2013 Nissan Sentra Review


Now it seems Nissan is getting on board, too. Redesigned for 2013, the compact 2013 Nissan Sentra comes across like two cars for the low, low price of one. A claimed weight reduction of up to 150 pounds excites people who remember when Sentra were sporty, fun little cars. Buyers simply looking for a comfortable, affordable runabout will appreciate the soft, cushy seats as well as rear-seat legroom now among the best in class due to the new car’s additional 0.6 inch of wheelbase and 2.3-inch increase in overall length.

A roofline that maintains competitive rear headroom before sweeping gracefully back to the trunk lid imparts both outward visibility and style. And all buyers will appreciate an interior that, 10 years ago, would have seemed at home in an Infiniti. There are few straight lines anywhere, and certain parts such as the door handles and their bezels give the impression that a truck bound for an Infiniti assembly line got lost on its way to the factory and deposited its load instead at a Sentra plant.


At 9.2 seconds to 60 mph, the 2013 Nissan Sentra is more than a second off the pace of the segments quickest. It can’t keep up through the quarter-mile, either, needing 17.2 seconds to cross the finish line at 81 mph. Even buyers who don’t notice that they’re slower than everyone else will wonder why their otherwise luxurious little car is so loud. At least there’s a trade-off: With EPA ratings of 30 mpg in the city and 39 on the highway,

As much as the Sentra feels like two cars in one, though, both feel half-baked. It’s said to be lighter, but our test unit was merely two pounds less hefty than the last Sentra we weighed and it felt less structurally sound. The ride is too firm for people who don’t care about driving, but the level of body roll will disappoint those who do. The seats are comfortable, but lack even the slightest hint of lateral support. Fortunately, the cornering limit is just 0.81 g. Steering weight builds linearly, from dainty on-center effort to relatively manly resistance at the adhesion limit people who don’t like cars will think it’s too heavy but the rack lacks the ability to self-center. Combine the need to manually return the wheel to straight ahead with this much body roll, and the 2013 Nissan Sentra’s steering feels like the drill sergeant for a fat-guy platoon, issuing orders to recruits who simply cannot keep up.