2015 Nissan Sentra Review
2015 Nissan Sentra Review
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Edmunds' Expert Review
by the Edmunds Experts
- Upscale and spacious interior
- priced lower than many rivals
- high fuel economy
- generous trunk space
- useful infotainment features.
- Underwhelming acceleration
- sometimes odd transmission programming.
All Nissan Sentra trim levels gain new standard equipment for 2015. Base S models get cruise control, a USB connection port, Bluetooth phone connection, steering wheel audio controls and automatic headlights, while the midgrade SV now has keyless entry and ignition, a color audio display, a rearview camera, Bluetooth audio connectivity, integrated smartphone apps, satellite radio and leather accents. The sporty 2015 Nissan Sentra SR also picks up the keyless ignition, along with heated front seats and heated outside mirrors. Rear disc brakes are now standard on the SR and SL trim levels. Finally, Nissan has modified the Sentra's front structure to improve crash safety and lengthened the side airbags.
Thanks to competitive pricing, admirable fuel economy and a well-appointed cabin, the 2015 Nissan Sentra is a respectable choice in the small sedan class. But know that its rivals offer many of the same attributes and are more rewarding to drive overall.
Calculate my fuel costs
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 2015 Nissan Sentra S 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 6M) and comparison vehicles are based on 15,000 miles per year (with a mix of 55% city and 45% highway driving) and energy estimates of $3.12 per gallon for regular unleaded in Virginia.
Monthly estimates based on costs in Virginia
$126/mo for Sentra S
Avg. Midsize Car
There was a time when shopping in the affordable, compact-sedan segment required you to compromise on a number of things, namely space, comfort, features and style. This is no longer the case, even if you're looking at a car like the 2015 Nissan Sentra, which is one of the less expensive models in this class. With its near-midsize car accommodations for passengers and shockingly large trunk, the Sentra, which earns an Edmunds.com "B" rating, will appeal to many shoppers, especially those who are downsizing from a bigger, more luxurious car. Although Nissan's entry is one of the slower cars in this class, it has a premium look and feel that other small sedans lack.
Fully redesigned just a couple of years ago, this seventh-generation Sentra continues to evolve and grow in terms of refinement, enhanced features and driver engagement. For 2015, Nissan has made standard a long list of previously optional features. For example, cruise control, a USB/iPod connection, Bluetooth phone connectivity, steering wheel audio controls and automatic headlights all come in the base S trim. Things only get better from there. Step up to the midgrade SV and you get keyless entry/push-button ignition, a color infotainment display, a rearview camera, various smartphone applications (including hands-free texting), satellite radio, Bluetooth audio streaming and leather interior accents.
Under the hood, the 2015 Sentra carries on with a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine good for 130 horsepower. It provides only modest acceleration, but clearly the goal here is to compete with rivals that promise 40-mpg capability on the highway. And indeed, when equipped with the mpg-enhancing FE+ package, the Sentra S earns this same impressive EPA fuel economy rating. It's not really necessary to get the fuel miser model, though, since any 2015 Nissan Sentra with the continuously variable transmission (CVT) -- which Nissan offers in place of a conventional automatic transmission -- is EPA-rated for 39 mpg on the highway and 33 mpg combined.
Still, the 2015 Nissan Sentra stakes a claim in a segment that is chock-full of great choices, each with its own advantages. The 2015 Ford Focus (heavily revised this year) and 2015 Mazda 3 both provide a more involving driving experience, along with a slightly more youthful vibe. And you can't leave out the Hyundai Elantra and Honda Civic, given their well-rounded nature and generous lists of standard features. Finally, the 2015 Volkswagen Jetta is notable because it's available as a gas-electric hybrid or with a new turbodiesel engine and delivers big mpg numbers either way. These are all formidable rivals, but if fuel economy and a spacious interior are your top priorities and your budget is tight, the 2015 Nissan Sentra is a smart alternative to the heavyweights in this class.
Performance & mpg
Every 2015 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, and a CVT is optional. All other Sentras have the CVT as standard.
