Nissan Sentra Review
The 2014 Nissan Sentra ranks 35 out of 40 Affordable Small Cars. This ranking is based on our analysis of published reviews and test drives of the Nissan Sentra, as well as reliability and safety data.
Though test drivers say the 2014 Nissan Sentra has a roomy back seat and plenty of cargo space, it’s surpassed by rivals that offer more powerful engines and snappier handling.
The Sentra has a four-cylinder engine that automotive critics say provides adequate power for tooling around the city, but feels underpowered when trying to merge or pass at highway speeds. A six-speed manual transmission is standard and a continuously variable transmission (CVT) is available. The Sentra gets its best gas mileage with the new CVT at an EPA-estimated 30/39 mpg city/highway, which is one of the best ratings in the class. Test drivers say the Sentra handles decently overall and absorbs most bumps, but it’s unexciting to drive, especially compared to rivals like the Ford Focus and Mazda Mazda3.
The 2014 Sentra’s cabin is tastefully decorated with soft materials that are high-quality, reviewers say. Test drivers note that the front seats are comfortable, but they’re set high, so headroom is tight. Reviewers agree that there’s ample room in the back seat, with some saying it’s one of the roomiest back seats in the class. The Sentra comes with a four-speaker CD audio system and an auxiliary audio jack. Available options include an eight-speaker Bose audio system, a USB port, Bluetooth with audio streaming, satellite radio, a 5.8-inch touch-screen navigation system, a rearview camera, a power moonroof, push-button start, hands-free text messaging and NissanConnect, which links the car’s infotainment system with smartphone apps like Facebook and Pandora Internet radio. Controls are conveniently placed and generally easy to use, test drivers report, especially the infotainment and navigation systems, which they say are a breeze to program and pair with a smartphone. Sound quality is just OK from the base stereo system, critics say. The Sentra has an excellent amount of trunk space for the class, even rivaling the space of some midsize cars.
- "The Nissan Sentra offers compact sedan buyers a well-trimmed interior, generous rear seat and trunk space, and excellent fuel efficiency. A slightly anemic engine and mellow chassis tuning mean that the Sentra is hardly the quickest or most exciting of its competitive set, but for those simply seeking comfortable and economical transportation, it fits the bill quite nicely." -- Left Lane News
- "As it stands now, this 2013 Nissan Sentra is best suited to those who like basic transportation done well. It might sound like faint praise, but that's the heart of the compact sedan market. Value pricing, an efficient engine and a quiet, spacious cabin: That's what the Sentra delivers. There are cars in this segment that are more fun to drive and models that are cheaper, but the Sentra plays it right down the middle and looks good doing it." -- Edmunds (2013)
- "The 2013 Nissan Sentra serves as cheap transportation for urban areas, and offers connected navigation for greater convenience, but a weak engine and bland styling highlight its mundane nature." -- CNET (2013)
- "Adequate, then, is the right word for this car. It gets you from point to point and does so pretty efficiently. It's not exciting to look at or to drive, but it's not trying to be. It's easy to drive and live with, and if you're looking for a good commuter car, you're in the right place." -- Motor Trend (2013)
- "As it is, the Sentra is in the thick of a very crowded field of budget-minded compact sedans. Better than some, though not at dynamic as others, the new Sentra should find plenty of buyers who want an economical sedan, minus the look and feel of an economy car." -- Road and Track (2013)
Other Cars to Consider
If you’re looking for more kicks behind the wheel, check out the Ford Focus, which reviewers laud for its superb handling and attractive interior. The Focus has a more powerful base engine than the Sentra and the hatchback Focus has a large amount of cargo space.
Reviewers say the Toyota Corolla offers a comfortable ride and is a competent commuter car that’s very easy to drive. The Corolla was completely redesigned for 2014 and test drivers report that it has ample rear legroom and simple interior controls.
Details: 2014 Nissan Sentra
The 2014 Sentra comes in S, SV, SR and SL trims. All models have a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine, and the base model comes with a six-speed manual transmission. A continuously variable transmission is optional on the base model and standard on higher trims. The Sentra was redesigned for 2013 and sees few changes this year, so this overview uses applicable research and reviews from the 2013 and 2014 model years.
Next Steps: Nissan Sentra
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