Now that the Versa will be hanging around in North American Nissan dealerships, the Sentra is free to grow up some. The 2007 bread-and-butter car is longer and wider than its predecessor, and comes with a longer list of standard equipment, thereby allowing a fatter price tag. The next Sentra should have launched a year ago, but that one was killed when it found no love among focus groups. This clean and unexciting look, to do battle with Jettas and Corollas, goes on sale in the fall and will get a new 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine.
Despite the increase in interior volume and wheelbase (by 5.9 inches), the car is only 2.3 inches longer than the previous generation. It also stands 4 inches taller, another trend that improves visibility and ingress/egress by raising the seat height. Car styling has been moving in a bolder direction of late, though that’s not as common in the compact class.
At 97.7 cubic feet, the 2007 Nissan Sentra has 9.2 cubic feet more interior volume than the 2006 version. A driver’s seat height adjustment is available but not standard - unfortunate for shorter drivers, especially because the trunkline is rather high. A 60/40-split, folding backseat is standard, as are power windows and door locks, air conditioning and side curtain-type airbags.
Under the Hood
New drivetrains are the big news for the Sentra, particularly an "all-new" 2.0-liter four-cylinder and a continuously variable transmission that’s estimated to give the car fuel economy of 29/36 mpg (city/highway). (Already in use in the Nissan Murano crossover vehicle, the CVT is a relatively new type of automatic transmission that has a wide span of gear ratios designed to maximize fuel economy at all vehicle speeds.) Mileage ratings for the standard six-speed-manual transmission are not yet available. The engine’s output ratings also are estimates at this time: 135 horsepower and, at minimum, 140 pounds-feet of torque, with 90 percent of the peak torque on tap at 2,400 rpm.
|Drivetrain||135-horsepower (estimated), 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with six-speed-manual or CVT automatic transmission; front-wheel drive|
|Hits dealerships||Fall 2006|
|MSRP - Manufacturer’s suggested retail price||Roughly $15,000 excluding destination charge|