The Sentra looks good on paper but then doesn't quite live up to expectations. Redesigned for 2013, the Nissan is noisy and underwhelming to drive.
Sentra's best quality is that it has one of the roomiest rear seats in the class. Another plus was the availability of some attractive options for not a lot of money, which should make it quite attractive on the used car market. Our mid-trim Sentra SV sported a rear camera and navigation system, push-button start, automatic headlights, contemporary (for the time) communications capability and connectivity, as well as a host of other modern gear. Fuel economy came in at 29 mpg overall.
None of those goodies do much for the driving experience though, and that's where the Sentra falls short. The 130-hp, 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine and CVT feel weak during everyday driving, despite posting good numbers by the stopwatch. The combo is also relentlessly noisy. The ride is stiff and rubbery and handling is surprisingly inept for a light and small car. Between the nonstop engine drone, uninspired handling, and pogo-stick ride, Sentra scores too low to recommend. 2014 models received a revised CVT, steering and suspension tuning, but they didn't change our overall impression of the underwhelming Sentra.