The 2016 model year is going to be very important for the compact sedan market, because two of the top sellers in the segment (the Honda Civic and Chevrolet Cruze) will be getting full redesigns. Not to be left out of the mix, the 2016 Nissan Sentra is getting a major update as well, and while it is essentially being considered a mid-cycle update, the updated sedan could be in for a significant overhaul above and beyond the usual changes.

Automotive News is reporting that Fred Diaz, Nissan’s senior vice president for sales and marketing and operations in the U.S., said that the upcoming 2016 Sentra would be “incredibly freshened” and “almost all new.” Further details about the compact sedan – including the full extent of the changes and its release date or on-sale date – remain unknown.

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The seventh-generation Sentra was introduced in 2012 for the 2013 model year, and it received an extensive list of equipment and packaging enhancements for the current 2015 model year. The timing for Nissan to give the Sentra a fresher look makes sense, but seeing as how sales of the car remain strong, such a major overhaul shows just how critical this segment is to automakers. Last year, Nissan sold more than 183,000 Sentras for a year-over-year increase of 42 percent, and so far this year, Sentra sales are still strong and mark an increase of 15.5 percent over 2014 through May.

Judging by the fact that the 2015 Sentra was released late last year, it’s very likely that the updated version will go on sale by the end of this year, with a possible introduction taking place at the L.A. Auto Show. The refreshed 2016 Sentra is expected to reflect the styling direction of the updated 2016 Nissan Altima sedan.

Why it matters

Extreme mid-cycle updates seem to have become the norm in the more popular vehicle segments lately, as automakers look to increase market share in the booming market. Some examples of quick design changes include the “emergency refreshes” of the Honda Civic in 2013 and the Chevrolet Malibu in 2014, as well as the Toyota Camry, which was essentially redesigned in 2015 only a few years after the 10th-generation Camry debuted for the 2012 model year.

2013-2015 Nissan Sentra

2013 - 2015 Nissan Sentra High Resolution Exterior
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Source: Automotive News

Jeffrey N. Ross
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