By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.6
Completely redesigned for 2013, the excellent new Nissan Sentra feels less like a compact car and more like a downsized mid-size sedan. The look is substantial and mature, the interior is refined in look and feel, and from front to trunk it's downright roomy. The growing number of tech-dependent drivers will appreciate a robust and intuitive NissanConnect infotainment package with cool Google, Pandora and text messaging features, and anyone who hasn't won the free-gas-for-life lottery will appreciate the Sentra's class-leading combined city/highway fuel economy of 34 mpg. And while it's neither as fun to drive as a Mazda3, nor as quiet and comfortable as a Chevy Cruze, the new Nissan Sentra rides and handles better than most buyers need it to.
Whether you're looking for style, refinement, room, fuel economy or just some cool in-cabin technology, you'll find the 2013 Nissan Sentra worth your time, scoring high marks on all fronts.
The 2013 Nissan Sentra is as new as new gets. In addition to all the improvements you can see and touch, the Sentra is built on a new, lighter platform and driven by a new engine and transmission setup.
Driving Impressions Even though it rides, handles and responds very well, how the new Sentra drives is one of the least remarkable things about it. The uninitiated might need some time getting...used to the continuously variable transmission (CVT) – a gearless automatic – but Nissan is doing CVT better than anyone and in some applications we're starting to prefer it to a traditional automatic. The engine's 130-horsepower rating is at the low end of the segment, but the flexible CVT compensates some. It doesn't make the car any faster, but the new Sentra includes a 3-mode drive selector with Eco, Normal and Sport modes to maximize economy or responsiveness. Electric power steering continues to improve across the industry, and the Sentra offers better steering feel than the Hyundai Elantra, for instance. Highway ride is right in line with what we expect from a good compact sedan nowadays, and the front seats are comfortable for at least a couple of hours (the longest stretch we've tested them to this point).
You can send directions from your computer to your Sentra via Google. You can listen to Pandora Internet radio. You can have your text messages read to you, and send replies without taking your hands off the wheel. How great is the future?
EASY FILL TIRE ALERT
Keeping your tires inflated is key to maximizing fuel economy, and Nissan's new system makes it really easy. Just start filling and the car will give a quick honk of the horn when the tire reaches the recommended pressure.
High-quality materials, electroluminescent gauges and a tasteful, contoured design help create what is arguably the finest interior in all of Compactsedanland. The rear seating area is another inside highlight, offering backseat drivers more legroom than some of the smaller mid-size sedans, along with similarly generous headroom. The theme continues all the way back into one of the category's biggest trunks. The new Sentra is roomy enough, in fact, that it's one of a handful of compact sedans classified as mid-size by the EPA.Exterior
Softly sculpted sheet metal, substantial proportions and shiny-object LED headlight accents and taillights all combine to give the 2013 Nissan Sentra class-above parking lot presence. All models feature a chrome-finish grille, chrome-finish door handles and body-color painted side mirrors, while up-level versions feature alloy wheels, fog lights and side-mirror-integrated turn signals. The sportier-looking but similarly tuned Sentra SR includes a rear spoiler, chrome exhaust tip finisher, unique 17-inch alloy wheels, and other sporty add-ons all around.
The base-model 2013 Nissan Sentra S has a starting sticker price of $16,780 with the 6-speed manual transmission, $18,050 with the automatic transmission. For those prices you get a Sentra with air conditioning, a 4-speaker AM/FM/CD/Aux audio system, electroluminescent gauges, basic cloth seats, a 4-way adjustable steering wheel, 16-inch covered steel wheels, and a modern complement of active and passive safety features including six airbags and electronic stability and traction controls.
A fully loaded 2013 Nissan Sentra SL tops out in the $23,000 range with some equipment you couldn't have had for $100,000 just a few years ago. In addition to a moonroof, leather seats (heated fronts), more stylish 17-inch wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control and automatic headlights, a fully optioned Sentra includes keyless entry and push-button start, a backup camera, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, USB/iPod integration, satellite radio, an 8-speaker Bose audio system and NissanConnect with Navigation featuring a 5.8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with all the Google, Pandora and texting goodness outlined above.
