2016 Sentra New Car Test Drive
The 2016 Nissan Sentra benefits from a mid-cycle update intended to improve handling and refinement, and has been upgraded with the latest features.
The Nissan Sentra is a compact sedan known for value over style, and livability over performance. Now enjoying its sixth generation, the current Sentra sells well. With a length of 182 inches on a wheelbase of 106 inches, the Sentra is bigger than most compacts, with more headroom and legroom, front and rear.
Redesigned for 2013, the 2016 Sentra is heavily freshened: A new V grille brings some drama and looks more like the larger Altima and Maxima, while the boomerang headlamps copy the Murano. The hood, fenders and fascia are re-sculpted for 2016 with more definition, with new chrome trim. Taillamps and rear fascia get reshaped too.
The Sentra is powered by a 1.8-liter inline four-cylinder engine making a modest 130 horsepower and 128 pound-feet of torque. It uses a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that's extremely slow to respond to full throttle, which is often needed with only 130 horsepower. A 6-speed manual transmission is available on the base S model, although dealers rarely stock them.
The 2016 Sentra gets new springs and dampers that are stiffened by 10 percent, and a new system called Active Understeer Control that dabs the brakes to the inside front wheel in a corner, which helps the car pivot.
There are also infotainment upgrades, with the addition of NissanConnect Services, including remote access and satellite radio. And a new Technology Package, with collision warning with braking, adaptive cruise control, and blind spot monitoring.
The Sentra with the CVT gets decent mileage, EPA-rated at 29/38/32 mpg City/Highway/Combined. The CVT proves its fuel efficiency (if not its functional efficiency), as the mileage with the manual transmission drops by 2 mpg.
The 2016 Nissan Sentra S comes with 6-speed manual transmission ($16,780) or CVT ($17,630) and manual air conditioning, cloth upholstery, AM/FM/CD audio with MP3, WMA, four speakers, iPod adapter, auxiliary jack, speed-sensing volume and steering wheel controls. (Prices are MSRP and do not include destination charge.)
Sentra SV ($18,550) includes NissanConnect with Mobile Apps system, good for Facebook, iHeartRadio, and Pandora apps; the system also has satellite radio, Bluetooth streaming audio, and a hands-free text-messaging assistant. A Style Package for the mid-range SV that includes a power sliding moonroof, dual vanity mirrors, a rear spoiler, and 16-inch five-spoke alloy wheels.
Sentra SR ($20,410) is the sporty, premium model in the lineup and can be equipped with a Premium Package adding a power sliding moonroof, Bose premium eight-speaker audio, leather upholstery, upgraded infotainment, and several active-safety features.
Sentra SL ($22,170) comes with leather upholstery, larger 5.8-inch color touchscreen.