Used 2013 Nissan Sentra Sedan Review & Ratings | Edmunds

Used 2013 Nissan Sentra Sedan Review

2013 Nissan Sentra Sedan

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Edmunds Summary Review of the 2013 Nissan Sentra Sedan

  • Thanks to improved fuel economy, a welcoming cabin and enhanced infotainment features, the 2013 Nissan Sentra becomes a much more desirable choice in the small sedan class.

  • Pros

    Upscale and spacious interior; high fuel economy; generous trunk space; useful electronic features.

  • Cons

    Steering lacks feel; underwhelming acceleration.

  • What's New for 2013

    The 2013 Nissan Sentra is fully redesigned. Highlights include a roomier interior, improved fuel efficiency and a new electronics interface. For now, the high-performance SE-R and SE-R Spec V models have been discontinued.

Full Edmunds Expert Review: 2013 Nissan Sentra Sedan

What's New for 2013

The 2013 Nissan Sentra is fully redesigned. Highlights include a roomier interior, improved fuel efficiency and a new electronics interface. For now, the high-performance SE-R and SE-R Spec V models have been discontinued.


It's been a while since the Nissan Sentra has been a major player in the small-sedan segment. The previous-generation car, last redesigned in 2007, has been increasingly outclassed in terms of design, features and fuel economy over the past few years. Yet the fully redesigned 2013 Nissan Sentra is a much-improved car, boasting significant improvements that should thrust this formerly forgettable sedan out of the shadows and into the spotlight.

For starters, the 2013 Sentra rides atop an all-new platform. Overall length has grown by about 2 inches, yet Nissan says the new car is 150 pounds lighter than before. The Sentra's styling has grown up at the same time, with a cleaner, more upscale look. Notably, the car's grille, silhouette and headlights/taillights are now more closely related to the similarly redesigned Altima's. This premium vibe continues into the cabin, which features higher-quality materials and a more handsome-looking design. The Sentra's extra length has also freed up greater amounts of rear passenger room and trunk space.

Under the hood is a new 1.8-liter engine. It's slightly smaller than last year's 2.0-liter engine, and makes less peak power (130 horsepower versus 140 hp). This may seem odd until you realize Nissan's goal was to compete with the Sentra's rivals, which advertise 40-mpg capability on the highway. Indeed, the Sentra FE earns this same impressive rating, while overall fuel economy is impressive throughout the lineup. A newly revised continuously variable transmission (CVT) comes on all but the base model, which has a six-speed manual transmission as standard.

Overall, the 2013 Nissan Sentra makes a strong showing in a segment that is chock full of great choices, each with its own advantages. The 2013 Ford Focus and 2013 Mazda 3 provide a more involving driving experience along with a slightly more youthful vibe. And you can't leave out the 2013 Hyundai Elantra and 2013 Honda Civic, with their well-rounded nature and generous lists of standard features. Yet if fuel economy and a spacious and upscale interior are priorities for you, then the 2013 Nissan Sentra is worthy of serious consideration.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2013 Nissan Sentra is a small sedan offered in S, SV, SR and SL main trim levels. There are also the "FE+" versions of the S and SV that prioritize fuel economy.

The base Sentra S comes with 16-inch steel wheels, a six-way manually adjustable driver seat, air-conditioning, a tilt-and-telescoping steering column, a trip computer, full power accessories and a four-speaker sound system with CD player and auxiliary audio jack.

A step up is the SV, which adds cruise control, premium cloth upholstery and a six-speaker sound system. The sporty SR gains bolder styling elements including 17-inch alloy wheels, foglights, lower body skirting and a rear spoiler. The optional Driver's package for the SV and SR adds automatic headlights, rear disc brakes (SR only), keyless/ignition entry, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, Bluetooth phone connectivity and a six-speaker sound system with a 4.3-inch display, satellite radio and a USB/iPod interface.

The FE+ versions of the S and SV add a rear spoiler, underbody aerodynamic deflectors and low-rolling-resistance tires, all of which promote slightly higher fuel mileage.

The SL comes with the SV's standard features and equipment from the Driver's package. It also boasts unique 17-inch alloy wheels, foglights, heated exterior mirrors, dual-zone climate control and wood-tone accents.

Optional for the SV, SR and SL is the Premium package, which adds a sunroof, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and an eight-speaker Bose audio system. The Navigation package includes a navigation system, NissanConnect (hands-free text messaging and Pandora radio), a rearview camera and Bluetooth audio connectivity. The Leather package (SL only) includes the rear disc brakes, leather upholstery and heated front seats.

Powertrains and Performance

Every 2013 Nissan Sentra gets a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 130 hp and 128 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard on the base model, with a CVT being optional. All other Sentras have the CVT as standard.

Nissan estimates that the CVT-equipped Sentra returns 30 mpg city/39 mpg highway and 34 mpg combined, making it one of the most fuel-efficient cars in its class. The FE+ model is expected to achieve an EPA-rated estimate of 40-mpg highway.

In Edmunds testing, a Sentra SL accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 9.7 seconds, which is about a half-second slower than average for this class of car.


The 2013 Nissan Sentra comes standard with antilock brakes, stability control, front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and active front head restraints. Most Sentra models come with rear drum brakes, although rear discs are an option.

