CleanMPG First Drive Review of the 2013 Nissan Sentra

Discussion in 'Reviews' started by xcel, Nov 8, 2012.

  1. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    [​IMG]Nissan finally gets serious about its C-segment offering.

    [fimg=left][/fimg]Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG - Nov. 8, 2012

    2013 Nissan Sentra -- $15,990 to start with the 6-speed stick and sports a 30/40 mpgUS city/highway rating in FE + trim with the CVT.

    Following on the heels of the very thrifty, well appointed and affordable all-new 2013 Altima, the all new 2013 Sentra provides all of that and more! For less.

    The all-new Sentra is 150 pounds lighter and more aerodynamic than the previous generation and with its completely revamped Xtronic CVT, Nissan was able to use a more fuel-efficient 130 HP 1.8L vs. the 140 HP 2.0L shod in current Sentra’s for approximately the same straight-line performance and competitive within the C-segment ranks. The 1.8L and CVT together provide a remarkable 13 percent improvement in EPA combined fuel economy over the 2.0L predecessor.

    With the FE+ models, Sentra achieves up to 40 mpg on the highway. Where the Sentra is going to shine is that all models equipped with CVTs achieve a best-in-class EPA rated 34 mpg combined (City and Highway).

    2013 Nissan Sentra Specifications

    The 2013 Nissan Sentra is available in four trim levels, S, SV, SR and SL with the SV and SL available with a fuel economy package . Complete specifications, pricing, standard and optional equipment can be found on the 2013 Nissan Sentra Specifications page.

    [fimg=right][/fimg]2013 Nissan Sentra Exterior Design

    Headlight DRL LED accent.

    The all-new Sentra's incorporates Nissan's signature trapezoid-shaped grille and large wraparound headlights with a twist. It now includes an “Audiesque” LED headlight accents as standard equipment. In the rear, LED taillights are standard.

    The new Sentra's chromed beltline has been lowered offering more greenhouse and a new character line has been added that rolls off the front fender flare and finishes at the sculpted rear wraparound taillights and trunklid like no other Sentra before it. The entire day light opening has been trimmed in chrome adding to the C-Segment luxury appearance. On the bottom, a lower sill sculpted cutout adds to its attractiveness.

    Other exterior features include chrome door handles and accents, available heated outside mirrors with integrated turn signals, and available sport front and rear fascias and rear spoiler. None of those final pieces were mentioned to help or harm fuel economy.

    The coefficient of drag (Cd) has been significantly reduced to 0.29 from the previous 0.34 which of course allows some of its 40 mpg highway capability.

    The all-new Sentra with its large chrome grille, LED accents, flowing profile and upscale alloys looks even better in person.​

    2013 Nissan Sentra - Inside it is even better

    The Sentra's new look includes a completely revamped and higher quality softer touch interior, well padded driver's door armrest, available leather-appointed seating and available Maple wood-tone trim. The instrument panel curves out towards the doors and features what Nissan is calling “Fine Vision electroluminescent gauges” that are backlit even in daylight, providing a high-quality look that is also easy to read.

    The rear seat is a standard 60/40 split folding design, offering versatile access to the trunk.

    The new Sentra also provides one of the largest interior volumes in the C-segment at 95.9 cu. ft. Along with ample rear seat legroom and a whopping 15.1 cu. ft. of cargo volume in what has to be a rather large trunk just missing the “Best-in-Class” Cruze’s 15.4 cu. ft. Sitting in the back seat, it is easily the largest with almost 3 in of knee/legroom when setting up the front for my 6 ft. frame and immediately moving to the rear seat.

    One of the best looking C-segment interiors that just so happens to be comfortable for the long road ahead.

    There is plenty of room back there!

    C-Segment Competitive Comparisons

    YearMakeModelEngineHPTorque (lb-ft.)mpgUS (city/highway)Weight (lbs)Wheelbase (in)Length (in)Width (in)Height (in)Passenger Volume (cu. ft.)Cargo Volume (cu. ft.)
    2013NissanSentra1.8L13012830/392,750 – 2,850106.3182.169.358.995.915.1

    2013ChevroletCruze1.8L13812522/353,093 – 3,102105.7181.070.758.19515.4
    2013FordFocus2.0L16014627/372,907 – 2,935104.3178.571.857.790.213.2
    2013HondaCivic1.8L14012828/392,608 – 2,795105.1177.369.056.594.612.5
    2013HyundaiElantra1.8L14813128/382,661 – 2,877106.3178.369.956.595.614.8
    2012Mazda32.0L15514828/402,950 – 2,969103.9180.969.157.994.111.8

    2013 Nissan Sentra Ride and Handling

    This is where the Sentra falls a little flat. While the Sentra is certainly composed as you approach its adhesion limits, its steering is a bit vague and body roll is prominent only for the first few degrees. Then it tightens up and holds like a Nissan is expected. Overall I am actually glad it is suspended softer than some of its competitors as it provides a comfortable ride for hours vs. the few seconds you may actually push one to its limits during hard cornering.

