For 2013, Nissan placed fuel economy as a high priority. To that end, a brand-new 1.8L 4-cylinder engine debuts. It makes 130 horsepower and 128 lb-feet of torque. Both a 6-speed manual transmission and a continuously variable (CVT) transmission are available. The best part of the new engine is that it helps the Sentra return 30 mpg city and 39 mpg highway fuel economy numbers.
All new sheet metal has also debuted for 2013. A larger, more prominent grille, bigger headlights and a taller-looking profile are intended to suggest the Sentra's bigger brother, the Altima.
Inside, premium materials and metal accents give the new Sentra an upscale feel. Standard features include 6-way adjustable driver seat, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel and remote keyless entry. Power everything has become expected in this category, and the Sentra comes so equipped.
The base model, the S and FE are fuel-efficiency oriented and come with low-rolling resistance tires and a rear spoiler. The SV offers optional "smart" headlamps, satellite radio, a USB input, Bluetooth and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. A touch-screen navigation system with voice recognition is also available. The system also allows smartphone integration, Pandora internet radio, hands-free texting and a rearview monitor. The optional Premium package includes a power sunroof and a Bose stereo with 8 speakers.
The SR trim includes 17-inch wheels, fog lamps and unique exterior touches like a special grille and side spoilers. The top of the lineup, the SL makes the upgraded stereo standard, as is the leather-wrapped steering wheel, the fog lamps and dual-zone climate control. Heated leather seats are optional.
The trunk's cargo capacity is impressive. At over 15 cubic feet, it rivals some midsize sedans.
Safety features include standard anti-lock brakes and traction control as well as frontal and side-impact airbags.