When Nissan redesigned the Sentra last year, its goal was to create a compact economy car that looked and felt like a premium midsize sedan. While no mini-Maxima, we do think the Sentra feels very Altima-like, in both the way it drives and pampers its occupants. The refined interior doesn't just look great; it's actually quite functional, providing a big back seat and a spacious trunk. Understanding that today's car buyer is as concerned with high-tech as with high fuel economy, Nissan has equipped the Sentra with all manner of available treats, including the NissanConnect infotainment package that includes features to access Goggle and Pandora, as well as manage text messages.
You'll Like This Car If...
If you're more about comfort, style and really good in-car infotainment and navigation, the 2014 Nissan Sentra beats out a number of competitors while still keeping its price low and its fuel consumption even lower.
You May Not Like This Car If...
If you like a bit more sports car in your compact, you'll likely be happier with a more powerful performance-oriented compact like the Mazda3, Ford Focus or Dodge Dart.
Nissan tweaks the 2014 Sentra with some revised tuning to its CVT transmission, suspension and steering. New features include lower front-seat storage pockets and an updated NissanConnect with Apps.
Driving the Sentra
Although we think most drivers won't take exception with how the Sentra rides and handles, enthusiasts may disagree. Even with the changes to the electric power steering and stiffened suspension,...
... the 2014 Nissan Sentra just isn't a car that begs to be tossed quickly into tight turns. Those not familiar with the workings of a continuously variable transmission (CVT) will have to relearn the feeling of forward motion, as the gearless transmission doesn't have shift points. What the CVT does do is maximize fuel economy and power, allowing the Sentra to achieve 39 mpg highway (SV) and 40 mpg on the FE+ trim. We like what Nissan has done with the electric power steering and though it's not as nicely weighted as that of the Mazda3, it's a better setup than in the Hyundai Elantra. Seat comfort and distance driving is a perfect matchup in the Sentra, and the ride over most road surfaces is smooth and controlled.
NISSANCONNECT With NIssanConnect Apps, you can use Google to send directions from your laptop to your car, listen to Pandora Internet radio and have your text messages read aloud while driving. You can even send preset replies so you don't have to take your hands off the wheel and eyes off the road.
EASY FILL TIRE ALERT Having your tires at the correct pressure is not only the best way to maximize fuel economy; it's a safety issue as well. With Nissan's Easy Fill Tire Alert you simply pump in air until you hear a brief "honk," a signal that the correct tire pressure has been reached.
2014 Nissan Sentra Details
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 back-seat drivers more legroom than some of the smaller midsize 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 midsize by the EPA.
Softly sculpted sheetmetal, substantial proportions and shiny-object LED headlight accents and taillights all combine to give the 2014 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 2014 Nissan Sentra S comes with a 6-speed manual transmission, air conditioning, a 4-speaker AM/FM/CD/aux audio system, electroluminescent gauges, power windows, power mirrors, keyless entry, basic cloth seats, 60/40 split-folding rear seat, 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 2014 Nissan Sentra SL includes 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 rearview 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 touch-screen infotainment system with all the Google, Pandora and texting goodness outlined above. The FE+ (S and SV trims) bumps fuel economy up to 40-mpg highway.
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).
With Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) tags ranging from $16,800 to more than $23,000, the 2014 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 2014 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. Remember to check the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for the 2014 Sentra.
Pros: "Price, gas mileage, spacious, comfortable."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This is a very roomy car-front seat, back seat, and trunk. The gas mileage is great. Contrary to what others have said, I get good acceleration. I have no trouble passing on rural roads or merging on to expressways, even in eco mode. The car is very comfortable. I don't even notice the CVT. It runs very smooth. This is a great car and a great value with the incentives. Not such a good value if you pay close to sticker price. I got 0% financing and $4000 off MSRP after rebates."
"I purchased this car after much research and consideration. I needed something with better gas mileage because my truck gets about 10mpg. I have always drove a truck and cars were very foreign to me. This car really has made me happy. I ultimately decided on this car because of the extra inch it sits up off the ground, 6.6 inches, as compared to al the other cars in its class, 5.5 inches. It may not seem like much but going from a lifted truck it meant a lot. Overall the exterior of the car is beautiful. It is classy and stylish but still cute and young. The led lights are a really nice touch and the silver accents on my SL model make the white really pop. My particular car came with a useless spoiler on the back which I guess is supposed to come with the SR version, and all mine does is collect dirt between it and the trunk. Otherwise the exterior is great. Inside, I chose black leather. The seats are very comfortable and adjust in all sorts of ways. The front seats will lay completely flat, which is great for more than just taking naps. You can lay the front passenger seat flat, fold the rear seat down, and now you have enough room to fit something long through the trunk and the rest of the car, super convenient! I have a beautiful color 5.1 inch display in my dash that has Nav, SXM radio, AM/FM, CD, Bluetooth, and even some apps from my phone like google search, Pandora, and facebook. The Bluetooth talking through the car on your phone is great, sound quality is excellent. I do not have the bose sound system but the factory system is excellent. Many reviews have complained that the gauges in the dash seem outdated, but I actually prefer the traditional ones to the digital ones, so it worked for me. plus the dash is beautifully lit with led lights which make it look more sophisticated. the two reading lights in the front are led and there is a very small led light that is constantly on at night which provides just enough light to easily find the cup holders or anything like that. The performance of the car is really nice to me. Some people have complained that the sentra is slow or a slug, I didn't buy a sports car, I bought a car that got great gas mileage. It has 183HP, you cant really expect 0-60 in 5 seconds. The ECO mode is great, I notice a difference when on longer drives, it is supposed to cut the gas intake by a margin so you get better fuel economy, and it does, on the highway. The ECO button isn't meant to be used in the city. The ride is smooth and the car is super quiet. The CVT transmission takes some getting used to after driving a V8 my whole life, you can watch the RPM gauge jump all over the place but you never feel or hear anything in the car. Overall, I am more than happy with my purchase and I would definitely buy this car again."