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2020 Nissan Sentra - Driven

2020 Nissan Sentra - Driven

Forget (most of) what you knew about Nissan’s compact sedan

The last two generations of Nissan Sentra have followed a simple formula: a spacious interior, a smooth ride, great gas mileage, and low prices. For plenty of compact-sedan buyers, that’s a winning formula. But it came at the expense of driving pleasure — to the extreme. Last year’s Nissan Sentra wasn’t merely dull, but downright awful if you try to get some grins. Its wheezy 124-horsepower engine struggled under all but the gentlest acceleration, and its handling betrayed an alarming lack of composure for a modern small car. And while its upright styling could be considered elegant from some angles, it just looked tall and narrow from others.

For the 2020 model year, Nissan has worked to reinvent the Sentra. A striking new body sits atop a more sophisticated suspension and wraps around a more potent engine and a fancier interior. All the while, Nissan has kept prices in check and even improved the Sentra’s gas mileage.

Do the changes turn the Sentra into a class leader? Not exactly. Even after this year’s improvements, you can still find quicker, sharper-handling, more luxuriously-finished small sedans. And if you loved the old Sentra because you could get a huge backseat and trunk at a fire-sale price, the new model will feel like a step backward.

By becoming more similar to competitors like the latest Toyota Corolla, Hyundai Elantra, and Kia Forte, the 2020 Sentra loses the old model’s standout spaciousness and value — but it brings fresh advantages to the table all while keeping costs in check.

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2020 Nissan Altima - Driven

2020 Nissan Altima - Driven

Ultimately, an honest set of wheels

For the past two years, Nissan has been selling about 210,000 Altimas, the mid-size sedan that’s been lurking in the shadows behind its Japanese peers from Honda and Toyota since 2014. The introduction of the sixth-generation model in 2018 didn’t turn the tides in Nissan’s favor and we drove a range-topping Platinum with the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine to see why more people and businesses choose an Accord or a Camry over the Altima.

Fresh-faced and with a variety of clever features such as semi-autonomous driving functions, the Altima is Nissan’s bid to regain the lead in the once-booming mid-size sedan segment. While people generally moved away from sedans in favor of MPVs and SUVs, the big players in the market still move in excess of 320,000 units a year of their best-selling models and Nissan hopes the Altima, a $24,000 proposition in its cheapest form, can keep the company’s otherwise leaking boat from sinking.

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2020 Nissan Sentra - Driven

2020 Nissan Sentra - Driven

The car that was once unappealing in so many ways has moved upmarket

The Sentra might be Nissan’s best-selling model of all time, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s been labeled as “cheap,” “uninspired,” or “sluggish.” Those claims to fame come courtesy of the last-generation model that has, thankfully, been replaced. For the 2020 model year, the Nissan Sentra ditches its old digs for a new Maxima-inspired design that sits atop a new platform. That old, sluggish 1.8-liter engine has been replaced with something a little more responsible and powerful, the 2.0-liter from the Nissan Rogue.

With the Nissan Sentra set to hit dealers in late February, Nissan invited us to give its updated compact sedan a test drive to see just how much better it really is. This is our experience.

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2020 Nissan Versa - Driven

2020 Nissan Versa - Driven

Nissan’s updated, entry-level sedan is kind of fun to drive

The third-generation Nissan Versa was launched and the 2019 New York Auto Show, and with it came an all-new design inside an out. The new Versa features a wider body, was finally updated to feature Nissan’s V-Motion grille, and the rear end benefits form boomerang-shaped tail lights. We got the chance to test the SR model, so it had the extra spoiler on the rear deck but overall, as a package, the new Versa is sportier and more aggressive than before.

The interior felt a dramatic revamp as well, borrowing features from the recently updated Maxima and Altima. The new “Gliding Wing” instrument panel is probably the most recognizable change here, but we also had the SR model, so we were focused on things like the flat-bottom steering wheel, seven-inch infotainment display, and the red and black interior. In terms of cargo room, the Versa will swallow up 14.3 cubic-feet of goods with the rear seats in place or as much as 88.9 with the seats folded down.

Under the hood of our SR tester sits a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that was completely revamped from the last model. It delivers a meager 122 horsepower and 114 pound-feet of torque, which is, impressively, 12-percent more horsepower and 7-percent more torque. The engine sent the power to the front, 17-inch wheels via an automatic transmission. Pricing for the Versa SR starts at $18,240, but ours was priced at $21,490 with a few option boxes checked. Stay tuned for a full, in-depth review of the 2019 Nissan Versa SR.

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2020 Nissan Sentra Photo Gallery

2020 Nissan Sentra Photo Gallery

It’s not a performance model by any means, but the new Nissan Sentra is a huge step forward

Nissan introduced the new generation of the Sentra at the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show with an all-new look that’s not only more classy, but more modern than ever. It brings the next generation of Nissan’s V-Motion grille, sleeker headlights, revised taillights, and a all-new side profile that puts an emphasis on both form and function. It now sits two inches lower and two inches wider, while borrowing some DNA from the new Nissan Maxima. Eight exterior colors are available and the rear end even gets a sporty little spoiler.

