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2013 Nissan Sentra

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2013 Nissan Sentra Review

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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.

You'll Like This Car If...

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.

You May Not Like This Car If...

The new Sentra isn't as fun to drive as the Ford Focus, Mazda3 or Dodge Dart, and it's not as isolated from the noisy, bumpy world as the Chevy Cruze.

What's New for 2013

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 the Sentra

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).

NISSANCONNECT
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.

2013 Nissan Sentra Details
Interior

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
2013 Nissan Sentra photo

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.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

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.

Optional Equipment

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.

Under the Hood

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).

1.8-liter inline-4
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)

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2013 Nissan Sentra Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
7.7
Out of 10

Based on 95 Ratings for the 2013 - 2016 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    7.8/10
    Quality
    8.1/10
  • Reliability
    8.5/10
    Performance
    7.5/10
  • Comfort
    8.1/10
    Styling
    8.4/10

Its okay..

By on Wednesday, February 03, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 50,000

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
2/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
Not Rated
Styling
5/10
Comfort
7/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2

"Overall, I like this car. It is reliable... however, the value of these cars decrease severally. I am upside down on this car by 7 grand and have only had it 2 years with 50,000 miles. I wont purchase a Nissan in the future just because of how quick these decrease in there value."

Good looks and performance but horrible interior

By on Saturday, January 30, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 14,000

10 6.0
overall rating 6 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
6/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
4/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
1/10
Comfort
1/10

Pros: "looks, performance adequate 30 to 31 miles/g"

Cons: "poor interior design, no storage, not comfortable"

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

"I bought for $14K brand new, cheap but barely worth the money, the car looks good, good performance with adequate engine/transmission package. The bad is the interior, not comfortable, no storage what so ever with center thing that is useless: Can not serve as arm rest with almost no space to store any thing; even glove box poorly designed without side wall with every thing falls down when open or jam it. Mileage is about 30 to 31 at best but the installed computer program gives false higher reading. If you pay more than $14K you are not getting your moneys worth."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

So excited! Nissan Sentra SL is perfect!

By on Sunday, January 17, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 49,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Fun to drive, luxurious feel."

Cons: "Not a ton of leg room in the front for tall people"

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

"We bought this car and could not be more excited! We got the SL, which is loaded with every feature I could imagine. I initially went to buy a Camry, base model, but when I saw this, I had to test drive it. It has great pick up, and it is gorgeous inside and out. My only complaint is that the Camry had more leg room for my 6'4 husband. The leather heated seats, back up camera and all the bells and whistles made me forget the Camry and purchase the Sentra! I would also recommend 'ResistAll'. It protects your car inside and out and always makes it shine. Very happy, my 2013 Sentra looks brand new! I love it!"

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

My 2nd Sentra - Never any issues!

By on Thursday, January 07, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 33,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "45 mpg on the highway, extremely comfortable seats"

Cons: "Tires needed replacement at 28K"

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

"I get 45 mpg on the highway in my Sentra and love the extra room in the car. I did a lot of research and drove all the cars I was considering. The Sentra hit the spot on my wish list: Stereo Streaming Audio via Bluetooth Rear Back Up Camera Integrates with APPS like Facebook, Pandora Intelligent Key Excellent smooth, quiet ride CVT provides outstanding acceleration Great looking car, best in Black! Kick butt audio hook up for my iPod (media server in my car) and everything is easy to touch. Very, Very comfortable seats. As a handy person I need supplies, and I can fit several 2X6X10's inside and close the trunk. Cannot happen with any other car in its class. I can fit my 8 foot ladder inside. What really got me, is that the leases on this are rediculously good. Nissan also allows up to 30,000 miles per YEAR, in leases. The standard lease is 15K, but it's only a $11 difference than 12K per year. I pay $220 and feel great. My best advice is to get off the stupid computer and go drive some cars. Buy the one you like best. You can die anytime, so enjoy the moment. Few cars rate a 10, so 9 is excellent."

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Not blown away

By on Wednesday, January 06, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 36,325

10 6.0
overall rating 6 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
6/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
Not Rated
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Great interior, large spacious trunk, ECO/Sport"

Cons: "Transmission iffy, Repairs already needed,"

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

"Let me start by saying I love my cars interior and design, really big spacious trunk, good tech options and the ECO/Sport options... but mechanically I have not felt confident in this cars lasting-power since not too long after it was purchased. Bought this car with 5k miles, put 31k on it since... Last month I had to have my entire shifter replaced as my car was getting stuck in park and nothing could make it budge! Early into owning the car, I took it to the dealer as it sounded and felt like my car was having a hard time shifting upon initial acceleration... When driving with the tech, he agreed it sounded and felt off and he actually did warn me that they received a lot of this make that come back with transmission issues, RED FLAG! That's a Nissan tech telling me that!... Low and behold they couldn't recreate the issue and nothing was fixed. They told me it was likely the new transmissions they are using that are supposed to shift differently. I have always been a Toyota driver, When my last car was totaled after someone hit me, I had a hard time finding a replacement in my budget. I chose this car as I've been told you can't go wrong with Japanese cars if you take care of them. I have stayed up to date on my oil changes, brakes, etc...but it's the bigger before mentioned issues that concern me. I will note also that the periodical routine maintenance (5k miles, 10k, etc) do seem to be very pricey at the dealership as well for what they do. I just don't have confidence in this car long term and will likely trade it in for a Toyota soon. In general I don't think cars are built like they used to be, but that's just my thinking."

4 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Great first car, reliable with a few hiccups

By on Monday, December 14, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 41,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "perfect first car, good handling/mpg, roomy"

Cons: "weak on hills, road noise"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"Ok... This was the first car I ever drove extensively and that I purchased. When I was a new driver, I found a lot of vehicles confusing and difficult to get a feel of, but when I test drove the Sentra I knew that this was the car for me. The driving felt smooth and safe. Now that I've been driving a few years, there are times I wish I was driving a car with bit more power (Especially on hills), but it's been mostly a very positive experience. Fortunately, the "sport" mode can give me the extra power that I need sometimes. I think the handling is pretty good - not as good as a sports car, but you'll be able to get out of tight spaces. The trunk is huge, and most passengers are comfortable in the front/back seats. As for negatives, I've had a few hiccups but nothing that caused me major inconvenience. There was an issue with one of the axels causing scraping sounds that took several dealership trips to fix, mostly due to service department incompetence. I also blew out one of the stock tires, and another stock tire wore out significantly earlier than the others. Around 5k I had a battery failure, but I wasn't charged for any of the parts or for the car to be towed. I also had an issue with the center console covering coming apart - but again, this was covered on the warranty. This is also a great car for road trips, given the large trunk and comfortable seating. I've probably put about 5k miles on this car in road trips alone (up and down California). If you ever have to drive through the desert - pick this car because the a/c is ice cold! One issue on long trips for me though is the angle of the windshield seems to attract a lot of glare at night. Something to keep in mind - Trim and model year makes a difference here. I was given a 2014 base model Sentra as a loaner once, and admittedly I could tell an improvement in handling and better MPG, but the lack of features was really shocking (no cruise control, steering wheel controls, uglier interior styling etc). I also noticed the windshield didn't have as much glare as my 2013. Based on this and all the quirks I experienced in the first 15k miles, I'd suggest skipping the 2013 and getting the 2014 SR if you can."

4 people out of 6 found this review helpful

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