First Drive of all-new 2013 Nissan Sentra

Sedans Nissan Cars

Images by Author

Our recent trip to California with Nissan was a two-part launch program. The first I already brought you in the form of the all-new, unibody-once-again, three-row Pathfinder.

The second is the 2013 Sentra compact sedan. Nissan wants to be your sedan destination and part of that, a big part, is this seventh-generation model.

Sedans Nissan Cars   Sedans Nissan Cars

The compact segment is now second in total vehicle sales overall, growing to more than 2 million units per year with much of the competition already launching new units or rolling them out soon. Nissan has sold more than 4.3 million Sentras over the past 30 years, and Sentra is a solid Global marque for the brand.

Sentra arrives as the third of five totally made over models from Nissan, and like the Altima and Pathfinder before it, Sentra rolls in with new features; it is roomier, more efficient, and lighter while featuring the new design language of the automaker.

Sedans Nissan Cars   Sedans Nissan Cars   Sedans Nissan Cars

What this means for Sentra is an all-new CVT gearbox, shedding 150 lbs., significantly improving drag coefficient (.29 versus .34 previously), more rear seat legroom, more trunk space, and 13 percent better fuel economy.

At the heart of the new Sentra is an all-new 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine generating 130hp and 128 lb. ft. of torque back by six-speed manual gearbox or next-generation CVT with wider gear ratio, lower weight, and reduced friction. All of this adds up to some 30 mpg city and 39 mpg highway (40 mpg with the FE+ model).

Sedans Nissan Cars   Sedans Nissan Cars   Sedans Nissan Cars   Sedans Nissan Cars

All new Sentras offer three drive modes – Normal, Eco, and Sport – that alter throttle response and transmission tuning. Eco mode also reduces AC draw on the engine.

One look at the competition tells the tale that designers are brought into the fold more and more for the segment, as the days of the econobox are gone and customers demand style with their value. The new Sentra mimics big brother Altima in many ways and features modern styling cues including lower roofline, revised beltline, and LED lighting front and rear.

Sedans Nissan Cars   Sedans Nissan Cars   Sedans Nissan Cars   Sedans Nissan Cars   Sedans Nissan Cars

Interior design echoes the attention given the outside of the new Sentra bringing comfort, style, and convenience to the premium level, and the 2013 model is tops or near the top in all areas of interior roominess.

Nissan offers the 2013 Sentra in five models: S, SV, SR, SL, and FE+ (on S or SV trim levels). SV is the upgrade over base, while SR brings a sport appearance package, and SL is the cream of the crop in amenities. Four option packages bring owner customization to even greater levels.

Pricing begins at $15,990, with the SL starting at $19,760. The miserly FE+ package will cost you an extra 400 bucks and destination and delivery charges are an additional $780.

Sedans Nissan Cars   Sedans Nissan Cars   Sedans Nissan Cars   Sedans Nissan Cars   Sedans Nissan Cars   Sedans Nissan Cars

We spent time with the new Sentra in California as we traveled from the Bay Area to beautiful Napa Valley, testing a variety of packages and model levels. We found the 2013 to be everything Nissan led us to believe; it was quiet, comfortable, spacious, and had plenty of power when we needed it.

For those seeking power and sport, well, Nissan makes other vehicles for that. But for individuals or beginning families seeking value, comfort, quality, and style; I suggest you check out the 2013 Sentra, it just might surprise you.

Sedans Nissan Cars   Sedans Nissan Cars   Sedans Nissan Cars   Sedans Nissan Cars   Sedans Nissan Cars   Sedans Nissan Cars   Sedans Nissan Cars

About the Author

David Goodspeed
David was editor of AutoworldToday at Today Newspapers in the Dallas suburbs until its closing in 2009. He was also webmaster and photographer/videographer. He got started doing photography for the newspaper while working as a firefighter/paramedic in one of his towns, and began working for the newspaper group full-time in 1992. David entered automotive journalism in 1998 and became AutoworldToday editor in 2002. On the average, he drives some 100 new vehicles each year. He enjoys the great outdoors and as an avid fly fisherman, as is his spouse Tish. He especially enjoys nature photography and is inspired by the works of Ansel Adams.