2013 Nissan Sentra improved fuel economy with welcoming cabin and enhanced infotainment features, the 2013 Nissan Sentra becomes a much more desirable choice in the affordable small cars class. This time around, Nissan has tried hard to make the Sentra look and feel like a larger, more mature car, and it succeeds. With its laid-back profile and upscale, Infiniti-influenced sheetmetal, the new Sentra looks almost sexy, in a way the outgoing car never was—especially in the way the arched roofline and flowing rear flank sheetmetal meet around the rear pillar, with a chiseled upkick of the window line. Inside, you may have a little more trouble seeing the Sentra as a ‘mini Altima,’ as it bears more in common with the Versa than it does with the Altima—and much of it is due to the materials and trims. The interior is well laid-out, but there’s no convincing luxury look here.
some reviewer and test drivers agree that the redesigned 2013 Nissan Sentra is easily surpassed by rivals with stronger engines and better handling, they are impressed with its rear passenger and cargo space, as well as its easy-to-use interior features.
The 2013 Nissan Sentra feels more like a baby Altima than an improved 2012 Sentra, which is a good thing. There’s nothing compelling about the 2013 Nissan Sentra from an enthusiast’s perspective, but for the average compact car buyer who, according to one Nissan executive, wants ‘value, fuel economy, reliability and adequate dynamics,’ it’s a solid bet.
For starters, the 2013 Nissan Sentra rides atop an all-new platform. Overall length has grown by about 2 inches, yet Nissan says the new car is 150 pounds lighter than before. The Sentra’s styling has grown up at the same time, with a cleaner, more upscale look. Notably, the car’s grille, silhouette and headlights/taillights are now more closely related to the similarly redesigned Altima’s. This premium vibe continues into the cabin, which features higher-quality materials and a more handsome-looking design. The Sentra’s extra length has also freed up greater amounts of rear passenger room and trunk space.
Cabin materials are merely average. Nissan lined up the armrests of the door with the top of the center console, and the contact points are a soft-touch material. We also like the base cloth seats and would probably be happier with them over the plasticky leather (it looks much better in pictures) that’s available. It’s a relatively quiet cabin at high speeds, too—by budget-priced small-car standards.
Looking at the equipment list and pricing, there’s a lot of value for the money in the 2013 Nissan Sentra, and it keeps pace with other models in this class, even adding a few features normally reserved for larger, more expensive models—like dual-zone automatic climate control and Bose audio to some of the lineup. But there are also some frustrating equipment choices. For instance, rear disc brakes are available only on the top-of-the-line SL or the sporty SR, while a Bluetooth hands-free interface is optional on much of the lineup and not even offered on the base S. In any case, at around $23k for a fully optioned SL, this is a model that poses a strong value for those who want a lavishly equipped, yet frugal, small car
2013 Nissan Sentra Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2013 Nissan Sentra is a small sedan offered in S, SV, SR and SL main trim levels. There are also the “FE+” versions of the S and SV that prioritize fuel economy.
The base Sentra S comes with 16-inch steel wheels, a six-way manually adjustable driver seat, air-conditioning, a tilt-and-telescoping steering column, a trip computer, full power accessories and a four-speaker sound system with CD player and auxiliary audio jack.
A step up is the SV, which adds cruise control, premium cloth upholstery and a six-speaker sound system. The sporty SR gains bolder styling elements including 17-inch alloy wheels, foglights, lower body skirting and a rear spoiler. The optional Driver’s package for the SV and SR adds automatic headlights, rear disc brakes (SR only), keyless/ignition entry, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, Bluetooth phone connectivity and a six-speaker sound system with a 4.3-inch display, satellite radio and a USB/iPod interface.
The FE+ versions of the S and SV add a rear spoiler, underbody aerodynamic deflectors and low-rolling-resistance tires, all of which promote slightly higher fuel mileage.
The SL comes with the SV’s standard features and equipment from the Driver’s package. It also boasts unique 17-inch alloy wheels, foglights, heated exterior mirrors, dual-zone climate control and wood-tone accents.
Optional for the SV, SR and SL is the Premium package, which adds a sunroof, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and an eight-speaker Bose audio system. The Navigation package includes a navigation system, NissanConnect (hands-free text messaging and Pandora radio), a rearview camera and Bluetooth audio connectivity. The Leather package (SL only) includes the rear disc brakes, leather upholstery and heated front seats.