The EPA estimates that the six-speed manual Sentra will achieve 30 mpg combined (27 city/36 highway). Opting for the CVT ups economy to 33 combined (29/39). The FE+ S model adds 1 more mpg across the board, and thus its combined figure nets out to 34 mpg, making the Sentra one of the most fuel-efficient sedans in this class.
On the other hand, in Edmunds testing, a Nissan Sentra SL accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 10.1 seconds, which is among the slowest times for this class of car.
The 2015 Nissan Sentra comes standard with antilock brakes, stability control, tire-pressure monitoring, front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and active front head restraints. A rearview camera and Nissan's Easy Fill Tire Alert system (which uses audible and visual signals to help you achieve the correct psi when adding air) are standard starting at the SV trim level.
Most Sentra models come with rear drum brakes, but rear disc brakes are standard on the SR and SL. However, in Edmunds brake testing, a Sentra with the less costly rear drum brakes stopped from 60 mph in 118 feet, a better than average distance for the segment.
In government crash tests, the 2015 Sentra earned an overall rating of four stars (out of a possible five), with four stars for frontal impact protection and five stars for side-impact protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the 2015 Sentra its best rating of "Good" in its moderate-overlap and small-overlap frontal offset impact tests. The Sentra also earned a "Good" rating in the side-impact, roof-strength and seat and head restraint (whiplash protection) tests.
The 2015 Nissan Sentra's 130-hp engine is pleasantly muted while accelerating moderately and cruising at freeway speeds. The Sentra's CVT is one of the better ones out there, offering little of the strangely elastic "rubber-banding" sensation some of these transmissions suffer from. Part of the reason for this is that Nissan has programmed in simulated stepped-shifting as you would get with a traditional automatic transmission. This would seem to contradict the CVT's fuel economy priority, but depending on selected mode (D, L, O/D off, Eco, Sport) and throttle position, the transmission tailors its behavior accordingly. While it's hard to predict its varied responses, we're sure you'll find a mode that suits your expectations and needs.
The Sentra finds an agreeable middle ground in the ride quality department. It's not as harsh as some sportier alternatives, and for the most part, the ride is fairly smooth and sophisticated. Handling around turns is respectable, and the Sentra has responsive, reassuring steering. The brakes are also more than adequate and provide plenty of stopping power along with an intuitive pedal feel.
Taller drivers will welcome the Nissan Sentra's unexpectedly spacious front seats. Rear-seat passengers aren't left out either. Indeed, the rear accommodations are so spacious that the Sentra practically feels like a midsize sedan from the backseat.
Although the Sentra's conservative overall interior design isn't going to wow you, everything in the cabin is solidly screwed together. Standout features include optional keyless entry/ignition that was once a luxury-car item, as well as smartphone app integration (NissanConnect), which allows you to do Google searches via the car's 5.8-inch touchscreen interface in navigation-equipped models. In Sentras without navigation, you can still stream Internet radio (Pandora or iHeartRadio) and monitor text messages and social media.
Luggage capacity is generous for the class. At 15.1 cubic feet, the Sentra's trunk volume is comparable to that of many midsize sedans.
2015 Nissan Sentra models
The 2015 Nissan Sentra is a small, five-passenger sedan offered in S, FE+ S, SV, SR and SL main trim levels.
The base Sentra S comes with 16-inch steel wheels, automatic headlights, LED taillamps, a remote keyless-entry system with trunk release, air-conditioning, a six-way manually adjustable driver seat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering column with audio controls and cruise control, full power accessories and a four-speaker sound system with a CD player, USB/iPod and auxiliary audio ports and Bluetooth phone connectivity. Foglights, illuminated door sills, a rear spoiler, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and accent lighting are optional. The FE+ S version prioritizes fuel economy with low-rolling-resistance tires, a rear spoiler and underbody aerodynamic deflectors.
A step up is the SV, which adds keyless entry and push-button ignition, upgraded cloth upholstery, a sliding front armrest, leather steering wheel and shifter, a 5-inch color infotainment display, rearview camera, NissanConnect integrated smartphone applications (including hands-free text messaging capability), satellite radio, Bluetooth audio streaming and a six-speaker sound system.
