Nissan Sentra Midnight
The Nissan Sentra has been an economical and efficient car for millions of people over the last forty years, being first presented at the New York Auto show in 1981. It has come a long way and offers quite a lot for a minimal price in perspective. In a world where SUVs are more present and rising costs across the board, this compact sedan is more important than ever for families on a budget or anybody focused on getting the most out of every penny. The Sentra we tested had an MSRP of $26,728 and was built at the Aguascalientes, MX plant.
The Nissan Sentra is the second-smallest vehicle in the Japanese manufacturer lineup. Slotted between the compact Versa and midsize Altima, the Sentra faces stiff competition from the likes of the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla. The V-shaped grille stands out on this smaller vehicle and gives the sedan a more compelling style. The side profile has a couple of straight lines, and adding a black roof and 18-inch wheels emphasizes the hip approach that Nissan was going for. The rear styling is more restrained, although the lip spoiler is a nice touch included in the Midnight Edition. Not an advanced design, but quite neat in this category.
Efficiency rules inside the Sentra, but there are also some nice touches. We liked the soft plastics on the dashboard and the orange stitchings; it doesn't look too bare. The carbon fibre-looking material on the door panels looks out of place. On the driver's side, the gauge cluster is quite clear and straightforward, and the 7-inch Advanced Drive-Assist display shows the info you need, like tire pressure, trip information and fuel consumption, but also the speed limit on the top part of the screen. The 8-inch touchscreen is good in this class; you get Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, six speakers and a headphone jack! The infotainment is good enough, don't fix what's not broken. The climate controls are super easy to use; the same goes for the heated seats and steering wheel. We have to praise Nissan for making an efficient interior.
As for the rest of the interior, it is surprisingly roomy. There is enough space to sit four adults comfortably, and the fifth person might feel a little tighter in the middle on the back seat. It's easy to find a suitable driving position, and they look great and feel great even after a while. The cloth seats with orange stitchings also play a role in bringing a slightly different interior tone. On the back seats, the ISOFIX points are visible, and the latch is located on the surface near the back window. The trunk is a decent size; you can also fold the rear seats in a 60/40 configuration to increase the space. The Sentra lives up to its family car reputation.
Now, how does the Nissan Sentra feel on the road? Let's start with the numbers. The 2.0L 4-cylinder engine inside this compact sedan delivers 149hp and 146 lb-ft of torque and matches the Xtronic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) in our test model. You can also get the Sentra with a third pedal with the 6-speed manual transmission which we reviewed here. Front-wheel drive, no surprises here, and the 0-100kph time is estimated to be around 8.7 seconds. The CVT runs smoothly on the highway ramp; you feel the transmission's limits as the engine becomes increasingly loud. The handling is excellent, nobody will mistake this for a sports car, but you get a more natural feeling of the road than the competition. The suspension is also pretty good; it's not too soft or stiff. The braking could use a little more punch but nothing to worry about here. As for fuel consumption, Nissan announces 7.3L/100km in combined city and highway driving, we observed a figure closer to 8L/100km, but that's still adequate for a gasoline engine.
The Nissan Sentra SR Midnight Edition is a good car. It doesn't necessarily bring any groundbreaking features; we are still talking about a compact car designed for people to travel from A to B, and it doesn't lack anything. Great styling, good interior room and decent technology combined with a small price make a compelling case for this sedan in a world where the cost of almost everything is increasing. If you're in the market for a vehicle that isn't a Corolla or Civic but has the same size, this is an excellent value-price proposition.
Nissan has lent us this vehicle as a press vehicle. We have no affiliation with Nissan Canada. The above reflects our personal opinion.