2017 Nissan Sentra

Starting MSRP: $16,990 - $24,990

Estimated MPG: 27 city / 35 hwy

2017 Nissan Sentra Review

The compact 2017 Nissan Sentra offers handsome styling, a roomy cabin and a variety of technology features. With affordable pricing and numerous trim options available, Nissan’s small sedan may prove ideal for budget-conscious shoppers.

By Matt Keegan
Last Updated 06/15/2017

The front-wheel-drive Nissan Sentra has benefitted from continual year-over-year improvements since it was last redesigned. Two four-cylinder engines are available, and the 2017 Sentra comes in S, SV, SR, SR Turbo, SL and Nismo grades.

The most noteworthy change for 2017 involves the introduction of a pair of performance-oriented models: the SR Turbo and Nismo. For 2017, Nissan also expands the availability of its Midnight Trim package to include the Sentra. A larger center console and improved sound deadening are among the other upgrades for the 2017 model year.

Exterior

Exterior
8
With sheet metal similar to that of the midsize Nissan Altima, the Sentra offers modern, sophisticated style. The front fascia features the brand’s familiar V-motion grille, which is bordered by halogen headlights.

The base Sentra S comes outfitted with 16-inch steel wheels. Available 17- and 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels provide a sporty look. Midnight Edition models add a black rear spoiler, black side mirrors and black-trimmed wheels.

Optional equipment includes LED projector headlights with LED accents, fog lights, heated side mirrors with LED turn signal indicators, chrome touches, a power-sliding glass sunroof, a chrome exhaust finisher and Nismo-designed body skirting.

Interior

Interior
8
The Nissan Sentra offers more interior space than most competitors. Four can sit in comfort, and five will fit in a pinch. Both rows offer excellent headroom and legroom. The cabin is surprisingly quiet with only minimum road noise detected. Our test car did an admirable job of absorbing road shock such as potholes.

The Sentra's trunk provides a healthy 15.1 cubic feet of storage space, rivaling the space found in some larger sedans. A 60/40-split folding rear seat allows you to expand that space.

Cloth seats are standard, and premium cloth and leather are available. Heated front seats, a power driver’s seat with lumbar support, dual-zone climate control, sporty interior trim and a 370Z-inspired steering wheel are offered.

Available touches on the Nismo model include carbon-fiber appearance trim, sport seats with aggressive bolsters, a steering wheel wrapped with leather and Alcantara and a leather-wrapped shift knob. 

Performance

Performance
7

Most 2017 Nissan Sentra models come equipped with a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that generates 130 horsepower and 128 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, and a continuously variable transmission (CVT) is available.

Models with the base engine and the CVT deliver 29/37 mpg city/highway. An available 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 188 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque delivers up to 27/33 mpg city/highway.

Our test Sentra Nismo was powered by the turbocharged engine. It is a far more robust power plant than the base engine, delivering steady off-the-mark acceleration and a welcome boost of power as the turbo kicks in. The Sentra Nismo sits 0.4-inch lower to the ground and comes equipped with sport suspension and steering. With CVT-equipped models, shifting the transmission to Sport mode delivers seven forward “gear” steps for more engaged driving. That said, the six-speed manual gearbox would provide the sportiest driving experience.

Handling is one of this model’s strong suits, and the Sentra Nismo provides more driver engagement than the standard model. Still, the car isn't on the level of the 2017 Nissan 370Z, which offers a much more noticeable change in driving dynamics when drive modes are dialed in.

Technology

Technology
8

The Sentra’s standard technologies include a four-speaker audio system, a USB port, auxiliary input, Bluetooth phone connectivity and a CD player. Streaming audio via Bluetooth, a 5-inch color display, a hands-free text messaging assistant, a six-speaker sound system, Siri Eyes Free, satellite radio and keyless entry with push-button start come standard with the Sentra SV.

Our test Sentra Nismo came with the Nismo Premium package, which brings in navigation, traffic and travel reports and an eight-speaker Bose audio system. Nissan’s navigation system is easy to understand with a quick learning curve. Neither Apple CarPlay nor Android Auto is currently offered, even though both products are now available on competing models such as the 2017 Hyundai Elantra.

Safety

Safety
7

All Sentras except the base model come standard with a rearview camera. Blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert is also available on all Sentras except the base model, and this feature and is standard on the Sentra SL. Adaptive cruise control and forward emergency braking are also offered.

In crashworthiness testing, the 2017 Nissan Sentra was designated a Top Safety Pick recipient by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). In testing conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Sentra received a four-star overall rating on a scale of five stars.

Cost-Effectiveness

Cost-Effectiveness
9
The base Sentra S starts at $16,990, not including $865 for destination. Also offered are SV ($18,840), SR ($19,990), SR Turbo ($21,990), SL ($21,500) and Nismo ($24,990) trims.

The manual transmission is standard on the base model, but for roughly $1,000, shoppers may upgrade to the CVT. For SR Turbo and Nismo buyers, both transmission choices come with no additional charge.

Our test Sentra Nismo came fully loaded with 18-inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights and Nismo skirting. This trim includes sport front seats and various Nismo touches, including a unique tachometer and steering wheel and sporty carbon-fiber appearance trim. For buyers preferring leather-covered seats, this feature is standard with the SL trim.

An available Driver's Assist package ($1,020) for the SV and SR trims brings in blind spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert and navigation. Upgraded safety features roll out at the SL level. Various premium packages are also available, adding power front seats, leather seats and a power-sliding glass moonroof, depending on the trim selected.

We think the SL trim offers many of the amenities customers want, including fog lamps, heated front seats, leather upholstery and navigation. Choosing the SL Premium Technology package ($2,360) brings in an eight-speaker Bose audio system, a moonroof, adaptive cruise control and forward emergency braking. With this package, pricing lands at $24,725, including destination.

Overall

Overall
8

The Nissan Sentra remains a strong competitor in a crowded segment. You’ll find more packages and options than with most models in this class, allowing for a greater level of personalization. Today’s Sentra is roughly the size of a midsize sedan from a generation ago, supplying excellent interior room and generous storage space.

The two performance-oriented models add pizzazz to the product line, although neither pretends to compete with the Subaru WRX or Ford Focus ST in the speed and handling departments. That said, the Nissan Sentra is a worthy alternative to the market-leading Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic.