"I had been reading up and interested in the all-new Sentra 2013 online since its oversea version was first introduced as the name of Sylphy, and way before Nissan unveiled it in US. The reason being was because I was driving a Sentra 2008, which BTW is a great commute car, and was looking to upgrade to a new commute car with good MPG. The inside-out redesign of Sentra 2013 peaked my interest with its new engine, new CVT transmission, and all new interior / exterior. So, when these Sentra hit the dealers around 10/16/2012, I got one of the first few in DFW area.
After calling up local Nissan dealers and checking out a very first Sentra 2013 SR available in DFW area, I was however so disappointed. The interior of the SR model looks and feels cheaply made. The craftmanship, materials and color (charcoal interior) made me feel I rather sit and drive in my old Sentra 2008. This first impression was bad enough that made me feel not even like to test drive the car, though I did to sastify the saleman. A week later I decided to give it a second chance as another dealer contacted me to check out couple Sentra 2013 they just received. I was in love as I cheched out and tested drive the Sentra 2013 SL trim with Navigation package (with Marble gray interior). I really don't know what was going on, but this SL model made the SR one I tried earlier looks like a fake or defective fist batch of Sentra 2013. Anyway, below are what I feel about the car after over two months driving it.
Exterior: The overall exterior looks very style and seems bigger than the actual size of the car. First glance makes you feel it is mid-size sedan. The SL trim comes with alloy wheels, fog lights, auto headight, the turn-signal lights on outside mirrors and front / back LED lights make it looks like one of those luxury cars
Interior: The SL trim comes with premium cloth and maple wood trim which seems to make a huge difference comparing to that of the SR model I tried, especially in marble gray color. Plus, the leather-wrap steering wheel and shift node, soft touch interior, intelligent key, dual-zone temperature that come with the trim combined with the voice activate bluetooth, navigation system, backup camera in the Navigation package make you feel like you are in a much more expensive luxury car. The heating vents under front seats come handy in the cold weather for passensers in the back seats. The ceiling pad however is made of cheap material that looks and feels like carboard. Front seats don't seem to have thick padding to provide comfort for long trip. However, the driver seat and the steering wheel adjustments can be adjusted to fit all driver sizes. You can also adjust the driver seat to lift UP to sitting position like those in SUVs and for better driving view. For the back seats, there is plenty of leg room. My small 5'2" wife is able to fit in comfortly between the two boosters on the back seat, and that she and the kids can get in/out easily with the roomy leg room. The compartment is kinda small comparing to that of my 2008 Sentra. Trunk space is surpisely huge. It comes with emergency release and can be remotely opened with the intelligent key. Dashboard looks sporty and control buttons are well laid out(except for the 3 driving mode ones). The stereo on the SL trim comes with 6 speakers provide good audio. It also supports MP3 CDs as well as provide USB and AUX ports for additional audio / music source. It also can synch and play music from bluetooth support devices. The touch screen navigator works and operate awesome comparing to those portable ones available at retail stores. The voice activation is not that accurate (could be because of my accent); however, it at least allow you to train/record names for quick phone dial. It also comes with other features that I didn't have a chance to play with.
Driving: Though come with a new small 1.8L engine, the Sentra 2013 is very responsive in acceleration, smooth and quiet due to the new CVT transmission with higher ratio comparing to my old Sentra 2008. Many people (including myself) performed the test drive without aware the availability of the 3 driving modes (Normal, Eco, and Sport buttons on the dashboard, underneath left of the steering wheel) the new Sentra (all trim) supports. Beside the normal mode, the Sport mode give more throttle and better response making you feel like driving on a V6 or V8 car needing to zip through peak-hour traffic. This is overcome the lack of responsive I found on CVT transmission in general, or my old Sentra 2008 in particular. In contrast, the ECO mode provide less throttle and automatically turn off AC if the car is being idle, which in turn provide better MPG.
Gas mileage: The Sentra 2013 rated for 30/39 (city/highway) MPG. However, I believe it is underrated, depend on your commute and driving hobby. In my daily city commute to work, I typically get about 34-36MPG. If I cruise on highway at around 60Mph and with ECO mode on, I can get up to 44MPG. However, I found the MPG drops significantly if driving over 70Mph on ECO mode due to lach of power. Switching to Normal mode would give more power to ease push the speed to more than 70Mph and MPG is about 38-40MPG. My Sentra 2013 seems to provide best MPG with Exxon regular 87 gasoline. I tried other super 93 gasoline from both Exxon, Chevron, and other brands but resulted in lower MPG by surprise. Another tip I found is that the Sentra provdes better MPG with the first 2-3 gallons out of the full gas tank. After that, the MPG starts dropping. This also applied to my old Sentra 2008. I guess this is because it has something to do with the gas tank is part of the gas system of the car.
Reliability: Since I only own this car for over two months, I cannot rate its reliability. I'll probably update the review after thowing around 50k miles on it.
After all, if you are looking for a good car for typical daily commute, Sentra 2013 may be a perfect one. With only about 20k, you can have a almost loaded Sentra 2013 that looks and feels like a 30-40k luxury cars, while provide great MPG that is nearly available only on Hybrid cars."
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