Above this, the sporty SR gains bolder styling elements, including front and rear fascias, lower body skirting, foglights and a rear spoiler. Inside, it has premium cloth upholstery, silver trim and heated front seats. Functionally, it gains rear disc brakes, 17-inch alloy wheels and heated outside mirrors with integrated LED turn signals. The top-grade SL comes with the SV's standard features plus the functional equipment from the SR. It also boasts leather seating, dual-zone automatic climate control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and simulated wood accents.
The Cold Weather package (SV only) includes leather upholstery and heated front seats. The Style package (SV only) adds a sunroof, illuminated vanity mirrors, unique 16-inch alloy wheels and a rear spoiler. Optional for the SR and SL is the Premium package, which adds a sunroof, illuminated vanity mirrors, an eight-speaker Bose audio system, and for the SR only, leather seating (heated up front) and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. The Navigation package (available on all but the S) includes a navigation system, a larger 5.8-inch touchscreen display, satellite traffic and travel information, and voice recognition.
2.7 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
1 out of 5 stars
Buyer Beware!! Deathtrap! Lsuits pending! Read on-
2015 Nissan Sentra SV 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl CVT)
I have a 2015 Nissan Sentra with only 19k miles on it. The transmission is already going! I was having major problems lately (and some at the 5k miles mark I didn't realize was linked until now). I've been getting loud thudding noises upon accelerating, metal clinking noises, pulling, erratic RPM's, a loud thudding sound driving down a steep mountain (Big Bear, CA), only able to go about … 40-45mph up hills, loss of power when trying to merge onto freeway, gears switching (going slow) upon accelerating when trying to cross traffic, etc. (Dangerous!) I took it in to my mechanic yesterday thinking it was something hitting the inner tire, or some front end issue. After telling the owner/mechanic, he immediately asked if it was a newer Nissan. He took it for a test drive, came back and said, "this is definitely your transmission. Nissan is infamous for these problems with their CVT transmission systems!" He has seen this SEVERAL times, and even got rid of his own Nissan due to same problems with the CVT transmission. He nearly went off a cliff when the SECOND transmission went out on him. He said that I should immediately get it in to the dealer to have it fixed (I have extended warranty). I did that today, spent 3 hours there, only to have them tell me that there were "no error codes". I was shocked to say the least. The mechanic then took it for a test drive with me, and he heard the thudding noise upon accelerating from a stop several times, but the loud metal clinking sound didn't happen on the short test drive. I told them how I am very much aware of these problems with Nissan's CVT transmissions, because I did a simple Google search last night, and was shocked and disgusted by the hundreds upon hundreds of reviews regarding this issue with other Nissan owners. He then said that I can bring my car back on Tuesday (2/12/19) and they will actually look at the transmission itself. I couldn't believe that they didn't do that today. They just checked for error codes, which doesn't always show up when you have problems. So, they are now going to cost me more of my time and money to take it in to have it properly looked at, when that should've been done today, especially when they know full well of the CVT problems in Nissan's, especially in the time frame my make/model falls in. After reading hundreds of reviews in discussion forums, I see that many people are on their 2nd to 4th transmission replacement, and many eventually get rid of them. The problem is, even though Nissan extended their warranty on their CVT transmissions (they know why!), and you get the car "fixed", it will never really be fixed. The reason being that the faulty transmission will be replaced with the same type of faulty CVT transmission. You will always be at risk for being stranded, in a dangerous situation on the road, and always wasting your time taking it to get repaired. You can never fully feel comfortable driving anywhere, especially on long trips, up inclines/hills, or in hot weather, etc., as long as this issue remains. I still have payments on this unreliable and dangerous car until 2021, and do not feel comfortable driving it, especially with my children in it, anywhere. I had to cancel a trip this weekend due to this issue. I shouldn't have to worry about such things on a new car that only has 19k miles on it! I have owned several Nissan's, trusted them, and used to rave about the quality. Not anymore. Just do a Google search and find out for yourself.