In government crash tests, the Sentra earned an overall rating of four stars (out of a possible five), with four stars for total frontal impact protection and five stars for side-impact protection. In Edmunds brake testing, a Sentra SL stopped from 60 mph in 126 feet, an average distance for the segment.

Interior Design and Special Features

Taller drivers will welcome the new Sentra's standard tilt-and-telescoping steering column, while all adults should be pleased by the unexpectedly spacious front seats. Rear-seat passengers aren't left out either, since they have nearly 3 more inches of legroom than before, making the Sentra one of the most spacious cars in its class.

Fit and finish throughout the cabin is excellent, and the SL trim, in particular, stands out with its generous use of soft-touch materials and wood-tone accents; its available leather upholstery, with its handsome stitching, is especially appealing. The NissanConnect enhanced electronics interface allows one to search (via its 5.8-inch touchscreen) the Internet, stream Pandora or Bluetooth audio, and even hear and compose text messages hands-free using a mobile phone's Bluetooth connection.

Luggage capacity is generous. At 15.1 cubic feet it's comparable to that of many midsize sedans.

Driving Impressions

Around town and on the freeway, the 2013 Nissan Sentra provides a fairly smooth and quiet ride. Driving over severely broken pavement may result in an occasional jolt reaching the cabin, but it's nothing worse than what you'd likely experience in most of the Nissan's rivals. Though the Sentra's handling abilities around corners are respectable, the steering is rather numb. Other small sedans are more rewarding to drive.

The Sentra's new engine is pleasantly muted while accelerating moderately and while cruising at freeway speeds. Only under hard acceleration does the engine get vocal, but it's nothing objectionable, especially given the segment in which it competes. During aggressive driving, throttle response could be crisper, but the Sentra's CVT is one of the better ones out there, offering fairly linear response, quiet freeway cruising and little of the strangely elastic "rubber-banding" sensation some of these transmissions have. On that note, the Sentra's acceleration isn't as energetic as the top models in this class, but it's perfectly adequate for everyday driving.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Average Consumer Rating (See all 45 reviews) Write a Review

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Extremely happy with purchase!

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Nissan Sentra

I took a long time researching cars before I made my purchase and so far have had zero regrets. I was looking for a fully loaded car that was both economical and reliable. With 54,000 miles and after over 3 years of ownership I have had no issues whatsoever, consistently obtain over 40 mpg, and am very satisfied with the comfort and handling. The only negative I can think of is storage between the front seats is a bit lacking. I like the fact that routine maintenence is quite simple if you are the do it yourself type of owner (oil changes, cabin air filter, and engine air filter). Great job Nissan!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Total piece of crap!

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Nissan Sentra

Had the car a little of a year. Been in for multiple service issue......transmission on at least 3 occasions, front was totally redone (wheel cylinders, speed sensors, rotors....$2200 worth), then rear wheel cylinders, corrosion builds up on front brakes on a regular basis. Just picked the car up on Friday, today is Tuesday back in the shop again. Nissan used to be a really good car, obviously not anymore. DO NOT BUY!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Great car

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Nissan Sentra

It's a very roomy and spacious interior I'm 6ft 270lb guy and I sat in back seat and had leg room. Has sporty road handling and great on mpg

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

Awful car

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Nissan Sentra

I bought my car May 2013 new from the dealer, the car has never been involved in an accident. About 3-4 months after having recently bought the car the car made this horrible grinding noise, I took it to the dealer and they said it was because I drove through mud! I couldn't believe they gave me that excuse, so I took it to the dealer again and after complaining they finally looked at it and they fixed the part that was defected. Now March 2016 my car started to accelerate or jump on its own while I was driving. The problem grew worse when making a left turn the car barely moved even though I pressed on the gas all the way the car seem like it wouldn't budge. There were also times I would press in the gas and the car started to feel like it would jump and feel like it was about to shut off. I thought the fuel filter needed to be fixed, once we took it to the dealer the problem was that the car needed a new transmission. Fortunately, the car was under warranty so they are supposed to be fixing it. Another feature I noticed that doesn't work properly is that sometimes when the front passenger is sitting it reads as if nobody is sitting there, so if I were an accident the bag could possible not deploy. This car has been nothing but a waste and I regret getting this piece of junk!!!

Great car!

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Nissan Sentra

I love my Nissan Sentra it's a great car. No problems wrong with it

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

20000, cvt problems

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Nissan Sentra

The warranty is only as good as the company backing it. Nissan has a CVT issue and, as normal isn't doing much about it. My last Nissan, CVT issues at 20,000. Nissan needs to step up. Can't get Nissan to keep the car long enough to get the car to do it. I've been on a intermittent slip going on 8 months now, about have gotten hit twice now. If you buy one, get a standard shift. Advice is to stay away, I hate to admit it, but go buy a Toyota.

Talk About The 2013 Sentra

2013 Nissan Sentra Discussions See all Started By

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Read more about the 2013 Nissan Sentra

Gas Mileage


  • 30
  • cty
  • 39
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
Edmunds Insurance Estimator

The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2013 Nissan Sentra Sedan in VA is:

$53.75 per month*

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