By KBB.com Editors
Launching the new subcompact Versa early in 2006 left Nissan's existing compact Sentra in an ambiguous spot. Now, by redesigning the Sentra for its sixth generation, Nissan has clarified the distinction between the two. The 2007 Sentra sedan has grown by 5.9 inches in wheelbase, 2.3 inches in overall length, 4.0 inches in height and 3.2 inches in width. A six-speed manual gearbox is standard, but the big news is Nissan's continuously variable transmission (CVT), which is offered for the first time in a Sentra. About 700 algorithms are available and an overdrive button alters the shift points to improve responsiveness.
If you like the idea of ride comfort mixed with frugal fuel economy and almost-sporty road behavior in a spacious compact, the Sentra can be a good common-sense choice. Shoppers who demand complete safety features should note that every Sentra contains both side-curtain and seat-mounted airbags, though anti-lock braking (ABS) is an option rather than standard, except on the top-rung 2.0 SL model.
Despite its power-transmitting efficiency, a CVT-equipped Sentra probably won't satisfy those who demand all-out performance, so a stick-shift model or the coming-later SE-R would make a snappier choice. While Nissan's enlarged compact proves pleasantly capable, and the company promotes it as sportier than its predecessor, in reality it falls a bit short on the excitement scale.
In addition to CVT availability, Nissan's second-smallest sedan is bigger inside and out, as well as more powerful: Specifically, 140 horsepower versus the prior 126. Buyers who crave more assertive performance can wait for the Sentra SE-R, which debuted at the Los Angeles Auto Show and goes on sale in 2007.
Driving Impressions Nissan's CVT works very smoothly and efficiently. At idle, the engine is nearly silent and, while some noise appears when pushing hard, most other CVT-equipped vehicles are noisier. Although its...powertrain is willing, the CVT sedan is a little on the sluggish sidebut more energetic from a standstill. Ride comfort is pleasant on most surfaces and tolerable even over rougher pavement, although the Sentra S felt slightly less smooth on highway rough spots. Occasionally, a serious bump may yield a sinking sensation or a rather harsher hit. The steering feel isn't sporty, but it's close, and the Sentra tracks well on highways and behaves adroitly on twisting roads.
Continuously Variable Transmission
Nissan's CVTs rank among the best, a result of the company's development process over the past 27 years. CVTs have been available in Nissan vehicles globally since 1992 and in U.S. models since 2003.
Expanded Interior Space
Significantly increased dimensions mean passengers have considerably more room than in previous Sentras, as well as in many other compact sedans. The four-inch height increase also eases entry/exit, as well as adding headroom.
Specifically designed for North America, the 2007 Sentra has an interior that Nissan claims is "a little more upscale and functional" than the previous model. There's a new instrument panel layout and the gearshift location is no longer down on the floor. Passenger volume has grown by 8.9 cubic feet and trunk capacity by 1.5 cubic feet; without question, this sedan is roomier than past Sentras. Front occupants get plenty of space and rear-seat room is abundant. Instruments are simple but readable, except for the bar-type fuel and temperature gauges and the trip odometer. Front cupholders adjust to hold a 32-ounce cup.Exterior
Built on Nissan-Renault's Global C platform, which is also used for the Renault Megane and other models not sold in the U.S., the Sentra is manufactured in Mexico. So was the prior generation, but the Mexican plant has benefited from 353 additional assembly robots. Some Sentra styling touches are reminiscent of the current Quest minivan, especially up front. Use of a relatively long wheelbase (108.7 inches), coupled with greater height, permits substantially increased passenger space. Short front and rear overhangs help give the Sentra a modern profile. Nissan notes that the Sentra's 70.5-inch width is comparable to many midsize sedans.
Three trim levels are offered. Even in base 2.0 trim, the Sentra includes air conditioning, power windows/locks and a CD player, with either manual shift or the optional CVT. Nissan's volume leader, the midlevel 2.0 S model, gets bigger (16-inch) tires, remote keyless entry, steering wheel-mounted audio controls and a trip computer. Topping the line, the 2.0 SL adds the continuously variable transmission, as well as leather interior trim, 16-inch alloy wheels, anti-lock braking (ABS), an "Intelligent Key" and Bluetooth hands-free phone operation. On all models, seat-mounted airbags and curtain-type airbags are standard.
In the base Sentra and 2.0 S, Nissan's CVT adds $800 to the price, while it's standard in the 2.0 SL sedan. Special features included in the Convenience Package include an overhead CD holder and a trunk divider that permits hidden storage. Also optional are an "Intelligent Key" keyless entry system, leather upholstery, Rockford Fosgate sound, Bluetooth hands-free phone operation and either XM or SIRIUS Satellite Radio. Anti-lock braking is a stand-alone option for the base sedan, but bundled with alloy wheels for the 2.0 S model.
Every regular Sentra has a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine driving either a six-speed manual transmission or Nissan's continuously variable transmission (CVT), which includes an overdrive button. The SE-R Spec V model, which debuts in 2007, will have a 2.5-liter engine.
