2014 Nissan Sentra


2014 Nissan Sentra SV
$17,540 base MRSP
29.8 MPG (real-world, over a week of driving)

Overall Impressions:

Not a bad car, but woefully under-powered.

Would I buy one? I’m really torn on this one. It is so under-powered that it is borderline unsafe. A terrible engine (and transmission) make this car unusable. I just can’t bring myself to think about buying one, despite how much I liked other aspects of the car.

Unfortunate that the engine taints what is actually a nice car otherwise. Why Nissan would market such a terrible engine/transmission in a car (probably just for gas mileage scores) is beyond me. Unfortunate, and unforgivable.

TMS (Tall Man’s Score): A-

Headroom: A

Surprisingly, there was decent headroom in this car.

Mirror Location: A-

The mirror location was acceptable. Not as good as it could be, but also not as bad as most are. I could definitely live with this mirror location.

Ford, Honda, Mazda–if Nissan can get it right…

Headrest: A-

Not bad. Frankly, I could live with the headrest too.

Again, I just don’t understand how one manufacturer can make a decent headrest, and most of the others put in a headrest that is so bad you can’t consider buying the car.

They’re all subject to the same silly governmental regulations, so why are the headrests so bad in some cars, and not in others?

Legroom: B

Barely enough legroom, and then the “dead pedal” on the left takes up so much room that it’s hard to find a comfortable place for your left foot.

And do you need a dead pedal on an automatic? Nissan, what were you thinking?

But given that this is a basic, small econobox, the legroom would probably be ok. I do worry about long trips though, when you sometimes want to stretch out.

Seat Comfort: A-

I like these seats. Comfortable and seemingly supportive. Just cheap cloth (which makes me wonder if the material will hold up long-term) but the seats were overall a surprise.

I think a little nicer material, with more of a quality feel would be money well spent here Nissan. The seats themselves are quite comfortable–they just need better “clothes”.

 Vehicle Review

Engine: D

Terrible, terrible, terrible. Supposedly has 130 HP, so not sure if it was the CVT automatic or another reason, but this car is slow and noisy. Simply unacceptable.

God, what an awful engine.

Transmission: F

Supposedly a CVT, but it behaved very strangely. If you floor it (for example when passing) it will go to redline and not upshift.

This makes you think twice when passing as suddenly your car won’t go faster unless you take you foot off the gas and then resume acceleration…well those precious seconds could mean the difference between a successful pass and an accident.

Probably the worst transmission I’ve experienced. Maybe it gets good mileage, maybe its good for a rental, but for me it’s simply borderline unsafe.

Interior: B

Basic transportation (which is not a bad thing). But don’t expect leather or high-end appointments. They just aren’t there.

Visibility: B

Decent visibility, but as with most vehicles now you simply cannot see the front end of the car.

Park by feel, as the saying goes–not a good thing.

Electronics: B

Again, basic transportation. No digital touchscreen. No backup camera.

But again–everything was there and everything worked.

Utility: B

Basic transportation. One major annoyance was that my backpack triggered the seatbelt warning light, and I had to “buckle up” my backpack in order to get the light to turn off.

Very annoying.

Appearance: C

Very dull. Just another generic econobox.

 Miscellaneous Musings:

I have never really liked Nissans, but I was very pleasantly surprised by the Sentra–except for that engine (and transmission).

If this had a normal 5 (or 6) speed manual, and a bit more refined engine (it is annoyingly loud), and maybe a few more horsepower (although 130 should be enough for this kind of car) it might have proven to be a decent “basic transportation” car.

As it sits though, it’s simply not a car to own. Just an awful powertrain.

Shame on you Nissan. You ruined what could have been a surprisingly good car with that awful engine.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *