Friday, June 17, 2016

Nissan Sentra: Compact sedan, sizable driver appeal

A menu of Mark Glover’s AutoGlo car reviews can be seen on the Business page of The Sacramento Bee’s website

Sacramento, California – Can I get some basic transportation over here?

There are a lot of places where you can ask that ... getting what you want and then some.

Yet in the United States, a Nissan lot might not be the first place that jumps to mind.

Maybe it's time to change your thinking. An extensively reworked Nissan Sentra has arrived for the 2016 model year.

What does it offer?  A lot for a compact sedan.

My liberally loaded tester, a 2016 Nisan Sentra 1.8 SL with a continuously variable transmission, had standard perks that included leather-appointed seats, heated front seats, a rear-view monitor, smart headlights and a Siri Eyes Free voice-recognition system.

Options on my ride included intelligent cruise control, a power sliding glass moonroof and a kickin’ Bose premium audio system.

Even with all that, the bottom line was an affordable $25,545.

Nissan’s Maxima and Altima received styling upgrades, and happily, so did the Sentra.  The latest Sentra looks decidedly sporty with a new front fascia, grille, fenders, hood and boomerang-shaped headlights.

All that sporty flash likely makes the Sentra look like its moving very fast on the fly.  If you like the illusion, don’t tell friends that the Sentra is powered by a relatively humble 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine making a max 130 horsepower.

Do tell them that you’re getting 29 miles per gallon in the city and 38 mpg on the highway.

Frankly, I found the four banger to be more than adequate for what I was asking from the tested Sentra.  Steering was one-hand easy, and the continuously variable transmission performed seamlessly.

A surprisingly roomy interior cabin was a treat for driver and passengers.  Frankly, I felt spoiled by my surroundings, not a common occurrence in a compact sedan.

The reworked Sentra also offers a full menu of in-vehicle connectivity features, a smart shout-out to a new generation of motorists.

Another bonus: Admirable federal safety ratings in this segment.

The Sentra has its work cut out for it in a segment dominated by Toyota, Honda, Ford and others.  But if you’re working up a list of quality compacts for your college-bound child, your ever-on-the-go spouse or your soon-to-retire self, write down the 2016 Nissan Sentra and underline it in red.

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