2.0-liter in-line 4
140 horsepower @ 5100 rpm
147 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 28/34 (manual), 29/36 (automatic)
By jed on Wednesday, November 05, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 60,000overall rating 2 of 10rating details
Pros: "It runs well! Has a good sized trunk."
Cons: "Very poor visibility, too many blind spots."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I truly dislike this car for many reasons, but the foremost reason is the poor visibility and numerous blind spots. My second item of dislike is the dashboard. The dials are very difficult to read during the day. The orange glow of the nighttime is not very pleasant either. The floor carpets finally had to be removed from the driver's side due to their constant movement under the accelerator. It has been reliable, however, and that is a plus"
2 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By ImPaul2008 on Thursday, October 23, 2014
I owned and sold this car
Reason: needed larger vehicle
Pros: "Easy comfortable ride - lots of interior space."
Cons: "Trunk only opened manually. Felt all the bumps."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I bought this car at the end of 2008 - just before the gov't began offering tax incentives to buy vehicles ... darn! Kept it for about 6 years. Anyway - I always loved this car, except for the fact that when driving in the city or any area where the roads weren't in great shape, you could feel every bump. Didn't bother me as much at first, but now that I'm in my 60's started to bother me. I also didn't like that despite being 2nd tier trim, the trunk only opened manually - not by the key-less entry remote. I always got great fuel mileage of at least 25 mpg and more on the road. I was always amazed by how much I could fit into the car if need be. For Example, my wife and I bought new kitchen cabinets that were boxed. We were able to fit all the cartons (the cabinets were not completely set up) into the car with a bit of room to spare. The guys at the cabinet store thought we were crazy trying to fit it all in, but then apologized after the fact when they saw how easily it all fit in. The car was great on long trips - very comfortable to drive for long hours. And if I wanted to take a snooze, very comfortable to pull off the road and lay the seats back to relax. A cinch to park - Great vehicle for city driving & parking Carried my large dog comfortably in the back seat. The rear seats folded 60/40 - only they didn't lay completely flat. Had no trouble fitting lumber, etc in the car - and if it was really too long, just kept the trunk open with a flag on the stuff sticking out. Soundproofing was pretty good - didn't hear trucks blaring next to us on the road and could easily carry on conversations and on the phone w/o issue. Great visibility - except for a blind spot or 2 on drivers side back window. Only major work needed was that after 45,000 miles (4 1/2 yrs) - I needed to replace the front struts/shocks which were about $700. The bumps really felt awful at that point, so I should've realized there was a problem. Only other major expense I had was replacing all four tires in 2012, all 4 brake drums in 2012 and the battery in 2013. Also the fog lights went a couple of times and were more expensive than I thought they'd be to have done. Other than that never had to bring it in for any service except for the brakes and oil changes - and warranty replacement of air stem sensors. Minor things began to go shortly after warranty ended, example a couple buttons on the radio - which were impossible to locate. The a/c heater fan, didn't kick in as easily after warranty ended, but still worked fine. Also - had to replace (under warranty) the air stems which let you know pressure was low. Brakes were obviously rusted from the get-go (you could see it from outside). The cheap plastic wheel covers - were especially a problem if I bumped the tires against curb - broke easily. With all the larger vehicles on the road (SUVs) I finally decided to sell the car so I could get something bigger so it was easier to see in front of me, otherwise I'd still have it today. I was able to sell it for $8500 w/o a problem - and that was after having 2 accidents, one of which required frame repair in back which impacted resale value."
4 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By Gin on Wednesday, October 22, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 27,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "So worth the price"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I have really enjoyed this car and only need to upgrade because I need a newer model with a back up camera."
1 person out of 2 found this review helpful
By 12sentra on Saturday, August 30, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 17,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "comfortable, quiet, good interior space"
Cons: "engine lacks horsepower"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"This vehicle is a good everyday commuter. Comfortable, quiet with good interior space. Exterior is nice looking, not flashy, but not old either. Have owned this certified Sentra S for almost 1 year and have no real complaints other than the 140hp engine is somewhat lacking. Overall I would recommend this vehicle for the great gas mileage which I average 35+ mpg."
9 people out of 15 found this review helpful
By TBM on Tuesday, August 05, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 95,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Smooth, economical, dependable and fun."
Cons: "Engine has always been a little rattly."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"This car has not had any problems so far and is powerful, smooth and very economical. I am making my final payment in a few days and am glad in my selection. This car is fun to drive and still gets over 30 mpg combined."
9 people out of 14 found this review helpful
By John N. on Friday, May 23, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 173,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Overall quality. Nissans run til the end of time."
Cons: "The inner design isn't very stylish."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"For the life of me I can't understand why Honda and Toyota have the reputation for being the longest lasting cars on the road. Every Nissan I've ever driven has gone for years and years with no problems at all. My Sentra has 173,000 miles on it and it has never broken down, and still runs perfect. Others I know who drive Nissan have all had similar experiences. These are the cars to drive if you don't want to deal with mechanical problems or costly repairs. If those are your thing, buy an American car."
25 people out of 38 found this review helpful