Used 2013 Nissan Sentra Sedan Review & Ratings | Edmunds

Used 2013 Nissan Sentra Sedan Review

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Edmunds Expert 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.

  • Safety
  • 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 2013 Nissan Sentra Review

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 35 reviews) Write a Review

1 of 4 people found this review helpful

Bad transmission

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Nissan Sentra SR 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl CVT)

we bought are 2013 Nissan brand new. before we even replaced the brakes the tranny went. my husband was driving home from work (270 miles from our house) when the car stopped accelerating. the check eng. light came on and would only go 10 mph. he pulled into the nearest dealership only for them to give him the bad news. the tranny needed to be replaced and our warranty had expired.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Stalling issues

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Nissan Sentra SR 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl CVT)

my sentra sr is stalling on me when i start my car in the morning,, i always warm it up for 10 min, and lately it has been stalling on me in reverse,,idles below 1 and makes a real weird whinning noise kinda like a old honda...when i come to a stop the idle just drops below 1 and then it dies like it ran out of gas,,electric is still on brakes dont lock up but seems to be getting worse,,going to the dealer tomorrow.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

I love my car...but!

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Nissan Sentra SR 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl CVT)

This is the 3rd Sentra I have owned and by far my favorite! I had a 2002, 2008 & now 2013 and never had a problem with any of them until now. On my first drive in the 2013 the car turned off while I was driving. No lights nothing, just off. It turned right back on and I took it in and Nissan was great! 2 transmission updates and I was on the road again. I just hit 30,000 miles and coasted into the dealership. I need a new transmission. I don't know how long they are going to have my car but I miss it already.

A solid car...

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Nissan Sentra SR 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl CVT)

Reading these reviews, it seems almost like someone only does a review when there's a problem. I have had my '13 Sentra SR since around the first of January 2014 and have put 21,000 miles on it during that time. That's a lot of miles but I bought it primarily as a commuter car. I can tell you that I have had no problems, it runs and drives just like when new. Gas mileage averaged around 31 when new and started averaging 35 (about 65% highway overall). After owning 9 Nissans I've found they don't start getting their better mileage numbers until about 12-15K on the odometer. I think it would average about 3-4mpgs better if they didn't sell 10% ethanol gas where I live (North Louisiana).

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Brake failure

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Vehicle: 2013 Nissan Sentra S 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl CVT)

I posting on this site seeking help. I have about 16,000 -17,000 miles on my car (its in the shop now so I cant look) and my brakes completely failed while driving. I was going about 50 on a service road and my car acted as if it was going to stale. So I decided to slow down and pull into a parking lot. When I tried to apply the brake I couldn't even push the pedal down. It was as if a brick was under my break. So I turned my car off and coasted into the parking lot. Thank the Lord no one was in my way. I sat there for 15 minutes and turned my car back on. I started to drive around the parking lot and it acted fine. I took to the dealership and they stated they couldn't find anything wrong.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

I'm getting a little scared...

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Nissan Sentra SL 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl CVT)

I have a 2013 Sentra SL- At 2837 miles, The car went completely dead- electric system shut down. It was in my garage so no safety issue- Had the car towed. Local dealership said it was an internal failure in the IPDM. After 4 days and replacing this, car ran fine. Nissan paid for a 3 day rental. It happened again last night- approx. 11,000 miles- dead as a doornail. Spent the morning waiting on a tow, setting up a rental car, etc. Waiting to hear from the dealer. Nissan has promised a 3 day rental but COME ON GUYS! I'm a single Mom- no one to help me get to work- no work, no pay! I thought I was getting a RELIABLE car- AM I GOING TO BE ON THE NIGHTLY NEWS like the GM DRIVERS? I'M SCARED!!

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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:

$169.42 per month*

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