by a 1.8L four-cylinder making 124 hp and 125 lb-ft of torque. Those are figures that line up better with subcompacts rather than the compact-priced cars the Sentra is designed to compete with: The Honda Civic starts out with 158 hp, and the Mazda3 with 150.
And while the Sentra was big for the class six years ago, the Civic has since grown significantly to become something like a little luxury car.
The remaining two trims are dubbed S and SV. For 2019, the former gains a standard 7.0-inch display audio system, while SV adds the NissanConnectSM suite, which includes support for the Apple CarPlay and Android auto smartphone integration systems.
The disappearance of the SL and SR grades means there's no longer an option here for power seat adjustments, and last year's radar cruise control system is gone, too.
Such a trimming of trims usually means a car is slated for a complete redesign; we'll see if that happens, or if Nissan decides to axe the Sentra in favour of its recently expanded range of compact crossovers, including the Kicks and Qashqai, which arrived in Canada in 2018 and 2017 respectively.
Nissan offers the Sentra S with a six-speed manual transmission; a continuously variable automatic (CVT) is optional there and standard in SV. Contrary to what you normally hear from car nuts like us, the automatic is the better choice: The stickshift is a challenge to drive smoothly and spins the engine quickly -- and noisily -- in highway driving.
Base kit includes 16-inch steel wheels with covers, electric adjustable and heated side mirrors, hands-free text messaging assistant, keyless entry, power door locks and windows, cruise control, tilt-and-telescopic steering and a four-speaker stereo.
SV trim adds heated front seats, passive keyless entry, air conditioning with dual-zone automatic climate control, sliding front armrest, leather-trimmed steering wheel, six-speaker audio, satellite radio and automatic emergency braking.
Nissan's fuel consumption estimates are 8.8/6.6 L/100 km (city/highway) with the manual transmission and 8.1/6.3 with the automatic.
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