Entry-level sedan adopts the family look while dropping weight
Nissan is ready to introduce another new model into its vehicle lineup. This time, it's the compact Nissan Sentra that's getting the update treatment. The four-door fuel-efficient sedan receives a slew of upgrades that range from the exterior lines, all the way into the upgraded interior and reworked powertrain. On the outside, the Sentra receives a makeover that brings it in line with its larger Altima and Maxima siblings. Inside, Nissan has created what it's referring to as a premium, class-above interior. Essentially, this means you'll find soft-touch materials used throughout the cabin, while features such as optional leather seating and upmarket tech can find their way on to the order sheet.
The 2013 Sentra isn't just about improved interior and exterior lines though, because Nissan has fitted the car with a brand-new 1.8-liter engine. This inline-four-cylinder motor is a dual-overhead cam unit that benefits from variable valve timing and reduced internal friction. It's rated to produce 130 horsepower and 128 pound-feet of torque. When paired with the latest-generation CVT (Countinously Variable Transmission), the Sentra is rated to produce an EPA-estimated 30 miles per gallon in the city and 39 miles per gallon on the highway. FE+ trim models can expect to hit 40 miles per gallon thanks to a few addiotional tweaks. Additionally, all Sentra models should perform well not just because of the engine and transmission package, but because Nissan was able to reduce the car's curb weight by 150 pounds.
A new engine and transmission are a nice boost for the 2013 Sentra. Likewise, the upgraded interior and exterior are a delight to the eye. It's the features, both standard and optional, that are what many will really find appealing. At the very basic level, items such as a tilt-and-telescop steering wheel, power windows with one-touch driver's up and down, and remote keyless entry and trunk release seem fairly pedestrian. However, these are class-leading amenities that should be quite welcome on a vehicle like the Sentra.
The features list just gets better from there though, because dual-zone climate control is now available for the first time ever on the Sentra. Nissan is also offering a Bose premium audio system that boasts an amplifier and eight speakers. You can enjoy that unit with the available iPod connector or by scrolling through to your favorite SIRIUS satellite radio station.
Should you desire a little bit more from the Sentra, Nissan has you covered. The NissanConnect Navigation system plops a 5.8-inch touchscreen into the center stack, and this unit does more than simply provide directions. Hands-free text messaging will allow you to receive your text messages without touching your phone. NavTraffic and NavWeather will make sure you take the best route and warn you of possible weather alerts in your area. Finally, you can tune in to your favorite music by streaming music wirelessly with your Bluetooth-enabled device or by logging in to Pandora.