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2011 Nissan Sentra

Overview
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2011 Nissan Sentra Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 6.8

With the addition of the Versa as Nissan's smallest car, the once tiny Sentra moves up the line to nearly mid-size status. Anchoring the lineup are the 2.0, 2.0 S, 2.0 SL and the sporty 2.0 SR models. In addition, the performance-oriented SE-R and SE-R Spec V variants (reviewed separately) appeal to the frugal enthusiast. This front-drive four-door boasts sophisticated styling, competent ride and handling, excellent fuel efficiency and a long list of standard and available creature comforts – traits that serve it well in dealing with market challenges from the likes of the Chevrolet Cruze, Ford Focus, Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, Kia Forte, Mazda MAZDA3 and Toyota Corolla.

You'll Like This Car If...

When interior space and serenity really matter, the Sentra delivers in a big way. Those facing long, tortuous commutes will also appreciate the practical charms of its Xtronic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). Standard on all but the base 2.0 model, the CVT earns better EPA mileage numbers than the six-speed manual.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Those who prefer crisp handling response or brisk acceleration are likely to be disappointed, although moving up to the SE-R or SE-R Spec V models would dramatically change both elements of the overall performance equation. And the Sentra' styling, both inside and out, is beginning to show the car's age.

What's New for 2011

Changes for the 2011 Nissan Sentra include an increase in city fuel economy and a realignment of some option packages. 2.0 CVT, S and SL trims receive an SE-R style rear spoiler, while anti-lock brakes, traction control and stability control are now standard on all trims.

Driving the Sentra

Driving Impressions With SE-R and Spec V variants to please the enthusiast crowd, Nissan tuned the suspension of its mainstream Sentras to deliver the kind of ride comfort that core buyers clearly...

prefer. As a result, all four display a bit more body roll during aggressive cornering maneuvers and prominent nose-dipping under hard stops with their capable front disc and rear drum anti-lock brakes. However, this more polished personality also delivers smooth, relaxed in-town commutes and effortless freeway cruising with cabin noise levels that remain commendably low regardless of vehicle speed. Although engine power is hardly overwhelming, the Sentra's CVT automatic makes the most of the 2.0-liter's output, providing snappy off-the-line launches and adequate power for merging and passing.

Xtronic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT)
While it lacks the "sport mode" found on several other Xtronic applications, this seamless automatic is a good match for the Sentra engine and offers EPA fuel economy ratings that are superior to those of the six-speed manual gearbox that's standard on the 2.0 S.

Navigation System
The newest navigation/radio system from Nissan includes a large bright view screen, points of interest (POI) data base, touch screen controls and XM NavTraffic updates (requires subscription). Best of all, the unit cost less than $500, an amazing price for a factory installed system.

2011 Nissan Sentra Details
2011 Nissan Sentra photo Interior

Designed for U.S. buyers, the Sentra's nicely finished and well-appointed cabin comes in either beige or charcoal tones with aluminum-look or faux-wood accents. Large doors simplify entry and exit for all seats, and the Sentra offers more space for both people and their carry-ons than most of its competitors – including a laptop-sized locking glovebox and a 13.1 cubic foot trunk. Control layouts are good and main gauges easy to read, but the charcoal-and-orange LCD displays for the fuel and temperature indicators and audio and air conditioning readouts suffer legibility problems. Well-contoured front seats are matched with a 60/40 split-folding rear bench that's fit for two average-size adults or three medium-size kids.

Exterior
2011 Nissan Sentra photo

The 2011 Nissan Sentra clings to the boxy style that was Nissan's calling card a few years back. The car's high-profile bodywork features a sloping nose and short decklid separated by a tallish roofline and large glass area that ensures good outward visibility. A relatively long 105.7-inch wheelbase results in fairly short front and rear overhangs while prominent shoulder lines transition into softer front and rear contours set off by large, wraparound head and tail lamps. Inside pronounced fender flares, the 2.0 has 205/60 tires on 15-inch steel rims while the 2.0 S, 2.0 SR and 2.0 SL move up to 205/55 tires on larger 16-inch wheels, steel on the former and alloy on the two top-line offerings.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The base Sentra includes a six-speed manual transmission, front, front-side and side-curtain airbags, anti-lock brakes, traction and stability control, power windows and door locks, air conditioning, trip computer, and an AM/FM/CD audio system. The 2.0 S adds a CVT automatic transmission, standard iPod integration, six-speaker stereo larger wheels with lower-profile tires, remote keyless entry, cruise control and steering wheel-mounted audio controls. The 2.0 SL provides keyless start, 16-inch alloy wheels, XM Satellite Radio, 4.3-inch color audio head unit with controls for iPod and Bluetooth, and a power trunk lid release.

Optional Equipment

Sentra extras are largely model specific and are bundled into packages. The Convenience Package (2.0 S, 2.0 SR) offers Nissan's Intelligent Key keyless entry and start, power trunk lid release, Bluetooth phone connectivity and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. 2.0 S and 2.0 SR models can also be equipped with a 4.3-inch color display audio head unit, USB port and eight-speaker 340-watt Rockford Fosgate audio system. The SL trim offers leather seating, rearview monitor, heated front seats, a power sunroof, Rockford Fosgate premium audio and a five-inch navigation/radio system that includes XM NavTraffic real-time traffic information updates.

