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The 2013 Sentra is an all-new version of Nissan’s compact sedan, borrowing more than just some exterior styling cues from its big brother Altima. As the Altima has moved upscale, Nissan is taking the Sentra upmarket too, with what it calls a “sophisticated” body design and “high-end” details like LED head- and taillights.
The new Sentra is slightly larger than the outgoing model, but Nissan managed to shave some 150 pounds off the car as part of a concerted effort to achieve best-in-class fuel economy. Also working towards that goal is an all-new 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine and an improved continuously variable transmission (CVT), which deliver 34 mpg in the combined driving cycle and 39 mpg on the highway, says Nissan. (EPA fuel economy numbers haven’t been released yet.)
The new Sentra’s interior offers lots of room for front- and backseat passengers, soft-touch materials on the instrument panel and door trim, and luxe options like leather interior and maple wood accents. Nissan is also bringing its new NissanConnect infotainment system to the Sentra as an option, with features like hands-free text messaging, streaming audio via Bluetooth and Pandora Internet radio, and traffic and weather functions through the optional navigation system.
The only thing about the Sentra that leaves us scratching our heads is its chassis, which utilizes a torsion beam rear axle and drum brakes on the rear wheels. If Nissan truly wanted to take the Sentra upscale, a more sophisticated rear suspension system and four-wheel discs (available as an option only on higher end models) would have made more sense.
The 2013 Nissan Sentra is a four-door five-passenger front-wheel-drive compact sedan available in six trim levels.
Under the Sentra’s hood you’ll find a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine making 130 horsepower and 128 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is available in base S models, but most Sentras are equipped with a continuously variable transmission (CVT).
Standard equipment found on the Sentra S includes 16-inch steel wheels, cloth upholstery, air conditioning, a tilt/telescope steering wheel, power windows and door locks, remote keyless entry, and a four-speaker AM/FM/CD audio system. The Sentra SV adds cruise control, premium cloth upholstery, steering-wheel audio controls and a six-speaker sound system.
The sporty Sentra SR has 17-inch alloy wheels, sport front and rear fascias, body-side sill extensions, a rear spoiler, chrome exhaust tip and sport seats. The SL is the premium Sentra, getting auto headlights, foglights, Intelligent Key and push-button start, dual-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth connectivity, and a six-speaker audio system with a 4.3-inch display.
Equipment packages available for the Sentra add features like leather upholstery, the NissanConnect infotainment system, navigation, heated front seats, a backup camera and powered moonroof.
The EPA has not yet released fuel economy data for the 2013 Nissan Sentra, but the manufacturer estimates the CVT-equipped models will reach 30 mpg in the city, 39 mpg on the highway and 34 mpg combined. For those looking to maximize fuel economy, there are FE+ versions of the S and SV models that reach 40 highway mpg, says Nissan.
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