3 out of 5 stars
This guy, 07/27/2017
2015 Nissan Sentra SR 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl CVT)
I've been having transmission issues since 12k miles and now I have just under 60k and now I have to replace the transmission. In the beginning, (around 12k miles) the transmission would SLIP, I guess that's the word I'd use to describe it. Anyway, I'd come to an intersection and when I went to press on the gas, the rpms would race as high as 4000 but the car wouldn't go no faster than … 20 miles an hour. Twice I was almost in an accident because of this. I learned that I had to pull off to the side of the road, shut the car off and let it sit for a minute; I guess to reset the computer. I'd restart the car and it would be fine. This was an occurring matter, and I took it to the dealership and they couldn't figure out the problem. I had the transmission fluid service performed by nissan at just over 30k and the problem seemed to go away...for a while. At around 58 to 59k miles, I was hearing a whining noise coming from my car. I thought nothing of it really, just thought it was the air conditioner compressor making the noise. I scheduled an appointment to have it checked, and it turns out to be a bearing or some kind of belt in the transmission is going bad. I bought this car in Oct 2015 with 35 miles on the car so I'm the only owner, it's now July 2017 and I'm having the transmission replaced? Really? My advice to you is this, if you decide to buy a used 2015 Nissan sentra, be sure to get as much of the service info as possible on the car and if you're buying this car new, be sure to get the extended warrantee. You'll be glad you did.
1 out of 5 stars
CVT failure guaranteed
Chris B., 01/05/2018
2015 Nissan Sentra SL 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl CVT)
My daughter purchased a new 2015 Sentra for cash. She does drive a lot due to her job and has put just over 80,000 miles on the car in nearly 3 years. The CVT burned up completely and the car is immobile. There is no additional warranty on drive train or engine beyond 3 years and 36,000 miles. Upon reading up on CVT issues for Nissan, it is obvious this transmission is notorious. Many, … many drivers have had the same experience as my daughter. The transmission is not repairable due to the technology used in the CVT. A replacement transmission is around $3000, if you are lucky. It is simply cheaper for us to get rid of the car to buy a replacement vehicle. Before purchasing this car, research Nissan CVT issues.
5 out of 5 stars
Sentra SR , answers the call
Bill C., 05/07/2016
2015 Nissan Sentra SR 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl CVT)
First thing, If you want 0-60 times that will Impress your friends , look elsewhere. Power , is adequate , no more. I like the quietness of the interior , the quality of interior materials, and the car looks great. Had zero problems , no issues. I have not checked the mpg , and will not do so until I reach 12k miles. Same goes for final judgement on the 1.8L power plant. The CVT is not … as weird as earlier versions I have driven. It does take some getting use to and this is my third CVT equipped Nissan, so it no longer seems that strange. My experience has shown that to really judge the performance and mpg on a car such as this , first you need to get them well broken in. As stated , this is my third Nissan , I keep going back because they have always been trouble free , tight and quiet. If I had a beef , it would have been the CVT, but I've experienced no trouble with any of the three Nissan CVT's I've owned. Not a race car , but a good looking, IMO , and trouble free vehicle that looks nice and ages well. Interior materials seem to hold up, and squeaks and rattles just don't seem to happen.
2015 Sentra Highlights
|Combined MPG||30 MPG|
|Cost to Drive||$126/month|
|Cargo Capacity |
All Seats In Place
|Drivetrain||front wheel drive|
|Warranty||3 years / 36,000 miles|
NHTSA Overall Rating4 out of 5 stars
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
- Frontal Barrier Crash RatingOverall4 / 5Driver4 / 5Passenger4 / 5
- Side Crash RatingOverall5 / 5
- Side Barrier RatingOverall5 / 5Driver5 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsFront Seat5 / 5Back Seat5 / 5
- RolloverRollover4 / 5Dynamic Test ResultNo TipRisk Of Rollover11.8%
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
- Small Overlap Front Driver-Side TestGood
- Small Overlap Front Passenger-Side TestNot Tested
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – OriginalGood
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Side Impact Test – OriginalGood
- Side Impact Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Roof Strength TestGood
- Rear Crash Protection / Head RestraintGood