James Flammang, Contributing Editor -January 19, 2016
A longtime participant in the compact-sedan segment, the Nissan Sentra remains an appealing choice for the economy-oriented buyer. In addition to good fuel efficiency, you get plenty of rear seat space -- an attribute that’s lacking in a number of compact (and larger) sedans. Value-priced option packages are another bonus, at least for upper trim levels.
What's New for 2016
Sentras gained a mild refresh for the 2016 model year, including revised exterior styling and newly available active-safety technology, such as blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, and adaptive cruise control. The new front fascia is clearly influenced by larger Nissan models, including the Maxima. Highlights include a V-shaped chrome grille, boomerang-shaped headlights and taillamps, and new 17-inch alloy wheel design. Upper trims get LED headlights.
Choosing Your Nissan Sentra
All Sentras continue to come with a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 130 horsepower and 128 pound-feet of torque. Those who like to shift for themselves can still have a six-speed manual gearbox -- but only on the base S model, where a continuously variable transmission (CVT) is optional. All other trim levels come with the CVT as standard equipment. With CVT, fuel economy is estimated at 29 mpg in city driving and 38 mpg on the highway (32 mpg combined).
Five trim levels are available:
Style Package adds a moonroof and 16-inch alloy wheels.
All Weather Pacakage adds heated mirrors and front seats.
Driver's Assist Package includes navigation, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert.
In our view, a mid-range S or SV offers the best value for the Sentra's target buyer. We can't fault Nissan for putting so much into the SR and SL, for only a few thousand dollars more. Still, their prices almost push the Sentra into competition with more premium-level competitors.