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  • Writer's picturechristophemallette

Nissan Sentra SR 2021 Manual: The fun one!

This week we are reviewing the Nissan Sentra SR 2021. In the SR variant, the Nissan Sentra can now be equipped with a 6-speed manual transmission exclusively for the Canadian market. Needless to say, the standard transmission is much more fun than its CVT counterpart. In addition, up-to-date tech, overall ride comfort and good styling all make the 2021 Sentra much more appealing than previous generations.

Fun Factor: 7

Can it Family: 6

Fuel-Friendly: 8

HWY-warrior: 6

Karaoke-Friendly: 5

Baby-Friendly: 6

City Cruising: 6

With a price tag of 25,633$, our test vehicle offers a great quality/price ratio, although placing it in an extremely competitive segment. The Kia Forte 5 GT and the Toyota Corolla APEX both offer a manual transmission and a much more fun-oriented personality for give or take the same price. Spend anywhere between 2,000$ and 5,000$ more, and you enter the realm of much better all-rounders such as the VW Jetta GLI or the Hyundai Elantra N Line. How does our test car stack-up to others in its class?

Now if the Nissan offering sounds more appealing to you, here’s what you’ll be getting for your money. First is the 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine that produces 149 horsepower and 146lb-ft of torque to which is mounted a 6-speed manual transmission. Second is the predictable and surprisingly sharp steering input: the combination of both the steering and transmission makes for a wonderful time behind the wheel. On top of fun driving characteristics, you get a car well equipped considering its price. 8-inch touchscreen that supports Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, dual-zone climate control, blind spot warning, hill start assist, intelligent cruise control, and so on: all the tech features make the Sentra SR one of the most equipped vehicle in its class while conserving the manual transmission. Finally, a non-base-trim manual car!

As mentioned earlier, the Sentra SR is also available with a CVT transmission that makes it easier to drive around town and helps with fuel efficiency. After our week-long test drive, we measured an average fuel consumption of around 8.5L/100km, whereas Nissan states the CVT version will achieve around 7.2L/100km. Acceleration does seem to be quicker with the CVT as well, for 8.0 seconds flat is what it takes to reach 100km/h from a dead stop, whereas a tenth (0.1) of a second more is needed to achieve the same speed in our test car. The Sentra is otherwise a spacious vehicle with plenty of room for the rear passengers while offering a great trunk capacity in comparison to other vehicles in the ever so small realm of sedans. Naturally, this compact sedan is not as spacious as most SUV's currently on sale, yet it still impresses on multiple levels. Notably, the roomy rear seats make the Sentra a great baby hauler, as installing and actually using a baby seat. Although it will only accommodate a smaller family, its exposed lower Latch anchors in the outboard rear seats and easy-to-use top tether anchors on the rear shelf make it easier than ever to actually daily use the Sentra as a new-family vehicle.

Luckily for us, consumers who have a tighter budget to spend on cars, we still get the looks of a top-of-the-line Nissan with the Sentra 2021 in its SR trim. Superblack/Aspen white tricoat color combination offers a sleek yet aggressive look to the otherwise monotone Sentra. This color scheme as well as the sharp body lines make for a car that’s difficultly distinguishable from its bigger siblings such as the Altima and Maxima. If it were only for the looks, there’d be very few reasons to opt for the more expensive and bigger sedans in Nissan’s lineup.

So, the final verdict for the manual Sentra SR 2021 is in essence self-explanatory: long live the manuals! The transmission is quite simply the center piece of this car. Take it out and you’re still left with a beautifully designed vehicle, loaded with tech, roomy, fuel-efficient and with overall very few flaws, but you’re also left without the part that gives you the most bang for your buck. In any case, the purchase of a Sentra 2021 is highly sensible and will most definitely justify these monthly payments you will incur. The manual vs. auto decision is one you should treat thoroughly, though, as you surely will not get this offering for a very long time to come.

*This vehicle was provided by Nissan Canada for the purposes of this review

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