The 2017 Nissan Sentra keeps up this popular sedan's reputation for offering plenty of value. With lots of interior room and trunk space, the Sentra could be considered a small car with midsize ambitions, and a wide range of trim levels and optional packages and accessories allow buyers to make it more of a premium car experience.
Having undergone a refresh last year, the Sentra has been only mildly tweaked for 2017. Changes include more comfortable seats, a larger center console and a quieter ride, courtesy of thicker window glass and better insulation. But the big news is the addition of the new SR Turbo model, which features a high-output engine, a six-speed manual transmission or a specially calibrated automatic CVT, and sport-tuned suspension.
Inside, there's a surprising amount of room for passengers and plenty of storage space for their belongings in numerous cubbies and the 15.1-cubic-foot trunk. Nissan prices the Sentra pretty aggressively, which will appeal to value-conscious shoppers, and available features still include such niceties as dual-zone automatic climate control, leather seating, a premium sound system and the NissanConnect system, which facilitates the use of smartphone-based apps.
All 2017 Sentra trim levels except the SR Turbo come with a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 130 horsepower. The new SR Turbo model is powered by a turbocharged 1.6-liter engine that increases output to 188 hp. The base S model is equipped with a standard six-speed manual gearbox, and a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) is an option on the S and standard on all other trims, except the Turbo, which offers a choice of the two transmissions.
Power with the base engine is adequate but not particularly impressive when compared to many competitors. The standard suspension is tuned more for comfort and stability than handling, so although it provides a decent ride, cornering requires higher-than-average steering input and results in considerable body roll. Buyers seeking a bit more performance might want to test-drive the SR Turbo with its free-revving engine, which offers improved low- and mid-range zip. But even with its firmer suspension, the SR Turbo still doesn't excel in the handling department.
The best fuel economy in the Sentra lineup is achieved with the standard engine and the CVT, which returns an EPA rating of 32 mpg combined (29 city/37 highway). The lowest-rated model is the SR Turbo equipped with the manual transmission at 28 mpg combined (26 city/32 highway).
The base Sentra S comes very well equipped with features such as automatic headlights, air-conditioning and cruise control. Moving up to the SV trim level brings some extra comfort and technology items, while the SR adds on a number of sporty touches. The top-of-the-line SL piles on more luxury and convenience. Finally, the SR Turbo gives drivers more performance, as well as some unique styling touches and a host of additional features. Whatever your preference, let Edmunds help you find the 2017 Nissan Sentra that best meets your needs.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.