The Nissan Sentra is powered by an advanced 1.8L 4-cylinder engine making 130 horsepower. While all trim models use the same engine, the base transmission is a 6-speed manual. S models and above however, feature a continuously variable transmission (CVT) which helps improve fuel economy. Regardless of transmission choice, the Sentra is extremely good on fuel, with ratings of at least 30 mpg in combined city and highway driving even on manual transmission equipped cars.
The 2016 Sentra is divided into five different trim levels, starting with the base S model. Though obviously fairly basic, the S does include several nice features and amenities. Standard items include Bluetooth connectivity, remote entry and trunk release, power door locks, mirrors and windows, cruise control, automatic headlights, speed sensitive volume control for the stereo and an auxiliary input jack.
The next step up in the Sentra range is the FE+ S. As the name would imply, the FE+ S is similar to the S, but focus' more on fuel economy. While amenities between the two trims are similar, the FE+ S also includes a CVT transmission, underbody aerodynamics, a rear spoiler and low rolling resistance tires. It's a combination that produces an EPA highway rating of 40 mpg.
The Sentra SV costs just a bit more than the FE+ S, but ditches the aerodynamics and low rolling resistance tires in favor of more upscale features. The SV comes with NissanConnect with Mobile Apps, a 5-inch color display, audio streaming via Bluetooth, premium cloth seats and door trim and a smart key with push button start.
The Sentra SR looks significantly sharper than lesser Sentra models, thanks primarily to the 17" alloy wheels and LED headlights. It also gets the rear spoiler from the FE+ S model and heated front seats.
The top of the line Sentra SL includes everything that comes on the SV along with leather seating surfaces, dual-zone climate control and fog lights. Starting at $22,170, the Sentra SL makes for a compelling alternative to smaller, premium cars such as base model MINI Coopers. Even at its highest price point, the Sentra still offers a decent value.
Several new safety features are available on the Sentra in 2016. A blind spot warning system helps when changing lanes, while a rear cross traffic alert system makes backing out of parking spots less of a shot in the dark. Other technology driven safety features available on the Sentra include a forward emergency braking system and intelligent cruise control. Both systems use radar mounted at the front of the car to help avoid accidents.
High End Styling, Technology Laden Interior, Sporty Demeanor, Reasonable Pricing, Roomy Interior
The Sentra is all new this year. The most obvious changes are to the exterior of the car, which now resembles a miniature Maxima. Nissan's distinctive styling adds an upscale feel to the Sentra which carries over to the redesigned interior, highlighted by a high-resolution digital instrument display. Overall, the new Sentra looks sophisticated, smooth and just a little bit sporty, promising to offer just about everything needed from a car at a price that won't break the bank.
The Sentra is a compact car, competing with heavy hitters such as the Honda Civic, the Toyota Corolla, the VW Golf and the Ford Focus. With so much competition in the compact segment, the Sentra stands out with its maturity and upscale feel. As is increasingly becoming a trend these days, the Sentra can be optioned up to near luxury-car levels of technology and features, however with a base price of well under $17,000, it still manages to be affordable enough for most buyers.