Monday, June 14, 2010

Nissan Sentra 2.0 SL

Nissan gave the Sentra a light refresh for 2010 with new front fascia, grille, front and rear light housings and body-side molding with chrome inserts. The changes on the outside would be hard for me to pick up on unless I had the updated model and the previous model side by side, to be honest. The current-generation Sentra has never stood out to me from a design standpoint and still looks a bit dull to my eye.

However, I did pick up on the new stereo head unit in the interior, which looks sleeker and is user-friendly.

The good news for your pocketbook is that Nissan dropped the base price across the entire Sentra lineup for 2010. In the case of our 2.0 SL model, the base price was reduced by $1,100 compared with the 2009 model year--not too shabby.

The car also stacks up well against the Honda Civic and the Toyota Corolla. With a solid platform, the Sentra handles and changes directions quick. I was pleasantly surprised by the steering, which had nice weight and steering feel, unlike most regular Nissan vehicles. The suspension is competent to tackle daily road problems such as bumps and holes fine with some lean through turns.

Performance from the 2.0-liter is sufficient, and the CVT wasn't bad. I still prefer the operation of a good old-fashion torque-converter automatic instead of the drone CVT-equipped vehicles have under hard acceleration. Brake performance is also strong with a solid pedal feel.

The interior is straight-forward with good quality materials and plastics trim finishes throughout. As with the exterior, it's on the dull side, but is a comfortable enough place to be.

The thing is, simple and bland styling with competent driving performance and good fuel economy reigns supreme in this category. For that, the Sentra has it all down pat.

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