Under the Hood

All 2.0 Sentras share an identical 140-horsepower version of Nissan's 2.0-liter, 16-valve four-cylinder engine that was co-developed with parent-company Renault. The 2.0-liter makes an impressive 147 pound-feet of torque, and features variable timing on the intake valves that helps enhance its mid-range punch. Acceleration with either transmission is decent if not exhilarating, with a zero-to-60 mile-per-hour sprint requiring about nine seconds. Perhaps the biggest surprise is that EPA fuel economy figures with the Xtronic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) actually surpass those of the six-speed manual gearbox, in both city and highway mode. Due to different emissions regulations, the 2.0-liter's output in California is rated at 135 horsepower and 142 pound-feet of torque.

2.0-liter in-line 4
140 horsepower @ 5100 rpm
135 Horsepower @ 5100 rpm (California)
147 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4800 rpm
142 lb.-ft. of torque @4800 rpm (California)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 24/31 (manual), 27/34 (automatic)

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2011 Nissan Sentra Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.3
Out of 10

Based on 422 Ratings for the 2007 - 2012 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.6/10
    Quality
    8.4/10
  • Reliability
    8.8/10
    Performance
    8.5/10
  • Comfort
    8.6/10
    Styling
    8.6/10

Reliable

By on Monday, May 18, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 48,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "I got a great price, it is fun to drive"

Cons: "Just rust issues"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Living in the north, we always have to take into consideration the probablilty of rust. That is my only complaint. Manufacturers should make the car with that in mind, and put some sort of protective coat on the under parts of the car to leave less room for worry. Parts I've had to replace were due to rust issues. Otherwise, I love the space, storage, usb, & reliability. The power of this car is pretty good for winter, just be sure to keep good tires on it."

3 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Worst Vehicle ever

By on Wednesday, May 13, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 83,437

10 2.0
overall rating 2 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
2/10
Value
4/10
Reliability
2/10
Quality
2/10
Performance
3/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
4/10

Pros: "Worse car I ever owned"

Cons: "Too bumpy very loud"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"Buyer be ware. Drives likes a freight train . Passenger feels every little bump. Poor handing when driving, tends to throw you around in the vehicle. Loud noisy going up hills, whines a lot."

2 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Not the Best

By on Tuesday, May 05, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 143,000

10 1.0
overall rating 1 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
1/10
Value
1/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
1/10
Performance
1/10
Styling
4/10
Comfort
4/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"I HAVE OWNED THIS CAR FOR YEARS AND HAVE HAD PROBLEM AFTER PROBLEM. I HAVE REPLACED THE STRUTS 3 TIMES, I REPLACED THE ENGINE AT 102,000MILES AND NOW AT 143,000 I AM HAVING TO REPLACE THE TRANSMISSION. I PROBABLY WILL NEVER BUY ANOTHER NISSAN JUST ON THE FACT OF THIS CAR."

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

Good starter car for the reckless teenager

By on Thursday, April 16, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 85,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
6/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
6/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
2/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "Very spacious interior, easy to drive, cheap maint"

Cons: "louder road noise, bumpy, drum brakes on rear"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7

"There is nothing particularly special about this vehicle. It will go from point A to point B with no problem. The vehicle is very large on the inside where my 6 foot fiance can sprawl out with plenty of room to spare. Gas mileage I average about 24mpg and can get 32highway mpg. It is very quick with CVT transmission and certainly doesn't miss a beat when you need it. Normal wear and tear is inevitable and as far as defects I would say there isn't really any. I would recommend this car to someone who needs a commuter car or is looking to be very price consciences."

12 people out of 21 found this review helpful

Comfortable and Smooth, but Dull

By on Wednesday, April 15, 2015

I owned and sold this car
Reason: Trade-Up

10 6.0
overall rating 6 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
6/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
6/10
Quality
6/10
Performance
3/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Smooth ride, low cost"

Cons: "Road noise, boring to drive, iffy build quality"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5

"If you need a car, and you can find yourself a relatively low mileage Sentra, I can't say you shouldn't get one. You'll get a car that's inexpensive to own and operate, yet has really good ride quality. Still, there are some things that irked me about this car. First off, I had an issue with a leak from the outside in. It turns out that whatever glue they used to hold this car together (yes, that's correct) cracked causing a leak which soaked the floor in the back when it rained. Little plastic and rubber parts here and there, especially on the outside, began to fall off or come loose, and one of the back speakers buzzed occasionally. Driving this thing is about as exciting as shopping for socks. The ride quality is good, but it's not going to plow through a turn or accelerate with any urgency. The turning radius on this car is competitive with a house...I couldn't make u-turns to save my life. Also, road noise is atrocious. I found myself cranking up the radio just to hear it going 55 MPH. That being said, if you're looking for something inexpensive that goes A to B, you probably won't find anything that has a better ride."

3 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Excellent ride, good gas mileage, I like the car.

By on Sunday, March 15, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 93,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Roomy, mileage, response time."

Cons: "No Cruise control :("

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"For the basic of "basics", this Nissan is a Great Car. It has no options however, I have always liked Nissans. The ride is smooth, the mileage is very reasonable, there is plenty of room for 5 adults, the trunk space is amazing also. On the freeway it is a nice, quiet, smooth ride. The response for needing to "GO" or pass, is excellent. I have nothing bad to say about this car. It was a gift but if I were out looking to buy a car and my finances were limited, I would definitely consider buying this car."

10 people out of 15 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?