Nissan Sentra 2013

backybacky Member Posts: 18,949
The next Sentra has been unveiled, both in China as the new Sylphy, and in spy photos of the actual Sentra to be sold in the U.S. By photos and accounts it appears to be a down-sized Altima--not a bad thing! It loses the "edginess" of the current Sentra but I think has a more upscale appearance, more Infiniti-like. Looks like interior and trunk room have been improved also.

The key questions for me are, how will it drive and what will the FE be? With a rumored 1.8L GDI engine and improved CVT, I expect the 2013 Sentra to break the 40 mpg barrier as have most of its competitors. The new Altima is rated EPA 27/38, so the Sentra should do better.

Apparently the 2013 Sentra will be available in the U.S. sometime this year. That means I'll be able to consider it for my next car, which I'll be buying next year. The lease on my 2010 Sentra is up a year from now, but I'll probably take the buyout and hand it down to my daughter. It's been a good car--zero problems in 2+ years, better-than-expected FE, and a comfortable car on the highway or in town. The main thing I'd like to see Nissan address in the new Sentra, besides better FE, is more steering feel. The electric steering on my Sentra is pretty vague, although I've gotten used to it.

Link to undisguised photos of the 2013 Sentra: d/

Link to story and press release on new Nissan Sylphy (China's Sentra): d/

Link to Nissan Future Vehicles site - has teaser video on the 2013 Sentra:


  • lohralohra Member Posts: 2
    edited October 2012
    That being said, has anyone at least gotten the opportunity to test-drive one? Impression afterwards?
  • backybacky Member Posts: 18,949
    Gee, it's been out for a day, give us time, huh? ;)

    I see that a 2.0S with 6-speed is only $16,770... not a bad price. But doesn't have some equipment I'd like such as cruise. But if the stick shifts well, might be worth a look... assuming there's any of those actually built!

    Maybe my local Nissan dealer will offer me a great deal to turn in my leased 2010 2.0S. But that was a great deal itself... $179/mo, only first payment up front.

    The main strike on the Sentra for me is, no hatch available (ala Mazda3, Elantra, Focus). I'd like a hatch for my next car.
  • dodgeman07dodgeman07 Member Posts: 574
    Ditto. Any personal driving opinions yet? Reviews are mostly positive and the car looks far better than the out-going model.

    In other news; We just replaced the original tires on my mother's 2003 Sentra! Only had 51,000 miles on them and still had some tread remaining but the rubber on the sidewalls was starting to break-down. It's a great car for her to buzz around town in and has had minimal maintenance/problems in the 8 years she's driven it.
  • chsitkochsitko Member Posts: 1
    I've driven the new sentra twice and have mixed feelings about the car. The performance of the car was really lacking. I wasn't expecting much, but it was worse than i had anticipated. I was comparing the car to the 13 altima, 13 accord & 13 impreza. I was extremely impressed with the amount of room in the car. My only complaint with the interior room would be in regards to the shoulder room, while only slightly smaller than the altima & accord, it was definitely noticeable. The overall drive of the car (minus acceleration) was good and i thought it was quieter than the altima cvt. The accords cvt was the quietest of them all. I would like quicker pickup, but lets face it, the speed isn't the selling point for this car. It seems i can get the new accord for slightly over invoice, but i dont expect to many deals on the sentra since they just came out. I do prefer the in dash disaply of the nissan over the accord. The big screen upper dash on the accord is actually a negative in my mind, for a non nav car i dont see the need of such a large distracting display (and i consider myself a tech junkie!).
  • backybacky Member Posts: 18,949
    A Sentra vs. an Accord or Altima isn't really a fair fight, is it? Sentra vs. Impreza, sure, they are in the same car class.

    The new Sentra might have the lowest power (130 hp) of any car in its class. Kind of an odd direction to take, IMO. And it doesn't get better FE than cars in its class with significantly more power, e.g. Mazda3, Focus, Elantra. Plus the CVT probably saps some oomph.

    Looks nice enough, but so do several other small cars. I am taking my 2010 Sentra in for an oil change on Saturday and will see if I can grab a new Sentra for a drive. But I don't have high expectations. Plus no hatchback, unlike several competitors including the Impreza.
  • dodgeman07dodgeman07 Member Posts: 574
    I stopped by my local Nissan dealer last night; they were just closing but I was able to sit in a loaded 2013 Sentra SL. The sticker price nearly gave me a coronary (pushed $24k) but it was a loaded model with leather, nav, premium pkg, etc.

    The exterior size of the car is clearly mid-size. In fact I checked online and the new Sentra is larger than the 1993-1997 Altima! I didn't notice the cabin being narrow but no one was sitting next to me and it is classified as a compact. Interior looked very sharp and I like the exterior design as well.

    I don't have a problem with the 130hp engine. It would be fine for me and my driving habits. The real world MPG is what matters more. It's rated at 34 MPG combined and that's top of the class. If this car can average 34 MPG? I'm interested.
  • backybacky Member Posts: 18,949
    The Sentra is mid-size... for the mid-1990s. Now it's about the same size as most other compact sedans. And mid-sized cars are more like the full-sized cars of yesterday.

    CR just reported on the 2013 Altima and they averaged 31 mpg overall and 44 mpg on the highway--excellent for such a big car. If Nissan used the same tricks on the Sentra, it should be able to average 34 mpg or even more. At least, it had better do that, with 50+ fewer horses and a lot less weight than the Altima.
  • dodgeman07dodgeman07 Member Posts: 574
    Yep, the new Sentra is up there with the VW Jetta and Dodge Dart as very large compacts. Funny thing is the Civic and Corolla still look like compacts and the Focus/Cruze only slightly larger. The Dart seems "stubby" even though it is dimensionally similar to the Jetta and Sentra.

