With a global shift from big to small taking place at a rapidly increasing rate, automakers seem to be scrambling to breath new life into their compact offerings. The latest from Nissan will be all-new but, its namesake and philosophy towards life is looking to be the same as its ever-so-popular ancestors. For the 2013 model year, the Sentra will hit the streets with some traits that were not as apparent with previous installations. Nissan is saying that the upcoming sedan will be the most refined, sophisticated and stylish Sentra yet.
In order to be actually all-new, Nissan engineers created a fresh platform that is an impressive 150 lbs lighter than the 2012 Sentra. The wheelbase has been stretched .6 inches and the overall length of 182.1 inches is 2.3 inches longer than before. Shorter overhangs accompany a lower and more narrow stance for increased aerodynamics and the 2013′s overall interior volume is not much different and stands at 111 cubic feet. Still compact and still front wheel drive, the Sentra has yet to fall from its roots put into place back in 1983.
Borrowing numerous cues from the recently debuted Altima, the 2013 Sentra was put into place to be the most elegant generation yet. Gone are previous model’s boxed lines, squared shoulders and rental-grade accents and in their place is pure fluidity. The now-signature trapezoid grille is present and on each side of the bold Nissan badge are segment exclusive LED accented headlamps. These pieces are standard equipment as well as the taillights which flaunt numerous LEDs as well. The 2013′s beltline has been lowered to incorporate a ”character line” which runs the length of the car. By no means overlly radical, the new Sentra looks just enough like the older car that no one should confuse it for something other than a compact Nissan.
Inside is where Nissan really put the Sentra through school as each bit has been touched with a premium feel. “Soft-touch” materials have been used for the instrument panels and leather wrapping is available for numerous bits and pieces. The design and layout definitely look better than before with well-placed chrome and mature-looking buttons/switches. A tilt and telescoping steering wheel, air conditioning with in-cabin microfilter, power windows and keyless entry are all a part of the Sentra’s standard features list. Optional interior equipment include satellite radio, bluetooth phone pairing, navigation with NissanConnect and for the first time, a dual-zone automatic climate control will be offered.
Picking out a powertrain for the 2013 Sentra should be rather easy considering there will only be one offered at first. All-new and displacing 1.8 liters, the dual cam inline four cylinder is actually lower on power than the previous 2.0 liter MR20 found in the 2012. With 130 horsepower and 128 lb-ft of torque, the 2013 more than likely won’t be winning any stop light drag races any time soon but it will impressive at the pump. With a long stroke crank, continuously variable valve timing, DLC internal coating and “beehive” shaped valve springs, the low-friction mill should return fuel mileage numbers of 39 mpg on the highway and 30 mpg in the city with the CVT. The Sentra’s gearless transmission was also given a once over and features an all-new and wider ratio and smaller belt pulleys. A traditional six speed manual transmission will still be available but only on the base model.
At first, the Sentra will come in S, FE+ S, SV, FE+ SV, SR and SL flavors. Each, with the exception of the S, come standard with the CVT and all models use an independent front and torsion beam rear suspension. Wheel sizes vary from 16 to 17 inch mult-spoke alloys and a wealth of interior packages will be available. No official word has been said yet regarding a SE-R or V-Spec model but given the recent uptake of hot-rod compacts, Nissan will surely and hopefully follow suit.
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