2013 Nissan Sentra revealed with 5.9L/100km EPA fuel economy

Trevor Hofmann - CAP staff
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New product reveals in the auto industry don't get much bigger than the introduction of an all-new compact sedan, and while the totally revised 2013 Sentra won't garner the hype surrounding this week's unveiling of Apple's new iPhone 5, it certainly is a big deal to Nissan and fans of the popular Japanese brand.

"The 2013 Nissan Sentra is the most revolutionary design in the nameplate's 30-year history, a worthy addition to what is without question the most innovative, highest quality, highest value sedan lineup in Nissan history," said Al Castignetti, vice president and general manager, Nissan Division, Nissan North America, Inc.

Like the current Sentra did five years ago, the new 2013 model pulls many of its styling cues from the larger midsize Altima. The look is once again more conservative than some recently updated rivals like Ford's Focus and Hyundai's Elantra, or for that matter the new Chevy Sonic and Dodge Dart, but then again it looks more expensive too, almost Lexus-like with its big chrome grille and LED-enhanced headlamp clusters. LED taillights grace the rear, and chrome trim surrounds.

"With the complete redesign for 2013, Sentra is closer in look and feel to Altima than a typical compact sedan," added Castignetti. "Like Altima, the new Sentra offers best-in-segment attributes, such as high fuel economy and easy-to-use connectivity, that offer real customer value and convenience."

Inside, the 2013 Sentra boasts higher quality surfaces and switchgear, plus a much more pleasing looking design.

"Nowhere is the new Sentra's 'class-above' style more evident than in the interior," continued Castignetti. "You notice it the minute you sit in the roomy, comfortable seats and when you touch the high quality materials. And when driving you notice the extra attention paid to isolating noise, vibration and harshness from entering the cabin. And that's before you even get into the various advanced technology features that you usually don't expect in a compact sedan segment vehicle."

Available leather upholstery adds premium levels of elegance while high-tech gadgetry like the Japanese brand's new NissanConnect infotainment system, which packages up Bluetooth and Pandora streaming audio plus hands-free text messaging and NavTraffic with NavWeather, adds sophistication.

So how does it measure up to the car it replaces? It's grown, but only slightly, with a shorter front overhang yet a longer rear extension allowing a larger trunk, which is up 56 litres (2.0 cubic feet) from last year to 427 litres (15.1 cubic feet). Overall the new Sentra is 58 mm (2.3 inches) longer at 4,625 mm (182.1 inches), but it only gets a slight increase in wheelbase at 15 mm (0.6 inches) for a total of 2,700 mm (106.3 inches). It's narrower by 30 mm (1.2 inches) and rides lower by 15 mm (0.6 inches), which is why interior volume hasn't grown much at only 3,143 litres (111.0 cubic feet) compared to last year's 3,137 litres (110.8 cubic feet). The most dramatic result of the new body shell is its reduction in drag, from a Cd of 0.34 to 0.29, which of course improves highway fuel economy while reducing wind noise inside the cabin.

"Sentra has long been known as one of the roomiest sedans in class and the latest iteration is no exception," continued Castignetti. "The fine-tuning of its dimensions has created not only extremely well-balanced exterior proportions but enhanced rear seat legroom and created a larger, more usable trunk space."

The new Sentra should be a better car to drive than its predecessor too, thanks to 68 kilos (150 lbs) less mass. Then again, a smaller less powerful 1.8-litre four-cylinder gets reduced output in favour of fuel savings, rated at 130-horsepower and 128 lb-ft of torque compared to the current 2012 Sentra's 140-horsepower 2.0-litre four with 147 lb-ft of torque (a loss of 10-horsepower and 19 lb-ft of torque), yet capable of eking out an average EPA metric-converted estimate of 7.8 L/100km in the city, 6.0 on the highway and 6.9 combined, which Nissan claims is best-in-class combined fuel economy. In comparison the outgoing 2.0-litre car was EPA rated at the metric equivalent of 9.8, 7.6, 8.7 in manual trim or 8.7, 6.9, 7.8 with the automatic; Canadian ratings show better results that unfortunately aren't as accurate.

Like the 2012 model, the new 2013 Sentra will utilize a 6-speed manual gearbox or the optional Xtronic continuously variable automatic (CVT), but it's a next-generation variant allowing better efficiency thanks in part to a new sub-planetary gear, combining with numerous other improvements for a 13-percent EPA fuel economy improvement over last year's Sentra. Only with the CVT, the Sentra can be ordered in ultra-efficient FE+ trim for an EPA-claimed 5.9 L/100km on the highway.

FE+ variants can be had in two trim levels, S FE+ and SV FE+, while base cars remain S models and top-line Sentras get the SL designation, with SV splitting the middle. In case you're confused, that reads: S, S FE+, SV, SV FE+ and SL. But wait, there's more. A sporty SR model adds a unique blacked out grille insert, racier front and rear fascias, fog lights up front and a rear spoiler plus a chrome exhaust tip in back, all tied together with lower body side sill extensions while riding on unique 5-spoke 17-inch alloy rims. Other than the larger tires, the Sentra SR's performance will be much the same as the other Sentra trim levels being that there are no suspension modifications or engine upgrades, unlike the current 2012 Sentra SE-R and still spicier SE-R Spec-V. The SR cabin gets exclusive fabric sport seats and silver metallic trim, though.

The new 2013 Nissan Sentra arrives in Canadian dealer showrooms this fall, with prices expected sooner to its official launch.
©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Nissan, Sentra, 2013, $10,000 - $19,999, Compact, Sedan,

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