2013 Nissan Sentra Powertrains and Performance
Every 2013 Nissan Sentra gets a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 130 hp and 128 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard on the base model, with a CVT being optional. All other Sentras have the CVT as standard. Nissan estimates that the CVT-equipped Sentra returns 30 mpg city/39 mpg highway and 34 mpg combined, making it one of the most fuel-efficient cars in its class. The FE+ model is expected to achieve an EPA-rated estimate of 40-mpg highway.
In Edmunds testing, a Sentra SL accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 9.7 seconds, which is about a half-second slower than average for this class of car.
With a torsion-beam rear axle and rear drum brakes—plus standard steel wheels—the 2013 Sentra won’t win any awards for sophistication in the chassis department. Stabilizer bars are included front and back for the setup, which has struts in front, and it has decent cornering capability. But push it a little too hard and the body leans excessively, with the suspension then unloading in a rather sudden way that would interrupt a smooth line through tight esses. The speed-sensitive electric-boost steering here feels more like that used in the Altima, with a rather light, feel that’s nicely weighted and confident on center.
No matter which model or trim level you get, all 2013 Nissan Sentra models include Normal, Eco, and Sport modes, through small buttons that are located in the lower dash, out of the driver’s line of sight (the assumption is that you’ll pick a mode and stick with it). They affect throttle response and transmission tuning, while Eco mode also reduces air-conditioning draw. We noted, interestingly, that on fast-moving back roads Eco mode had the transmission running the engine in a less-raucous rev range, while we were able to move nearly as quick.
Rear disc brakes are available only on the SL or the SR, and they may provides stronger braking in higher-demand conditions like on mountain roads, but the rear drum system on the rest of the lineup stopped well enough—albeit with lots of nosedive and body motion. Those two models also come with low-profile 17-inch tires that do improve responsiveness somewhat, with no real deterioration in ride
2013 Nissan Sentra Safety
The 2013 Nissan Sentra comes standard with antilock brakes, stability control, front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and active front head restraints. Most Sentra models come with rear drum brakes, although rear discs are an option.
In government crash tests, the Sentra earned an overall rating of four stars (out of a possible five), with four stars for total frontal impact protection and five stars for side-impact protection. In Edmunds brake testing, a Sentra SL stopped from 60 mph in 126 feet, an average distance for the segment.
2013 Nissan Sentra Interior Design and Special Features
Taller drivers will welcome the new Sentra’s standard tilt-and-telescoping steering column, while all adults should be pleased by the unexpectedly spacious front seats. Rear-seat passengers aren’t left out either, since they have nearly 3 more inches of legroom than before, making the Sentra one of the most spacious cars in its class.
Fit and finish throughout the cabin is excellent, and the SL trim, in particular, stands out with its generous use of soft-touch materials and wood-tone accents; its available leather upholstery, with its handsome stitching, is especially appealing. The NissanConnect enhanced electronics interface allows one to search (via its 5.8-inch touchscreen) the Internet, stream Pandora or Bluetooth audio, and even hear and compose text messages hands-free using a mobile phone’s Bluetooth connection.
Luggage capacity is generous. At 15.1 cubic feet it’s comparable to that of many midsize sedans.
NISSANCONNECT, You can send directions from your computer to your Sentra via Google. You can listen to Pandora Internet radio. You can have your text messages read to you, and send replies without taking your hands off the wheel. How great is the future?
EASY FILL TIRE ALERT, Keeping your tires inflated is key to maximizing fuel economy, and Nissan’s new system makes it really easy. Just start filling and the car will give a quick honk of the horn when the tire reaches the recommended pressure.
2013 Nissan Sentra Price
Ranging from $16,780 to more than $23,000, the 2013 Nissan Sentra is priced in line with its competitors on a features-per-dollar basis, between the Ford Focus at the high end and the Hyundai Elantra at the low end. Looking ahead, we expect the new Sentra to hold its value better than its predecessor and better than the category average. The 2013 Nissan Sentra shouldn’t cost you significantly more or less than its competitors in the long run, but it qualifies as a solid value because it feels like a more substantial, more refined car than many of the others.
2013 Nissan Sentra Driving Impressions
Around town and on the freeway, the 2013 Nissan Sentra provides a fairly smooth and quiet ride. Driving over severely broken pavement may result in an occasional jolt reaching the cabin, but it’s nothing worse than what you’d likely experience in most of the Nissan’s rivals. Though the Sentra’s handling abilities around corners are respectable, the steering is rather numb. Other small sedans are more rewarding to drive. check our 2013 Nissan Sentra picture gallery bellow.