2013 Nissan Sentra
Nissan is no stranger to the compact sedan segment as their Sentra has been with us for nearly thirty years. But as rivals begin to offer dynamic redesigns, with increasing performance and efficiency, the seventh-gen 2013 Nissan Sentra is faced with the stiffest competition yet.
Styling is very mature. More Altima than the youthful looks of the Honda Civic and Hyundai Elantra, both of which already out-sell the Sentra. There is a lot of Altima influence on the interior as well, although we think the Sentra makes better use of dash space with direct no-nonsense displays and controls. Staffers love the above average passenger room, and downright huge trunk.
The lone Sentra engine is a 1.8 liter inline 4, rated at 130 horsepower. While low compared to rivals, there’s enough pep to allow for some spirited scooting around town. The smooth CVT automatic is standard on all but the base model; it saps a little fun, but returns great fuel economy. A Combined rating of 34 MPG is best in class.
A new electronic power steering system keeps things light. Sentra’s sturdy, composed handling delighted us as well. However, a fairly stiff street ride seemed out of keeping with the cushy interior. Still, the Sentra feels firmly planted on any road, despite its small size, and 150 pounds of weight loss over last year.
Beginning at a bargain price of $17,000, the 2013 Nissan Sentra strikes us as something other than a me-too compact four door. It’s a small sedan that thinks bigger. And, it’s available now.
Engine: 1.8 liter inline 4
Price: Beginning at $17,000