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Vehicle Reviews:
2014 Nissan Sentra

Customers used to differentiate compact cars by cost and fuel-efficiency. Now, they want a simple efficient errand runner that has the quality of a feature-heavy large car. The 2014 Nissan Sentra aims to please both markets.

Performance Features

The Nissan zips around with 130 horsepower from a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine and its Xtronic continuously variable transmission (CVT). The CVT helps the EPA estimate reach 30 city/39 highway for a 34 mpg combined – more than competitive in its class. But, a $400 fuel economy (FE+) package pushes this to 40 mpg with a rear spoiler and low-rolling resistance tires.

Trim Levels

Sentra models fill showrooms in a selection of seven exterior colors and seven interior color combinations. Low profiled and high-ceilinged, its broad shoulders and aerodynamic sweep makes it move when standing still. Spacious interiors grow even larger; with a fold down passenger seat and rear seat panel, this sedan has the space and utility of a hatchback.

Sentra S: The base model is generally utilitarian. It does feature 16″ steel wheels, a remote keyless entry system and trunk release plus air-conditioning, power accessories, and a four-speaker AM/FM/CD player and auxiliary audio jack.

Sentra SV: The SV perks things up with steering wheel tabs for cruise control and sound system, improved cloth upholstery, and two additional sound system speakers.

Sentra SR: The sporty SR has everything you will find on the SV, but it upgrades the package with 17″ wheels, premium cloth upholstery, lower profile, and rear spoiler.

Sentra SL: The SL is the Sentra premium model. It brings leather and wood tones into the cabin along with the Driver’s Package with its Bluetooth connectivity and 4.3″ color display to control satellite radio and USB/iPod interface.

The S and SV also come in the FE+ version with its improved highway fuel efficiency. And, the SV, SR, and SL can add the Premium Package with its sunroof, 8-speaker Bose sound system, 5.8″ touchscreen, rear view camera, voice recognition, and NissanConnect smartphone integration for Bluetooth, Apple, and Android applications.

Safety Features

Effective anti-lock brakes and stability control come standard on the 2014 Nissan Sentra. The front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, and active front head restraints have earned a 4-star overall rating in government testing, four stars for total front protection, and five stars for side-impact protection. The Sentra also earned the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) best rating in its testing of moderate-overlap frontal offset, side-impact, and roof strength crashes.


The 2014 Sentra competes well with every line in its class, including the Honda Civic, Mazda3, and Toyota Corolla. It is the grandchild of the Altima; it inherited its style but created its own legacy. Its base $16,000 price-tag is aggressively low in a market including Chevrolet Cruze, Ford Focus, and Hyundai Elantra, and its high-end $20,000 (without options) is bringing sales into the showrooms in 2014.