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2014 Nissan Sentra

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 12/15/2014 Austin Lott

New for 2014

After a redesign for the 2013 model year, Nissan surprisingly made a number of refinements for 2014, including the latest NissanConnect infotainment system, more insulation and changes to make the CVT quieter, a retune of the steering, suspension changes for decreased body roll, and a retune of the CVT itself that aims to increase response and driver feel.

Vehicle Overview

The Sentra is Nissan's entry into the competitive compact sedan segment, which sits below the Altima and above the smaller Versa in the automaker's lineup.

Summary

The 2014 Nissan Sentra comes with a 1.8-liter I-4 mated to either a six-speed manual or an optional CVT. The 130-hp I-4 makes 128 lb-ft of torque and powers the front wheels for an EPA-estimated 27/26 mpg city/highway with the six-speed; the CVT has an EPA estimate of 30/39 mpg. An optional FE+ package can be paired with the CVT for one extra mpg on the highway, breaking into the coveted 40-mpg territory. However, in a 2013 Big Test between compact sedans, we observed just 21.2 mpg.

The 2014 Nissan Sentra received a four-star overall safety rating from the NHSTA (out of a possible five stars), and in IIHS testing it received four ratings of good and one of poor (for the newer, more difficult front overlap test; the highest possible rating is good).

What We Think

In a Big Test of 2013 compact sedans, we lined the Nissan Sentra up with the Honda Civic, Dodge Dart, Mazda3, and Kia Forte, a competition where the Nissan ranked last. While we noted that the field was closely matched it nearly every category, we faulted the Sentra for poor handling, poor observed fuel economy, and a short feature list. At the same time, we did praise the Sentra for a low price, and it had the roomiest rear seat by far, more room even than some midsize sedans. Not long after the comparison, we received word that Nissan had revised a number of components on the Sentra for 2014, just a year after their redesign, which addressed handling, CVT performance, and CVT noise, all areas we criticized. We haven't done a head-to-head comparison with the revised 2014 Sentra yet, but any improvement in those areas will make it better than the 2013 model.

You'll Like

  • Fuel economy -- if you don't drive like we do
  • Roomy rear seat
  • Low price

You Won't Like

  • Short feature list
  • Poor handling
  • Slow

Key Competitors

  • Honda Civic
  • Mazda3
  • Dodge Dart
  • Kia Forte
  • Toyota Corolla

Rating

2 star

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