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Reader Reviews - 2023 Nissan Sentra SR Sedan

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Reader Reviews are submitted by our readers of vehicles they test drive or rent. If you would like to submit a Reader Review, e-mail [email protected]

I recently had a current-gen Nissan Sentra as a weekly rental.  I had driven one before, but it was the last-gen model, and I’ve reviewed it on this forum. This rental unit had slightly over 30,000 miles on it.

I gave the last-gen model a mostly positive review for its “can do” aspects and excellent fuel mileage.  Now, looking at this new one, it almost makes the last-gen model look a little dowdy.

You’ll notice a couple of things with the new model rather quickly in addition to its more aesthetically pleasing exterior.  First, as you drive off, this Sentra handles more nimbly and corners more flatly.  The ride is also controlled, and, for the price point, road and tire noise isn’t too intrusive. The interior is nicer in a lot of small ways.  My rental had the leather option in the SR trim with contrast stitching in the seats.  However, the seat shape is very comfortable, and so are the adjustments, which are electric for the driver.  That said, the fit and finish throughout are nicely done for the price point.

The Sentra’s dashboard is also an exercise in logic and simplicity.  It is very symmetrical. The toggles for instrument panel functions take some exploration, but the settings are easy to work with once you figure it out.  Settings on the steering wheel-mounted controls are also easy to decipher but could be inverted from the car you may be used to driving.  The connection of a phone is much easier than on many other vehicles and having the Bluetooth eagerly reconnect upon returning to the car seems better than in other cars of different sizes I’ve driven.  My only complaint would be the climate control panel.  It may look simple, but I could never quite get the air conditioning right. 

Again, this new Sentra’s hallmark features are its connected handling, a decent enough ride, good fuel economy, and generous room for its size, including the trunk’s capacity.  I especially liked the excellent visibility all the way around.  Gone is the “opera window” in the sail panel of the last model.  Rather, the division of the rear door is done with vertical trim, and the views out back are excellent with a pillar that doesn’t intrude much and a backlight that curves subtly rather than too flatly.

In the engine bay is a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine that is normally aspirated.  In both this Sentra and in the Altima, Nissan is going with familiar normally aspirated 4-cylinder engines and CVTs, the latter of which they’ve commonly offered for at least a decade.  Hopefully, their CVTs’ service life and sturdiness have improved. Mostly, the CVT behaved well with some quirky and episodic subtle lags picking up speed from a stop, especially when cold.  The engine is up to the task of everyday driving, but it gets rowdy when pushed.

For the money, the Sentra offers a lot of features, and that’s a good thing.  Safety features such as numerous alerts and emergency braking are included.  The rear-view camera goes without saying and it’s a decent one, save some murky views when it’s too moist outside.  They also have releases for things grouped on the driver’s side of the dashboard and going toward the floor –trunk release, hood release, and fuel door release.  The gap cap was a conventional pressurized one.  I really like having a secured fuel filler door.

One “neat” feature is the lane departure and traffic sensing side sensors.  Rather than being on the exterior mirrors, they are now inside and just inboard from the exterior mirrors, and, if things get too close or you get too close to things, they will chime.  That means they are work beautifully with one’s peripheral vision and this was much appreciated.

There are more pluses than minuses here. This new Sentra has more “personality” than before.

I think that the current Nissan Sentra has improved quite a bit.  Its competitors would be the Toyota Corolla, the Hyundai Elantra, the Kia Forte, and the Honda Civic.  These would be in the same category if being rented.  Since its most lauded competitors would be the Corolla and the Civic, I’ll address those.  First, I have not driven a Honda Civic, which has gotten more attractive and more like the Accord over the years.  However, compared to the Toyota Corolla, in my opinion, the gap narrows.  The interior is more appealing than that of the Corolla.  In terms of styling, its exterior side view and rear view are sportier and more attractive, but less so up front, where the overused Nissan design vocabulary is up against the overused Toyota design vocabulary.  Where the Toyota might shine brighter is in its legendary reliability and longevity.  However, if a person foresees a shorter holding period or plans to keep it no more than 100,000 - or 150,000 - miles, this distinction may become moot.   I enjoyed spending a week and several hundred miles in this compact and practical mid-sized sedan. 


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Side view


More jellybean-like side view showing sunroof and the stranger applique Nissan is using these days between the C-pillar and the rest of the body; again, visibility was excellent


Angled front view:  the conventional Nissan grille lives on


Angled rear view:  better than in the last-gen

Edited by trinacriabob
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An overall view of the interior upon opening the passenger door.


With a few minor exceptions, a symmetrical and appealing dashboard is in front of you


Pluses:  the infotainment screen is easy to work with and the power connections give you all the choices - Minuses:  I don't like the cheaper circular vents and I had a hard time calibrating the air conditioning since it was a little humid


This is how things should be laid out ... except for the message, which I told them about upon returning it, that's where the digital speed readout would be


Push button start right above the gear selector and you can see some of the stitching on the trim here


Comfortable and supportive bucket seats ... I believe the same seat is used if outfitted in cloth


For how much car they have to work with, the rear seat legroom should be acceptable for average sized adults


Actually, it's more fun to use a sunroof, even if not pulled back, when it's scenic and cool outside


I was very pleased with the visibility and this is a big improvement over the last-gen model


It's all here and convenient for the driver:  trunk release, fuel door release, and hood latch release


They come on while starting the car, but these are great and they readily light up when necessary and are also very easy to pick up with one's peripheral vision


The trunk room is generous

Edited by trinacriabob
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A standard Nissan normally aspirated 4-cylinder engine is under the hood and most service points are easy to see and identify


This is what direct injection/ignition looks like and there are the manifolds at the right, the kind (the material!) of which we would not see in yesteryear's muscle cars


Edited by trinacriabob
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