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Nissan Sentra

Motoring Review

THE ALL-NEW Nissan Sentra has made its debut in South Africa, the nameplate returning after the last Sentra was seen in 2005.

Filling a gap in Nissan’s local line-up, the new, the 13th-generation Sentra is a sophisticated and stylish sedan which spearheads Nissan’s ‘Innovation that Excites’ ideology into an important segment for the brand.

Considered a global C-segment sedan, the new Sentra has been designed around key consumer requirements for efficiency, space maximisation, performance and features, along with high build quality and quietness. 

Classic sedan styling meets new-age Nissan in the new Sentra. The new sedan’s large proportions are met by a theme of understated elegance and upmarket design cues, cementing it as a product of the times.

The strong character lines, which are introduced to the bonnet by the grille and headlights, flow naturally into the A-pillars and are complemented by pronounced shoulder lines, introduced by the headlights and which run down the flanks into the taillights. Chrome-plated door handles and an accented, slim side-window profile are off-set by stylish 16-inch alloy wheels. The overall low side profile of the new Sentra imparts a sporty and smart presence.

At the purposeful and attractive rear, angular and prominent taillights, which also incorporate smart LED elements, add zest and style to the rear valence where the clean, fuss-free rear bumper emphasises the car’s low and wide stance. The new Sentra is available in six colours.

The interior, however, is where Nissan’s engineers have upped their game considerably. The Sentra has acres of headroom, a long wheelbase (2 700 mm) and a big boot (510 litres according to the VDA method).

Class-leading levels of comfort and spaciousness are enhanced by, among others, a tilt- and reach-adjustable multi-function steering wheel, high-quality black cloth upholstery, a soft-touch dashboard and padded armrests on the doors and solid switchgear. 

The smart analogue dials are simple and clean, with white electro-luminescent backlighting, creating a sophisticated mood, especially at night. Sitting between them is a new LCD display panel which features white digits and a green economy bar, which in itself aids in reducing fuel consumption by promoting economical driving habits. The multi-information trip computer displayed here features readouts for range, average and real-time fuel consumption, two trip meters, outside temperature and a gear position indicator for the CVT automatic model. In the manual model, the selected gear is displayed along with a gear-shift indicator, yet another feature geared towards more efficient driving.

Other standard features include alloy wheels, LED accent halogen head- and taillight elements, chrome detailing, remote central locking, smart LED interior map lights, a radio/CD audio system with MP3, USB/iPod and aux integration, Bluetooth for hands-free cell-phone use and audio streaming, four speakers, front and rear arm rests, folding rear seats, four cup holders and a bottle holder in each door, air conditioning, electric windows all-round with one-touch up and down for the driver, electric mirror adjustment and auto-locking doors.

Powering the two new Nissan Sentra models is a 1.6-litre normally-aspirated petrol engine (producing 85kW and 154Nm) which is mated either to a slick-shifting five-speed manual gearbox or a smart, efficient CVT automatic.

The efficiency enhancements come courtesy of several integral changes to the engine, including a dual-injector system with four valves per cylinder, twin variable timing control, beehive-shaped valve springs with reduced inertial weight and friction reduction due to the use of a new DLC (Diamond-Like Carbon) coating on the valve lifters. 

The benefits are impressively low carbon emissions and prominently low fuel consumption: the manual consumes an average of 6.6 litres/100km on the combined cycle while the CVT consumes even less at 6.2 litres/100km. Carbon emissions are 156g/km and 149g/km, respectively.

The new Nissan Sentra 1.6 Acenta manual will retail for R230 900, while the CVT derivative will sell for R253 600. A 3-year/90 000km service plan and 3-year/100 000km warranty are standard. 

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