There are plenty of compact sedans vying for buyer’s attention and keeping your vehicle fresh is a major concern for auto makers. Nissan has given the 2016 Sentra an extensive reworking, continuing to make this compact sedan a first rate choice.
As we look at the global automotive market place, the Nissan Sentra continues to be one of the more popular selections. In Central and South American they are like bumble bees swarming around the cities. Looking at the North American market the Sentra is perhaps one of those hidden gems in the compact sedan category.
From the windshield forward the 2016 Sentra gets a new look with fresh, sporty grille, hood and fenders. Two selections for headlights are available, which seems to be typical across most model line ups these days. Sentra buyers have a choice of halogen or LED with a LED surround, dependent on model choice.
The rear of the Sentra receives minor but important design elements including LED boomerang-shaped tail lamps providing better visibility to approaching vehicles. Three individual wheel designs are available as the progression from the base up through SR and SL models
The new design brings the Sentra to a more up level appearance in the Nissan family, resembling the new designs given the Altima and Maxima. The reworking of the front adds a new look while retaining the basic platform allowing Nissan to hold the line on major price fluctuations.
The new Sentra retains the basic platform from the earlier model though with modifications. This helps give the basis for retuning the shocks and springs to accentuate the new Continental tires, all of which improve ride and handling. Nissan engineers reworked the steering system adding in more stiffness. All of this adds up to a sharper handling Sentra.
In nearly every aspect of the Nissan approach to their vehicles we have glowing reports. Unfortunately, for us there is one aspect we continue unconvinced, and that is the use of Continuously Variable Transmissions (CVTs). Nissan has progressed a long way with the development of CVTs and for most of their lineup they are some of the best available.
In our recently test of the new Maxima we reported glowing remarks on that sports sedan. It is robust and responsive; remember the “sports” part of our remark? The Sentra is less so, but we are talking the age old apples and oranges thing. Some of the blame may be placed on the mere fact that the compact 1.8-liter, four-cylinder gasoline engine has a reasonable 130 horsepower. Coupled to the CVT you get a more laid-back response to your right foot. That isn’t to say the Sentra will leave you in a lurch, it will get you up to speed.
We might sound a little gruff when talking about CVTs, any CVT, but the advantage, according to Nissan, is reduced mass (weight) and increased fuel economy. The 2016 Sentra equipped with the Xtronic has an EPA rating of 29, city and 38 highway. We, however, did not get the chance to check our actual fuel economy. But, as you might expect we are not timid when it comes to pushing on the long skinny pedal under our right foot.
That the Nissan Sentra begins with a base MSRP of $16,780 is quite a feat in that there are few sub-compacts beginning in this range. Granted, the base is equipped with a six-speed manual transmission, which is not a bad thing. But, drop the Xtronic CVT in the Sentra pricing goes up a bit by adding just $850 to the base. A more than well equipped SL Sentra will hit the mid $25,000, but for all you get in this compact sedan it still remains an economy minded vehicle with big benefits.
2016 Nissan Sentra Specifications on next page.