    The Jetta and Sentra have the road presence or curb appeal or whatever of a larger class of vehicle. Maybe that will pull in more buyers in the land of super-size me.
  • backybacky Member Posts: 18,949
    Likely it will be the larger interior (esp. back seat) and upscale interior bits that will pull people in.

    Probably won't be the ride/drive. C/D savaged that in their review. Praised the interior trim (compared it to an Infiniti) but complained about steering feel, ride, acceleration etc. They even said the new car felt less solid than the old one. And FE was poor (24 mpg average) but they noted they trash cars. Still, 24 mpg is not a good omen.

    We'll probably see a LOT of these on rental car lots. Which is fine with me, will probably make a decent rental. I already get Sentra rentals a lot. Not something I'd want to own, based on what I know now.
  • backybacky Member Posts: 18,949
    I drove a 2013 Sentra SV today while at my local Nissan dealership for maintenance on my 2010 Sentra 2.0S (oil/filter, inspections, tire rotation, hand wash + interior vacuum = $14.99, suchadeal). Here's my impressions:

    * Steering feel is improved over the old Sentra. The disconnected steering feel was my #1 gripe about the old Sentra, and I was glad to see Nissan addressed this. The main difference I found was, driving down the highway, the car tracked straight without constant inputs from me--much firmer feel than before.
    * Fuel economy also seems improved, albeit it was not a long test drive. However, I averaged 38.8 mpg per the computer on a mix of suburban streets (with some stop and go) and a freeway driving at ~60 mph. I used my usual light foot, keeping revs as low as possible. At 60, they were a bit over 1500 rpm, about the same as on my 2010. I have no doubt that with a light foot, the EPA numbers can be met if not exceeded. However, with the low power and torque, I expect that those with a heavier foot could have trouble hitting the EPA numbers.
    * Power was... well, let's just say the couple times I did push it, there was a lot of noise and not much action. Since I am easy on the pedal, that wouldn't be an issue for me, but could be for others.
    * Cabin was quiet while cruising on the highway, with only thumps from tar strips etc. intruding. Engine was muted, as long as you're cruising and not accelerating.
    * Ride seemed a little firmer than on my 2010. That showed up in less body lean in cloverleafs and turns (good), and noticing small bumps more (bad). Overall I think the new ride is a good tradeoff, as I think the old Sentra leans too much.
    * The interior is well-executed overall, especially the dash which I think is one of the nicest looking in the class, and door panels with rich-looking pulls and REALLY thick armrest cushions--elbows appreciated them! Plusses include a more flexible multi-display with a handy control on the steering wheel, nicely padded dash, and a good-looking and feeling wheel. But Nissan ditched some features I like on the old Sentra, such as the clever adjustable cup holders, the HUGE glove box, and the simple and large tri-rotary HVAC controls (replaced by two small knobs and several buttons). Also, on the SV there's no iPod plug as on my 2010 S, just an aux input. The radio is really basic compared to some competitors, with a small display. And, no Bluetooth on this nearly $19,000 car, unlike several competitors for similar bucks.
    * Driving position and comfort were acceptable but not great. The seat didn't feel as comfortable as in my 2010--I felt as if I were sitting ON the seat vs. IN the seat. But thigh support was OK, and the wheel seemed to telescope further than on my 2010. Fabric (kind of a velour) seemed durable and was grippy.
    * Back seat leg room is improved over the old Sentra, with plenty of knee room in my sit-behind-myself test (I'm 5'9"), but my feet were stopped by the seat bottom earlier than I'd like, so I didn't have as much thigh support as I wanted. Headroom was fine for me in back. Nice cushy armrests back there as up front. A couple of odd cut-outs in the back of the center console that didn't seem to be good for holding anything, but more like "let's fill these holes with cutouts vs. covers".
    * Exterior-wise, I thought the car (in dark grey) looked good, more upscale than the rather odd looking old Sentra. The descriptions of a baby Altima are apt I think. The LED driving lamps and tail lamps look cool. The plastic wheel covers aren't as good looking as those on my 2010, but they're good enough to not make me shell out the extra bucks for alloys. Also, Nissan addressed another gripe I had on the old Sentra: the exterior mirrors fold now!
    * Trunk looked roomy, with an honest-to-goodness spare tire (space-saver type) under the cover. And there's a remote trunk release now (yay!). But one big let-down compared to my 2010: the back seat bottom doesn't fold forward to provide a flat load floor as on my 2010. Instead, the seatback simply flops forward, with a big step-up between the trunk and seat back. The seat backs are relatively flat, at least. A bit of cost-cutting there (maybe weight-cutting too). I really liked the fold-flat feature and it was pretty rare in this class of sedans--usually only see it on hatchbacks, and then not many hatchbacks.

    Overall, I think it's an improvement over the previous Sentra. Should get excellent fuel economy when driven with a light foot, steering is improved, nice looking car inside and out, and Nissan addressed some of my gripes from the previous generation. But I don't think it will be any fun to drive (not that the old Sentra is fun to drive, but I'm looking for something more fun to drive for my next car). And the biggest problem for me is, it doesn't come in a hatchback (duh). Since I can get a more-fun-to-drive hatch with excellent fuel economy for about the same money as the Sentra, and with some features not on the Sentra SV such as Bluetooth and USB port, I think I'll pass on this one.
  • dodgeman07dodgeman07 Member Posts: 574
    Nice review. Thank you. The SL interior looks straight out of an Infiniti. Gorgeous and best in class IMO.

    I'm not sold on CVTs yet but they are getting better and better.
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