Friday, July 26, 2013

Just the basics: Sentra fills the bill

Mark Glover’s AutoGlo car reviews also can be seen on the Business page of The Sacramento Bee’s website – via the “GALLERY: Reviews of new cars” link at

Sacramento, California – Let’s talk basic transportation, shall we?

And as things go, the 2013 Nissan Sentra fills the bill rather nicely.  The 2013 model represents the seventh generation of the venerable nameplate, and the latest version features some sweet sporty styling (LED-accented headlights and taillights!) and a new 1.8-liter, four-cylinder, 130-horsepower engine.

It’s lighter too – by 150 pounds – than the previous-generation five-passenger Sentra sedan.  The gears were managed through a continuously variable transmission, which worked like a well-made watch.  Seventeen-inch alloy wheels add to the look and the feel of the car.

For me, driving the top-of-the-seven-trim-line Sentra SL, all this meant a surprisingly peppy and agile car that young families would likely be happy to have.  And keep in mind that my top-tier Sentra had a starting price of only $19,760.

Yeah, there’s a basic transportation fact you can feel good about.  And no, my ride was not stripped.  Standard features included dual-zone climate control, a six-way adjustable driver’s seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated power exterior mirrors and fog lights.

Pretty good deal, I say.

OK, this is not a massive machine, and three people in the back seat are going to bruise each other with their sharp elbows when the driver is rolling along a twisty stretch of road.  But hey, what do you want for a 20-grand sedan?

The fuel mileage on the tester was advertised at 30 miles per gallon in the city and 39 mpg on the highway, but frankly, I’m certain I was not attaining those numbers.  Perhaps a heavy right foot and an unusually bad week in urban gridlock worked against me, so take that for what it’s worth.

Nissan has spent the past couple of years rolling out new versions of established models, and the automaker didn’t hurt its reputation with this upgraded Sentra.

Just be aware that it is indeed basic transportation for a comparatively bargain price.  You want the Lexus, well, you’d better get a second job.

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