Nissan Previews 2013 Sentra
The competition in the compact car segment has become fierce, with many automakers making strong attempts to unseat the perennial class leaders, the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla. So strong, in fact, that Honda is hastening a mid-cycle refresh of its roundly-panned latest generation Civic, and Toyota has promised a much less boring Corolla. Look to the boldly styled Hyundai Elentra, Euro-inspired Ford Focus, and Alfa Romeo-based Dodge Dart as evidence of the importance of the segment.
The latest to stride into this red-hot arena is the 2013 Nissan Sentra. Expected to go on sale in October, the recently previewed Sentra looks to make a dent in the leaders’ sales figures. Nissan clearly has adopted the “different size slices from the same loaf” styling strategy that worked so well for BMW for many years, as the new Sentra has a very strong family resemblance to the latest Altima, which in turn owed much of its visual character to the Maxima. Not that this is a bad thing, mind you. The Altima has been a hot seller, and the new Sentra has an upscale presence that belies its compact size.
"The 2013 Nissan Sentra is the most revolutionary design in the nameplate's 30-year history, a worthy addition to what is without question the most innovative, highest quality, highest value sedan lineup in Nissan history," said Al Castignetti, vice president and general manager, Nissan Division, Nissan North America, Inc. "With the complete redesign for 2013, Sentra is closer in look and feel to Altima than a typical compact sedan.”
The interior continues the theme of sophistication with a subtly styled dashboard and soft-touch materials. A wide variety of standard and available comfort and convenience doo-dads keep pace with the other segment offerings. The NissanConnect system gives you Bluetooth connectivity, Pandora radio, hands-free texting, and other high-tech wonders.
In addition to the brand new body, the Sentra features an all-new drivetrain. The 1.8 liter DOHC 4-cylinder mill with variable valve timing is good for 130 horsepower and 128 lb-ft of torque, and the Xtronic CVT promises efficient transmission of that power.
Despite growing in length, the 2013 Sentra has managed to shed 150 pounds. The weight loss, along with improved aerodynamics and the aforementioned new drivetrain allows the Sentra to achieve excellent gas mileage: 39 mpg highway, 30 city, and a class-leading 34 combined.
"In the race for fuel economy bragging rights sometimes what gets lost in the mix is drivability. Sentra's new engine and advanced CVT design are perfectly matched to provide the best of both mpg and driving enjoyment - smooth, quiet and efficient operation around town or highway cruising, responsive acceleration and excellent mpg and driving range," said Castignetti.