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 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"
1 person out of 1 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"
8 people out of 16 found this review helpful
By aconsumerreview on Sunday, January 04, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 100overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great price, comfortable, great mileage & space"
Cons: "Include Bluetooth & sliding center armrest on all."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"The 2014 Nissan Sentra SV offered me exactly what I was looking for in a compact car priced at under $20,000. My priorities on buying were based on the many miles I drive (15-20K annually) were as follows, and in this order - comfort (seating and driving), safety ratings, great gas mileage, build quality/reliability/reputation (inside & out), cabin and trunk space, cabin features (radio, ac, knobs, gauges etc.) and auto insurance premiums. After doing a lot of in depth research both online and in print as well as watching test drive and review videos, I decided to test drive several Japanese vehicles priced under $20,000 that met my about criteria. In the end I chose to purchase a Nissan Sentra for three reasons. 1). We leased a 2013 Nissan Pathfinder in July of 2013 which was my first experience with a Nissan and a CVT automatic transmission. Not only did the CVT transmission (used in Formula One racing cars) grow on me, the mileage is superb and we have had zero problems with the vehicle. 2). The 2014 Nissan Sentra offered a lot of value for $18,000 in terms of features that met my criteria and priorities as listed earlier in this review including a soft touch dash board in a market full of cheap plastics. Additionally, all Sentra's come with Econo & Sport mode buttons for a different driving experience. So while some online and video reviews will knock Nissan for having a 130 HP four cylinder engine, many cars in this class have smaller less powerful motors and no alternate driving modes. 3). The Nissan Sentra (model SV) met my needs at my budget and some as well as the ease and incentives Nissan was offering and the ease in which I was able to get into this car without any games from the dealer or NMAC (Nissan Motors Finance). It was a very easy transaction. In short, the Nissan Sentra offered more value, amenities and comfort at my price point than any other Japanese auto maker."
12 people out of 18 found this review helpful
By ms ccw on Friday, December 26, 2014
I don't own this caroverall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Awesome gas mileage; adequate handling"
Cons: "inferior materials used for interior & exterior"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"I rented this car for a day trip. My favorite thing about it by far was the gas mileage (39 MPG). The adjustable height seats were nice. Not too many blind spots, which made it easier to drive than some of the others I've rented. Some minor irritations include: the transmission was hard to get used to (it was slow on taking off from red lights and stop signs). The arm rest was useless as it was too far back. I never could figure out how to completely turn off the climate control system. I thought the interior was cheaply made, and I also heard a lot of rattles from the exterior while driving. In spite of the "irritations" I've mentioned, overall I thought the car was probably the best one I've rented this year, and if I had the money to purchase, I would seriously consider it."
12 people out of 21 found this review helpful
By KAO on Wednesday, December 17, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 325overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "nice and compact and very comfortable"
Cons: "arm rest is pushed back to far"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I've had this vehicle for about a month now no complaints, Vehicle has everything I've wanted in a car, Got the SR model love it so far, love the way it looks from the inside and out. Did not buy it for speed bought it because I like everything the car had to offer and more."
8 people out of 18 found this review helpful
By cool cat on Monday, November 24, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 19,800overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "fun to drive, great on gas."
Cons: "no power to get up hills at a stand still"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"great on gas, but when your stopped at a bottom of a hill there is no power to get up it. and the over drive button is worthless, it puts you in low gear. other than that its ok. the rubber strips on top of roof keep coming off. you have to supper glue them down. I only had it for a week now, so we will see happens."
11 people out of 23 found this review helpful