The 2016 Sentra has received some refreshing qualities this year as Nissan is looking to unify their appearance across the board, which is a great thing since the Maxima and Altima are attractive vehicles.
The styling is stronger and seeing that they’re up against powerhouses including the Civic, Corolla, Mazda 3, Elantra and many others, they’ve really got to up their game. I spent 2002 to 2015 in the compact segment via a pair of Mazda 3’s and an Elantra and in most cases, the compact world is where consumers cut their teeth in the auto world.
Yes, Nissan offers the Micra and the Versa Note, but the Sentra just has that grown up feeling to it compared to the others.
While it’s not “all new” for 2016, there’s certainly plenty to chat about regarding what Nissan has put forth in this hyper-competitive market.
Appearance wise, the 2016 Sentra sees a redesigned front honeycomb grille, new front fascia, fenders, tail lights, and, well, it looks like a totally new car. I’ve always liked the “boomerang” look for the headlights and thankfully, they’re front and centre here.
As mentioned, the styling is influenced by the beautiful Maxima and newly redesigned Altima.
Most manufacturers strive for some sort of consistency in appearance but Nissan has really given it the “yup, definitely a Nissan offering” feel with the new exterior layout.
16” wheels come on the S and SV, with 17” wheels coming on the top trip SL, which is what my tester was.
From a distance, the Sentra looks good with its upgrades. Not quite as sleek as some of its competitors but still attractive for a compact car.
Powering all Sentras is a 1.8L four cylinder engine churning out 130 horsepower and 128 lb-ft. of torque through Nissan’s Continuous Variable Transmission.
There is a six-speed manual offering for the S and SV trims for those who prefer it.
While it’s not the strongest in the segment, you’re probably not Sentra shopping if you’re looking for power and performance.
Handling-wise, I was happily surprised as to how well it handled corners. Not that I was doing hairpin turns at 60 km in Belfountain, but for the urban grid, the Sentra feels sturdy.
My SL tester provided respectable pickup while entering highways and passing others, was smooth in urban settings, and if you’re looking for a modest car that’s good on fuel, well, this vehicle checks all those boxes.
Fuel efficiency for the 2016 Sentra is a big selling point, seeing as it rates at 6.1/8.0 L/100 km for L/100km, all through a 50L tank of regular gasoline.
My week saw me reach 6.9 through mostly city driving…not too bad at all.
Inside, you’ll find plenty of space…more than you may expect for a compact car.
The roomy cabin in the SL starts with the 5.8” touchscreen infotainment unit (the mid-trim SL sees a 5.0” screen…I think they should make the 5.8” screen the only offering since the difference between the two is so minor) that’s well laid out and easy to operate.
I’ve heard comments that 5.8” is a bit small for navigation and seeing through the backup camera, but found the screen size to work for me personally.
The six-way power driver’s seat with power lumbar support is comfortable and the rear seats are spacious, which was a nice surprise. Usually, compact car rear seats are left for those less liked than the front passenger. Heated front leather appointed seats come standard on the SL trim.
Audio-wise, the base S comes with four speakers, mid SV with six and the SL with eight and two subwoofers via a Bose Premium Audio System. There’s piano black trim throughout, NissanConnect that syncs with navigation and apps and a generally upscale look to this compact offering.
Safety-wise, the Nissan Safety Shield sees the following come standard on the SL trim: Blind Spot Warning, Forward Emergency Braking, Intelligent Cruise Control and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. Oh, and it’s a 2016 IIHS Top Safety Pick.
The Sentra offers 428 litres of cargo space, which is huge in this class.
The 2016 Sentra offers one of the lowest entry points into this segment, with the base S trim coming in at only $15,898. The SL trim hits the register at $25,998, which gets you a whole lotta car for what you’re paying. With about $10K separating the entry from the top, there’s room to find a configuration of your liking.
If you’re looking at the Sentra, you’re leaning toward the comfort, cargo space, fuel efficiency and technological side of things, with a new, crisp look.
While SUV/CUV offerings are incredibly popular now, there’s still a decent market for compact cars and the competition is fierce. Nissan has done well with the Sentra to cut through the noise but will have to stay on their toes over the next few years to ensure they’re not left by the wayside. This new offering and the strength of the brand (Canada’s fastest growing) will definitely help keep them in motion.
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