What a difference a year makes. For 2016, the Nissan Sentra five-passenger compact sedan is stepping boldly in the wheel tracks of its siblings, the Maxima and Altima – taking the already well regarded, comfortable, easy to drive and affordable Nissan Sentra compact sedan to another level.
The Sentra line for 2016 consists of five trim levels starting at $16,780 for the ‘S’ level with a 6-speed manual transmission (the only model with a manual gear box) and $17,630 for the model ‘S’ when equipped with the optional Xtronic CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) – for 2016 – augmented by third-generation D-Step Logic Control for smoother and crisper ‘shift-feel’ performance of the powertrain.
At the top of the line is the ‘SL’ with Xtronic CVT and an MSRP of $22,170.
All models come standard with the carried over 1.8L DOHC 4-cylinder engine producing 130 horsepower and 128 lb.-ft. of torque. With the exception of the 6-speed manual transmission on the base model ‘S’, all trim levels come standard with the Xtronic CVT and D-Step Logic Control.
Fuel economy ratings for the Sentra with the CVT is an owner friendly 29/38 mpg city/highway and 32 mpg combined. The new Sentra also offers an ECO or SPORT Drive Mode that adjusts throttle and transmission on the power train for either fuel efficiency (ECO) or better performance (SPORT) as the driver chooses.
New for 2016
Taking a first walk around of the new 2016 Sentra, you are struck with how it stands taller and bolder than before – no longer just any old compact sedan, but more a confident compact sedan inviting you to jump in and drive.
The 2016 Sentra takes its styling cues from the new 2016 Maxima and redesigned 2016 Altima and reflecting new design language from Nissan. Key elements start with the new signature V-Motion grille and include new front and rear fascias, fenders, hood and signature boomerang-shaped headlights (with available LED low-beam headlights and LED signature accents) plus LED taillights and a new 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheel design.
Inside, a revised Sentra interior features a new steering wheel, new available power driver’s seat with power lumbar, new center cluster and audio display design, new console and shifter knob, refined seat fabrics and auto on/off headlights for all grades.
An Advanced Drive-Assist Display (ADAD) with 5.0-inch screen – located between the tachometer and speedometer on the instrument panel – is available along with Siri Eyes Free Voice Recognition standard on some trims. And, speaking of technology, NissanConnect Services powered by SiriusXM is also now available offering emergency preparedness, remote access, customized alerts and convenience services.
Sentra also features (for the first time) a number of Nissan’s advanced Safety Shield Technologies – Forward Emergency Braking (FEB), Intelligent Cruise Control (ICC), Blind Spot Warning (BSW) and Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA).
More features throughout, use of soft touch premium materials and enhanced amenities are just a part of the new Sentra drive experience. Drive characteristics are also improved with the D-Stop Logic on the CVT and ride and handling enhanced through a retuned suspension design featuring a 10 percent increase in spring and damper rates, as well as enhanced body stiffness for improved roll and body control.
Sentra also features an optimized Electric Power Steering (EPS) mapping in conjunction with the revised suspension and a new Active Understeer Control (AUC) system similar to that utilized on the 2016 Nissan Altima.
And to bring all that enhanced drive experience together on the road, Sentra is clad with new design Continental ContiProContact All-season tires for better handling and a quieter ride.
This latest iteration of the Nissan Sentra compact sedan looks better inside and out, rides nicer with more room while offering more features and functionality that delivers, in few words, simply a better drive experience.
Test Drive 2016 Sentra SL
We recently spent a week driving a new 2016 Sentra SL in classic Gun Metallic with Charcoal interior all around and through the environs of Central Texas near Austin.
The Sentra SL, already loaded up with an MSRP of $22,170, includes 17-inch 10-spoke Aluminum Alloy wheels clad with 205/50R17 All-season tires. It features leather-appointed seats, 6-way power driver’s seat with 2-way power lumbar support, heated front seats, sliding center armrest, push-button start, driver’s seatback pocket, new Piano Black door/console trim, auto-dimming mirror with HomeLink Universal Transceiver and Dual Zone Automatic Temperature Control.
The multi-media system on the SL features AM/FM/CD/USB functionality and SiriusXM Satellite Radio with Traffic and Travel Link, a 5.8-inch color display plus Bluetooth Hands-free phone and texting system with audio streaming.
Also on the SL is NissanConnect with Navigation and Mobile Apps multimedia connectivity, RearView Camera, Blind Spot Warning (BSW), Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA), heated outside mirrors with LED turn signals, LED low beam projector headlights with LED accents, fog lights and power assisted 4-wheel disc brakes.
A Technology Package ($1,230) adds Intelligent Cruise Control, Forward Collision Warning, Forward Emergency Braking and the full NissanConnect Services suite powered by SiriusXM.
The SL Premium Package ($1,130) includes Power Sliding Moonroof with Tilt feature, Bose Premium Audio System with 8-speakers, Center Room LED Dim Lamp and Dual Illuminated Visor Vanity Mirrors.
Really well-equipped and well-appointed, the 2016 Nissan Sentra SL – fully loaded up already – adding Carpeted Floor and Trunk Mats plus delivery – prices at an affordable $25,545.
Top Safety Pick+ Rated
Our 2016 Sentra SL was equipped with Forward Collision Warning and Forward Emergency Braking which are required by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) for vehicle consideration for their coveted top rating. So equipped, the Nissan Sentra scored a SUPERIOR in the Front Crash Prevention test – and when combined their GOOD scores in the other categories – earned the Sentra the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ rating.
Earlier Sentra versions drove like what you ‘expected’ from a compact sedan – focused on price, economy and basic functionality with features that ‘got you there’. The 2016 Sentra, and the Sentra SL in particular, gets you there with the quiet ride, amenities and features of more expensive and larger sedans – all at a lower price and with great fuel economy.
The compact Sentra continues to offer generous and comfortable interior space with nice use of premium materials throughout. With its length, it provides excellent rear seat room plus trunk space that approaches levels found in some mid-size sedans. And, should you need more, the rear seat is a 60/40 fold down.
One downside to mention is with respect to the powertrain. We applaud the addition of the D-Step Logic to the CVT which measurably makes the 2016 Sentra a much better daily drive experience both in town and on the highway. But, the carryover engine is still a bit ‘light’ on the horsepower such that, when making a sudden acceleration demand (such as passing on the highway), the Sentra CVT (in ECO) noticeably ‘hunts’ a bit to find the right band level to deliver the power in response to the demand.
For people who tend to drive with more emphasis on the throttle (like us), driving the Sentra SL in SPORT mitigates that hesitation and, when it finds the right band, Sentra gets moving pretty quickly.
The 2016 Nissan Sentra – particularly at the SL trim level – is a worthy sibling to Maxima and Altima in the 2016 Nissan lineup.
To learn more about which 2016 Sentra trim fits your wants, needs and budget, go to the Sentra website and click on the ‘Build & Price’ tab to build one for yourself.