Making its debut today at an event in Dallas, Texas, the 2013 Nissan Sentra continues the automaker's ongoing new-product offensive with a package that matches more sophisticated style with greater substance. Larger but lighter and more fuel efficient than the car it replaces, the new Sentra is based on Nissan's "Re-imagined Global Sedan" previewed in April at the Beijing Auto Show. As expected, the U.S. iteration maintains all of that vehicle's next-gen presence and advanced engineering -- attributes that should serve Sentra well as it takes on key rivals in the ultracompetitive compact sedan segment.
Visually, the 2013 Sentra shares many design cues with its larger sibling, the also-new-for-2013 Altima. Based on a dedicated version of Nissan's versatile "V-platform" architecture, this 5-passenger front-driver is slightly longer and lower but a bit narrower than the car it replaces. Complementing its bolder body contours and lower beltline is a new trapezoidal grille and LED-infused headlamps/taillamps. More evocative looks aside, the comprehensive recasting process wrought on the seventh-generation Sentra also has trimmed the car's coefficient of drag from 0.34 to a tidy 0.29. Nissan's newest sedan also benefits from a modest wheelbase stretch - 105.7 to 106.3 inches - which adds marginal interior space and gains 2.0 cu-ft of trunk space. However, the biggest difference is one you don't see, as the Sentra's transition to the new platform also results in a huge 150-pound reduction in curb weight.
Sole engine for the 2013 Sentra is a new 1.8-liter 4-cylinder that makes 130 horsepower and 128 lb-ft of torque. In addition to twin Continuously Variable Valve Timing, the engine features a bounty of internal tweaks that help reduce both mass and friction for added smoothness and increased operational efficiency. While it can be backed by a 6-speed manual transmission in the base Sentra, all other models come standard with a new-generation Xtronic CVT automatic that weighs less than the current CVT and also offers a wider overall gear-ratio span. Collectively, the upgrades contribute to better EPA figures: 30 mpg in the city, 39 mpg on the highway and a class-leading 34 mpg combined, which reflects a 13-percent gain in that critical stat. Nissan will offer the 2013 Sentra in four basic trim levels: S, SV, SR and SL, with the S and SV also available in mileage-maxing FE+ variants. While specific changes for FE+ models has not been released, Nissan says each will return up to 40 mpg on the highway.
Inside, the 2013 Sentra embodies Nissan's "class above" philosophy. In addition to generous, mid-size cabin space, the passenger compartment of even the entry-level S model boasts loads of soft-touch surfaces, a 60/40 split-folding rear seat, tilt/telescoping steering column, air conditioning with a microfilter, a full array of power assists, keyless remote and an AM/FM/CD audio system. The SV adds items like cruise control, upgraded trim and sound plus a security system while the sporty SR nets a body kit, rear spoiler and foglamps while swapping the base 205/55 tires on 16-inch steel wheels for 205/55 rubber on 17-inch alloys. It also features unique interior trim bits.
The top-line Sentra SL brings a new dimension to the mix with additional standards that include Maple wood-tone trim, dual-zone auto climate control, Nissan Intelligent Key, Bluetooth Hands-free Phone System, a 6-speaker audio system with a 4.3-inch display, Sirius XM Satellite Radio (subscription required), Smart Auto headlights, heated outside mirrors with integrated LED turn signals and more. Depending on trim level, the new Sentra also will offer premium upgrades like NissanConnect with Navigation system and real-time traffic/weather updates, leather upholstery, heated front seats, rear disc brakes, a power glass moonroof and RearView Monitor as part of various packages.
Pricing for the 2013 Nissan Sentra will be released closer to its on-sale date.