The Sentra's 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine is among the least powerful in the segment, but we can attest that it moves at least two adults up to highway speeds just fine. With four adults, though, highway merging might require a bit more planning. In addition to the CVT there's a 6-speed manual transmission available, but only on the base model and it delivers about 50 fewer miles per tankful. The FE+ grades achieve one more highway mile per gallon with some aerodynamic adds and low-rolling-resistance tires, but it's mostly a marketing ploy (40 mpg is much sexier than 39) and not worth the extra $400. Even if you drove exclusively on the highway, the FE+ package would save you just $50 and 10 gallons per year (at $5/gallon, 15,000 miles/year).
130 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm (124 horsepower w/CA emissions)
128 lb-ft of torque @ 3,600 rpm (125 lb-ft w/CA emissions)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 27/36 mpg (manual), 30/39 mpg (automatic), 30/40 (automatic w/FE+ trim)
By tcbecht88 on Saturday, March 21, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "MPG's and Comfort"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"We bought our 2014 Nissan Sentra SV brand new. I feel that for the price there should be a FEW more standard bells and whistles. It drives like a dream, though the CVT takes some getting used to. We had one problem with the tail lamps getting moisture in them but Nissan was quick to replace them completely under warranty. I love the design of everything but the quality of some touch points could be improved."
1 person out of 2 found this review helpful
By sadowner on Monday, March 02, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 6,700overall rating 1 of 10rating details
Pros: "Interior Styling"
Cons: "Everything Else"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I have had this car for 5 months and got it brand new. I have been back to the shop a dozen times and I will have to keep going back. Very heavy vibration upon light acceleration. There were 4 times that the vibration was so bad that it felt like the car was going to come apart. They claim its normal operations because they cannot reproduce the issue. The front windshield and back window both make cracking sounds and rattle they are going to fall out of the car. The transmission slips and I am told that is normal. There are a ton of rattles popping up all over this car. The navigation turns off and on by itself, the buttons on the side of the navigation flicker like there is a short and the navigation screen flickers like there is a short. It had been a total nightmare owning this car and I wouldn't recommend this car to anyone."
9 people out of 12 found this review helpful
By Not happy on Monday, February 23, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 4,000overall rating 3 of 10rating details
Cons: "everything else"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I had a 2010 Sentra and loved it. I travel a lot so I decided to upgrade to the 2014. I was wrong. There is not storage space in the cabin and the trunk as a bar that limits the space in the trunk. Which i need. The CVT is very strange and I have to be careful when I am starting off because sometimes it will not want to go. Even in the Sport mode, if you gun it, it takes a second to go. DO NOT PULL OUT IN FRONT OF ANYONE. YOU WILL GET HIT. This car has not horse power but then it is good on MPG. The only thing I like about the car is the MPG. The navigation and sound system will sometime cut off for a minute or two. The navigation system cannot find a lot of the address in put in. All the other GPS systems can find them. These are established address.The controls on the steering wheel will not work when it is cold. It is a lot bigger than the 2010."
4 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By Angie on Saturday, February 14, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 5,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Very nice features."
Cons: "A little pricier than they used to be."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I am on my second brand new Sentra. I had my last one for 9 years and loved it. Had people asking me if I wanted to sell it all the time. Just wanted a new one so I went back to the same dealership and purchased my 2013. I really do love these cars!"
7 people out of 13 found this review helpful
By DONNA on Friday, January 23, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 35,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "great car"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"the brakes otherwise a great car good on gas, confortable car is consider a small vehicle but has plenty of room. Love ths car"
9 people out of 21 found this review helpful
By CJ on Thursday, January 08, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 61,000overall rating 4 of 10rating details
Pros: "Cheap, decent body style--biggest pro!"
Cons: "Cheap and too simple for the cost"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2
"Good starter car, if you have options than I recommend to exhaust other options/prices/deals. I thought I was getting a good deal. For the price I took the car but the dealership where I purchased the car brand new, I feel got one over on me. Selling price was to be 15k, after first bill noticed it was over 18k. I've paid 8,199.38 so far and still owe 4,000 over the wholesale value. Also when I had them conduct a transmission flush, they forgot the fluids so it burnt out my tranny. Great! These reasons may be why I rate the car so low but I would never purchase another sentra! I purchased a passat just a few months later as a mother's day gift and for the little extra I recommend the VW BY FAR and that is strictly my review of the car! Choose different. Thank you"
15 people out of 25 found this review helpful