    2013 Nissan Sentra Fuel Economy Preview Results

    This is an area where all-new Sentra exceeds many of its competitor’s capabilities but only ties that of the Honda Civic EX-L with NAVI and its conventional 5-speed automatic. The result shown above was a 25 mile RT loop without any averaging fuel consumption display or odometer/Trip A/B calibration. That said, while most would be ecstatic to achieve this all highway result using just basic techniques, given the wonderful temperatures, I expected more. The much larger and more powerful 2013 Altima offered 64.6 mpg over a 115 + mile RT drive loop while the much lighter and smaller Sentra barely bested that. This is a good result and beats most of the AT equipped competitors. With atkinsonized intakes, Civics with AT’s are really efficient. If only the Sentra’s 1.8L was equipped as such it would provide even more.


    2013 Nissan Sentra Early Conclusions

    With not enough time with the 6-speed manual and the good but not outstanding fuel economy results from the non FE + variants with the CVT, I am very much looking forward to spending some time behind the wheel of the stick and FE +.

    From an exterior aesthetic point of view, the all-new Sentra takes a back seat to nobody. As a sedan, only the Elantra’s swoopy Fluidic Sculptured curves can match. While not a ground breaking design, there is enough modern design elements providing a more expensive car look without the inflated price tag.

    Inside it is very comfortable with plenty of room for those in the rear. Nissan knows how to make its back seat passengers happy and they did not miss a beat with the design of the all-new Sentra. On the Noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) front, only when you step into it do you hear the 1.8L drone at 6,500 + RPM all the while the CVT is slowly moving the steel belt up from the low gearing sheave positions to the tall ratio ones. With a competitive 0 to 60 time, you will only hear this for the few seconds it takes to accelerate to 60 mph on an uphill on-ramp. Once to 60 mph however, the CVT’s 1,600 RPM at 60 mph (ScanGauge indicated) cruise keeps it quiet for the long hours some will spend on the highway.

    What is not to like about a nice looking small sedan at an affordable price that just so happens to provide near best in class fuel economy. If current actual consumer pricing for the larger 2013 Altima is any indication, the all-new 2013 Sentra will have $2 to $3,000 USD taken off its MSRP and at that price, an SV FE + with the Driver Package would look really nice in my own drive!

    The all-new 2013 Sentra is a classy looking compact that is not only efficient
    but also affordable if you are careful with the trim and option checkboxes.​
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2012
  2. RedylC94

    RedylC94 Well-Known Member

    Re: CleanMPG Previews the 2013 Nissan Sentra

    Doesn't the Elantra MPG need updating in that table?
  3. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Re: CleanMPG Previews the 2013 Nissan Sentra

    Hi RedylC94:

    Whaa , whaa do you mean specs. What table? I just added the Mazda3 specs as well... Yeah it is fixed now ;)

  4. WriConsult

    WriConsult Super Moderator

    Re: CleanMPG Previews the 2013 Nissan Sentra

    Do we know the MT's official MT numbers yet?

    30/40 from the CVT is laudable, but as Wayne and I have talked about before you have to focus on a steady foot and DWL with Nissan's CVTs, and forget about doing much HS-P&G. Drop it back into gear after N-coasting, and it initially goes into a fairly short gear and revs up for a couple seconds before settling down into a taller gear, throwing away a lot of momentum. That is, unless they've changed how it works for this gen.
  5. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Re: CleanMPG Previews the 2013 Nissan Sentra

    Hi Dan:

    The MT's, CVT's and FE + CVTs FE were posted in the spec sheet.

    6-Speed Manual (City/Highway): 27/36 mpgUS
    CVT Automatic (City/Highway): 30/39 mpgUS
    FE + CVT Automatic (City/Highway): 30/40 mpgUS

    If you are really careful, you can shift into a NICE-On and back but most will never get this right so instead they will have to rely on the CVT's > 7.0:1 ratio to provide a low RPM steady state cruise of sorts while we rely on DWL. The route I was on for the non-calibrated steady state and maximum FE was so damn flat you could not take advantage of but a single glide over tens of miles.

  6. herm

    herm Well-Known Member

    Re: CleanMPG Previews the 2013 Nissan Sentra

    The whole point of a wide ratio CVT is automatic driving-with-load, the transmission always finds the perfect gear.. at least it should be done this way if the driver selects economy mode vs FSP mode.

    Another thing every manufacturer should implement is that automatic FAS that the Jetta Hybrid does.

    Amazing how fast auto tech is changing.
  7. WriConsult

    WriConsult Super Moderator

    Re: CleanMPG Previews the 2013 Nissan Sentra

    True herm, this can work perfectly as long as the engine isn't too overpowered and is just loafing, since the whole point of P&G is to keep the engine in its optimal BSFC zone
  8. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Re: CleanMPG Previews the 2013 Nissan Sentra

    Hi All:

    Regarding the all-new 2013 Sentra's infotainment system, I found out today that it was supplied by Bosch.

    Bosch partnered with Nissan for the second time offering its connected infotainment system with navigation functionality. NissanConnect with Navigation is reveled through the 5.8 in 480x272 color touch-screen monitor and is offered as an option on the 2013 Nissan Sentra. This system offers drivers convenience and entertainment including access to Google local search and send-to-car navigation, Pandora Radio and text messaging capability.

