By Jason Allan
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)
Ranging from $16,780 to more than $23,000, the 2013 Nissan Sentra is priced in line with its competitors on a features-per-dollar basis, between the Ford Focus at the high end and the Hyundai Elantra at the low end. Looking ahead, we expect the new Sentra to hold its value better than its predecessor and better than the category average. The 2013 Nissan Sentra shouldn't cost you significantly more or less than its competitors in the long run, but it qualifies as a solid value because it feels like a more substantial, more refined car than many of the others.
By Mario Andretti on Saturday, September 13, 2014
I want this caroverall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Pretty car, and good gas mileage"
Cons: "No accelleration out of gate. Bumpy ride."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"2014 Nissan Sentra review: I drove a Sentra for 2 weeks in Nashville doing service calls for Dell Computer Corporation. The car is ascetically appealing because they rounded off the edges finally and it looks like a small Altima. Seats: Not comfortable enough for my 5'6'' frame at 180lbs muscular. I am not fat or slim but I work out and these seats just could not be made to accommodate my back and most of the time I had to sit low in the seat. You feel everything on the road until you get to 70 mph. And at 80, it feels like the back tires are slipping out from under you, so don't go that fast in this car. I was coming down a steep incline and almost could not stop on the low end good year tires. Scared me to death, I was behind a 780 BMW. Handling is very tight, not rigid, but the steering can't come down low enough, I used to my Kia Amanti Steering wheel coming down to my lap. They could make it a little more flexible coming down, so you get that sports car feel, instead of Granny feel of having a high steering wheel. Gas mileage is awesome, 34 mpg with only 10 gallon tank. I drove 250 miles a day, so I was at the station every other day. Visibility is above average for small car, but blind spots are very obvious and close to car. you better be ready when you decide to change lanes, somebody is going to be right on you. Primarily because you can't get the seat, the Steering wheel and the mirrors to work in unison. Im 53 and wouldn't buy it, but I think kids would love it because you can get out there and have a nice drive. I didn't have a roof, but I would have one on mine. Acceleration from 0-50 will not get you out of the way with an automatic! There is no power on the pedal until you get up to 60 and then the car wants to really fly. I surprised a lot people , one guy in a corvette actually gave up trying to zip with me through traffic, I was crossing three lanes diagonally with no problem, I felt like Andretti!. I can drive like Andretti as long as I have the rubber and the brakes. Brakes were a 7 at best. They don't lock up tight, could use some bigger disc of course just for the downhill stuff. Good pedal on the brakes, never scared me and they always did what I anticipate. This car had 8900 miles on it but I was thinking 5 years down the road, that this car is going to be a very used car, with no power, bad brakes, and wobbly seats. Audio system has very good low end, but highs just aren't there, so I figured they built these for college students who listen to RAP music all day and night. I like Jazz, Gospel and Adult."
1 person out of 2 found this review helpful
By Natch on Thursday, September 11, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Beautiful car with all the amenities"
Cons: "Acceleration is lacking"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"The 2013 Nissan Sentra SL is a brand new design from the bottom up and it looks like a mini-Altima. The SL that I have has all the options including the Premium Package. The car has leather seating and an 8-speaker BOSE system that sounds awesome. I have recorded all my music in a flash drive and I play it in the car with the USB port provided. The moon roof is very nice specially in the sunny days when the temperature is in the 60-70 degrees F. The only item missing is a stainless steel muffler tip; I installed one at a muffler shop and it looks great! Overall I am very pleased with my Sentra and I plan to keep it for many years to come since I only have 3,500 miles."
5 people out of 10 found this review helpful
By NTBoater on Thursday, September 04, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Giant rear seat, amazing mpg, drives like midsize"
Cons: "badly designed wipe spray nozzle"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"With the exception of a faulty wiper spray nozzle, this is an amazing, extremely roomy and very well made car. I didn't buy it for it's speed, but it's got great power thanks to Nissan's excellent CVT transmission. This summer I have averaged 37 MPG, and on a recent trip saw 46.5 MPG. Over the frigid winter last year, it averaged just over 30 MPG and I do 50/50 city and hiway driving. The back seats have more room than my sisters X5, my Mom's Murano and my other sisters new Fusion. The trunk is massive too. I just feel great in my Sentra SV and I do test drive every other competitive model in it's class, this is the one that hit all the high points solidly. There is no car which deserves a perfect 10, none."
10 people out of 17 found this review helpful