2017 Nissan Sentra 1.6 SR Turbo Quick Take

By Matt DeLorenzo on November 8, 2016 9:00 AM
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Nissan has a long history of sport sedans going way back to the original 510. It’s looking to regain a bit of that luster by massaging the recently facelifted Sentra by offering a new SR Turbo version that packs more punch and backs it up with improved handling. It’s a potent package that won’t bust the budget.

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Nissan has a long history of sport sedans going way back to the original 510. Looking to regain a bit of that luster, it expanded the recently facelifted Sentra lineup with  a new SR Turbo version that packs more punch and backs it up with improved handling. It’s a potent package that won’t bust the budget.

Previous SR efforts, most notably in the midsize Altima, focused primarily on appearance and tightening up the suspension a bit with minimal tweaks to the powertrain. The 2017 Nissan Sentra SR Turbo goes much further by adapting the 1.6-liter boosted engine from the Juke. This infusion bumps output to 188 horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque compared to the 124/125 stats in a base Sentra. While not quite the 210 horses you get from the turbocharged 2.0-liter in the Jetta GLI, this extra power is cleanly delivered to the front wheels via a slick-shifting 6-speed manual gearbox, a big step up from the standard Sentra’s continuously variable automatic transmission. 

Taut road manners

Nissan went beyond the usual revisions to spring rates and shock settings to make this more powerful engine feel at home beneath the hood of the SR Turbo. It added additional stiffening in the structure to provide a more solid base for the retuned suspension. Their efforts paid off in a car that’s nimble, rigid and easy to drive quickly with minimal body lean. In everyday driving, the ride is smooth and controlled. Not quite as compliant as the standard Sentra, the car’s relatively long wheelbase does a lot to make ride comfort and handling feel more like what you’d expect from an entry in the next class up.

Speaking of the next class up, the Sentra comes with a lengthy list of standard features you wouldn’t necessarily expect in a compact car starting at $21,990. The SR has 17-inch alloy wheels, power sunroof, 5.0-inch color display, rear view camera, Bluetooth, leather-wrapped steering wheel, cruise control and appearance items like a rear decklid spoiler and chrome exhaust tips. The only option on our test vehicle was $200 in floor and trunk mats. Destination is $865, for a total price of $23,055.

Also: Class of 2017 - New Cars Ready to Roll

The 2017 Nissan Sentra 1.6 SR Turbo is not quite yet on the same level as the Jetta GLI or Ford Focus ST, but it is getting there and delivering much improved performance at an attractive price. It’s a great first step. Now let’s see if Nissan decides to take it further with the full NISMO treatment to put it in the same league of legendary pocket rockets.


 

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