Nissan finally gets serious about its C-segment offering. [fimg=left]http://www.cleanmpg.com/photos/data/501/2013_Nissan_Sentra.jpg[/fimg]Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG - Nov. 8, 2012 2013 Nissan Sentra -- $15,990 to start with the 6-speed stick and sports a 30/40 mpgUS city/highway rating in FE + trim with the CVT. Following on the heels of the very thrifty, well appointed and affordable all-new 2013 Altima, the all new 2013 Sentra provides all of that and more! For less. The all-new Sentra is 150 pounds lighter and more aerodynamic than the previous generation and with its completely revamped Xtronic CVT, Nissan was able to use a more fuel-efficient 130 HP 1.8L vs. the 140 HP 2.0L shod in current Sentra’s for approximately the same straight-line performance and competitive within the C-segment ranks. The 1.8L and CVT together provide a remarkable 13 percent improvement in EPA combined fuel economy over the 2.0L predecessor. With the FE+ models, Sentra achieves up to 40 mpg on the highway. Where the Sentra is going to shine is that all models equipped with CVTs achieve a best-in-class EPA rated 34 mpg combined (City and Highway). 2013 Nissan Sentra Specifications The 2013 Nissan Sentra is available in four trim levels, S, SV, SR and SL with the SV and SL available with a fuel economy package . Complete specifications, pricing, standard and optional equipment can be found on the 2013 Nissan Sentra Specifications page. [fimg=right]http://www.cleanmpg.com/photos/data/523/2013_Nissan_Sentra_Front_LED_Accent_detail_small.jpg[/fimg]2013 Nissan Sentra Exterior Design Headlight DRL LED accent. The all-new Sentra's incorporates Nissan's signature trapezoid-shaped grille and large wraparound headlights with a twist. It now includes an “Audiesque” LED headlight accents as standard equipment. In the rear, LED taillights are standard. The new Sentra's chromed beltline has been lowered offering more greenhouse and a new character line has been added that rolls off the front fender flare and finishes at the sculpted rear wraparound taillights and trunklid like no other Sentra before it. The entire day light opening has been trimmed in chrome adding to the C-Segment luxury appearance. On the bottom, a lower sill sculpted cutout adds to its attractiveness. Other exterior features include chrome door handles and accents, available heated outside mirrors with integrated turn signals, and available sport front and rear fascias and rear spoiler. None of those final pieces were mentioned to help or harm fuel economy. The coefficient of drag (Cd) has been significantly reduced to 0.29 from the previous 0.34 which of course allows some of its 40 mpg highway capability. The all-new Sentra with its large chrome grille, LED accents, flowing profile and upscale alloys looks even better in person. 2013 Nissan Sentra - Inside it is even better The Sentra's new look includes a completely revamped and higher quality softer touch interior, well padded driver's door armrest, available leather-appointed seating and available Maple wood-tone trim. The instrument panel curves out towards the doors and features what Nissan is calling “Fine Vision electroluminescent gauges” that are backlit even in daylight, providing a high-quality look that is also easy to read. The rear seat is a standard 60/40 split folding design, offering versatile access to the trunk. The new Sentra also provides one of the largest interior volumes in the C-segment at 95.9 cu. ft. Along with ample rear seat legroom and a whopping 15.1 cu. ft. of cargo volume in what has to be a rather large trunk just missing the “Best-in-Class” Cruze’s 15.4 cu. ft. Sitting in the back seat, it is easily the largest with almost 3 in of knee/legroom when setting up the front for my 6 ft. frame and immediately moving to the rear seat. One of the best looking C-segment interiors that just so happens to be comfortable for the long road ahead. There is plenty of room back there! C-Segment Competitive Comparisons Column1Column2Column3Column4Column5Column6Column7Column8Column9Column10Column11Column12Column13Column14YearMakeModelEngineHPTorque (lb-ft.)mpgUS (city/highway)Weight (lbs)Wheelbase (in)Length (in)Width (in)Height (in)Passenger Volume (cu. ft.)Cargo Volume (cu. ft.) 2013NissanSentra1.8L13012830/392,750 – 2,850106.3182.169.358.995.915.1 2013ChevroletCruze1.8L13812522/353,093 – 3,102105.7181.070.758.19515.4 2013FordFocus2.0L16014627/372,907 – 2,935104.3178.571.857.790.213.2 2013HondaCivic1.8L14012828/392,608 – 2,795105.1177.369.056.594.612.5 2013HyundaiElantra1.8L14813128/382,661 – 2,877106.3178.369.956.595.614.8 2012Mazda32.0L15514828/402,950 – 2,969103.9180.969.157.994.111.8 2013 Nissan Sentra Ride and Handling This is where the Sentra falls a little flat. While the Sentra is certainly composed as you approach its adhesion limits, its steering is a bit vague and body roll is prominent only for the first few degrees. Then it tightens up and holds like a Nissan is expected. Overall I am actually glad it is suspended softer than some of its competitors as it provides a comfortable ride for hours vs. the few seconds you may actually push one to its limits during hard cornering. 2013 Nissan Sentra Fuel Economy Preview Results This is an area where all-new Sentra exceeds many of its competitor’s capabilities but only ties that of the Honda Civic EX-L with NAVI and its conventional 5-speed automatic. The result shown above was a 25 mile RT loop without any averaging fuel consumption display or odometer/Trip A/B calibration. That said, while most would be ecstatic to achieve this all highway result using just basic techniques, given the wonderful temperatures, I expected more. The much larger and more powerful 2013 Altima offered 64.6 mpg over a 115 + mile RT drive loop while the much lighter and smaller Sentra barely bested that. This is a good result and beats most of the AT equipped competitors. With atkinsonized intakes, Civics with AT’s are really efficient. If only the Sentra’s 1.8L was equipped as such it would provide even more. 2013 Nissan Sentra Early Conclusions With not enough time with the 6-speed manual and the good but not outstanding fuel economy results from the non FE + variants with the CVT, I am very much looking forward to spending some time behind the wheel of the stick and FE +. From an exterior aesthetic point of view, the all-new Sentra takes a back seat to nobody. As a sedan, only the Elantra’s swoopy Fluidic Sculptured curves can match. While not a ground breaking design, there is enough modern design elements providing a more expensive car look without the inflated price tag. Inside it is very comfortable with plenty of room for those in the rear. Nissan knows how to make its back seat passengers happy and they did not miss a beat with the design of the all-new Sentra. On the Noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) front, only when you step into it do you hear the 1.8L drone at 6,500 + RPM all the while the CVT is slowly moving the steel belt up from the low gearing sheave positions to the tall ratio ones. With a competitive 0 to 60 time, you will only hear this for the few seconds it takes to accelerate to 60 mph on an uphill on-ramp. Once to 60 mph however, the CVT’s 1,600 RPM at 60 mph (ScanGauge indicated) cruise keeps it quiet for the long hours some will spend on the highway. What is not to like about a nice looking small sedan at an affordable price that just so happens to provide near best in class fuel economy. If current actual consumer pricing for the larger 2013 Altima is any indication, the all-new 2013 Sentra will have $2 to $3,000 USD taken off its MSRP and at that price, an SV FE + with the Driver Package would look really nice in my own drive! The all-new 2013 Sentra is a classy looking compact that is not only efficient but also affordable if you are careful with the trim and option checkboxes.