    Building on the success of the navigation system Bosch debuted in 2010, the company worked closely with Nissan to develop the Sentra’s connected car system featuring USB, multimedia devices and Bluetooth connectivity.

    In addition to communication and entertainment features, the system provides traffic and weather reports as well as an eco-route setting, enabling drivers to plan their route in a way that will reduce fuel consumption.

    NissanConnect with Navigation also is available as an option on the very nice 2013 Nissan Altima.

  9. jcp123

    jcp123 Caliente!

    Watched MotorWeek last night and they were pretty sweet on it. They weren't fans of a ride they said was too stiff for the otherwise more luxurious feel of this little car, but they loved its accomodations, solid handling, smooth CVT and big trunk.
  10. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi jcp123:

    I thought the ride was fine but the engine was not nearly as smooth as the 2.5L in the Altima.

    A little something extra for the review...

    For drivers in the majority of states that require headlight use in rain and inclement weather, Nissan has widened the availability of its Smart Auto Headlights to its Altima, Pathfinder and now Sentra models. Smart Auto Headlights automatically turning on the vehicle's headlights when the wipers are activated, or in low light conditions.

    2013 US Headlight Regulation infographic


  11. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi All:

    For the 2014 MY, the Nissan Sentra is slated to receive a few enhancements of its own.
    • Revised CVT transmission tuning
    • Revised steering and suspension tuning
    • Sliding front armrest now standard on SL grade and added to SV/SR Driver Package
    • New front seat lower cushion storage pockets standard on all models
    • Updated NissanConnect with Navigation with all-new NissanConnect Apps smartphone integration for iPhone and Android, improved voice recognition and one-shot destination entry
    • Auto Hazard Warning Signal added
    • Offered in seven models, each equipped with a standard 1.8-liter DOHC 4-cylinder engine and next-generation Xtronic CVT (except S 6MT): S 6MT, S CVT, FE+ S, SV, FE+ SV, SR and SL
    The 2014 Sentra will reach dealership showrooms in late November 2013.

  12. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi All:

    While spinning my wheels with the canceled Mazda3 drive, I was at the Solano Beach Amtrak Station waiting for a ride back to San Diego. When I walked out and looked back. I recognized my favorite automotive pic from all of last year.

    Solano Beach, California Train Station


    The 2013 Nissan Sentra at the same sometime last year.​

    I always wondered where those Sentra pics were taken?

  13. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi All:

    Just watched the movie Chasing Mavericks and really enjoyed it. I cannot be sure but a Nissan short lead I was on a few months back may have taken us into and through the same surf shop where Jay received his board??? Pretty cool if so. First the Solano Beach train station back drop coincidence and now possibly this? Wow!

  14. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi All:

    The 7th gen 2015 Sentra receives a number of interior and convenience enhancements.

    The biggie being a standard USB connection port and Bluetooth Hands-free Phone System on all models.

    Leather-appointed seats and heated front seats are standard on Sentra SL, and rear disc brakes are now standard on Sentra SR and SL grades.

    Other additions include the following:
    • Sentra FE+ grade now only available on S trim models. <-- This sucks. :(

    • The SV Driver Package content including the proximity key, Smart Auto Headlights, 6-speaker AM/FM/CD audio system with 4.3-inch color display, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, sliding front armrest are now standard on the SV trim

    • The SR Driver Package is now standard on Sentra SR. I will not bother on this one…

    • The SL Leather Package is now standard on the SL which includes leather-appointed seats, heated driver's and front passenger's seats, rear disc brakes

    • A new Appearance Package was added to the SV and includes a power sliding moonroof, dual illuminated visor vanity mirrors, 16-inch 10-spoke alloys and rear spoiler

    • Rear disc brakes now standard on Sentra SR and SL

    • Smart Auto Headlights are now standard on Sentra S, FE+ S, SV and SR

    • Leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob was added to Sentra SV and SR

    • Sliding front armrest now standard on Sentra SV and SR

    • USB ports were added on Sentra S, FE+S, SV and SR

    • Cruise control was added to the S and FE+ S trims

    • Bluetooth Hands-free is now standard on all models

    • Nissan Intelligent Key with Push Button Ignition now standard on SV and SR trims

    • RearView Monitor added as standard on Sentra SV, SR and SL

    • Steering wheel audio controls were added to the S, FE+ S

    • NissanConnect Mobile Apps with the 5.0 in. audio display is now standard on SV, SR and SL

    • Streaming Audio via Bluetooth and Hands-free Text Messaging Assistant are now standard on the SV, SR and SL

    • SiriusXM Satellite Radio was added to the SV and SR
    Four new exterior colors are being offered for 2015 including Titanium, Red Alert (SR only), Cayenne Red (replaces Red Brick) and Gun Metallic (replaces Magnetic Gray).

    The 1.8L I4 equipped 2015 Sentra is available in 6 trims including the S 6MT (only one with an MT), S CVT, FE+ S, SV, SR and SL.

    The last five trims listed above include the Xtronic CVT.

    The 2015 will be available at Nissan dealers nationwide this winter.


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