Unfortunately, a performance model doesn’t seem to be in the books, but the 2020 model does come with an increase in performance thanks to a new 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. Despite the lack of turbocharging, the new engine delivers 149 horsepower and 146 pound-feet of torque. It’s still not a lot by modern day expectations, but horsepower is improved by 20-percent while torque has been increased by 16-percent. If nothing else, maybe merging on the highway will be easier, right?

The good news is that, despite the lack of performance credentials, the interior of the Sentra is actually a nice place to be. The interior is more refined and luxurious than ever. It is a little deceiving, though, as the flat-bottom steering wheel, contrast stitching, and aluminum accents might have you believing that you’re in something much more that it really is. The new, 2020 Nissan Sentra goes on sale in January 2020 and should come with a mild pricing increase at best.

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2020 Nissan Sentra

2020 Nissan Sentra

The overlooked sedan will now demand all your attention

Nissan unveiled the new Sylphy at the 2019 Shanghai Auto Show. The new Sylphy will most likely come to our shores as the new 2020 Nissan Sentra. Nissan has been selling the Sentra in the U.S. since 2013 and it has been quite a success for the Japanese automaker. Even though the Sentra has managed to create a market for itself as a value-for-money proposition, it does not appeal to the enthusiasts or anyone looking for a little ’life’ in their car. However, the company plans to change this with the 2020 model, and we must say, it has our attention! Disclaimer: I’ll be calling this car the Nissan Sentra throughout the article and not Nissan Sylphy because we’ll be getting it with the Sentra badge in the U.S. - and partly because Sylphy sounds quite funny.

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2019 Nissan Maxima

2019 Nissan Maxima

Nissan’s flagship sedan gets minor updates and loads of new safety and tech features

Nissan’s participation at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show included the introduction of the 2019 Nissan Maxima. An updated version of the eighth-generation A36 Maxima in L.A. for the 2019 model year with a subtle exterior refresh to go along with a suite of new safety technologies. Nissan hopes that the updates are enough to stem the tide of declining sales that has plagued not only the Maxima but the entire sedan market in the U.S. As Nissan’s longest-running nameplate — the Maxima has been around since 1981 — there’s a lot of pressure on the 2019 Maxima to live up to, or even exceed, the expectations that Nissan has for it. The 2019 model goes on sale in mid-December.

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2019 Nissan Sentra - Short Review

2019 Nissan Sentra - Short Review

A Bit More Expensive And Finally With A Smartphone Integration System

As a compact sedan, the Nissan Sentra never was what one may call "popular" among gearheads. Yet, Nissan is eager to improve it, even going so far as to release a spirited Nismo version in the process a few years back. Now, we have the 2019 Nissan Sentra with only a handful of upgrades, most notable of which is the integration of the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on all models, save for the entry Sentra S.

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2019 Nissan Altima

2019 Nissan Altima

The sixth-generation sedan is here to take on the Camry and Accord

The Altima name goes back to the mid-1980s when it was used on a top-trim line of the Nissan Leopard and the Central American version of the Laurel. It became a stand-alone marque in 1992 when it replaced the Stanza in the U.S. Built in Tennessee starting with the 1993 model year; the Altima became one of the brand’s most successful vehicles in North America. To meet the high demand, Nissan is now building the sedan in two U.S. plants. With annual sales of more than 250,000 units during the past seven years, the fifth-generation is by far the most successful version of the Altima. But the existing sedan is being phased for the 2019 model year, replaced with a new model that broke cover at the 2018 New York Auto Show.

Redesigned from the ground up, the sixth-generation Altima employs a new design language based on the Vmotion 2.0 concept car from 2017. The redesign also introduced a new interior with more premium features, new technology, and, for the first time in this segment, semi-autonomous drive. Things get even better under the hood, where the Altima gained not only a revised version of the 2.5-liter four-cylinder but also a brand-new, turbocharged four-banger. The latter replaces the old 3.5-liter V-6. Surprisingly enough, the new turbo-four is the variable compression ratio unit that Nissan debuted under the Infiniti brand. Overall, the sixth-generation Altima is the most advanced sedan in this market, but we will find out more about that in the review below.

Continue reading to learn more about the Nissan Altima.

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Nissan Teases the Next-Gen Altima Before it Debuts at the New York Auto Show

Nissan Teases the Next-Gen Altima Before it Debuts at the New York Auto Show

We’ll see what the Nissan Altima is all about at the end of the month

The Nissan Altima is going to make its debut at the 2018 New York Auto Show. We already know that much after Nissan released a teaser video a month ago. The Japanese automaker isn’t just stopping there, though. It also unveiled a sketch of the new model, complete with exaggerated design cues that suggest that the Altima will receive its share of stylistic updates.

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2018 Nissan Maxima - Driven

2018 Nissan Maxima - Driven

The Nissan Maxima is something of an oddity in the automotive landscape. It used to be that the Max was the biggest car in Nissan’s lineup — hence its maximum name. But for the last couple of generations, the Maxima’s size has been matched by its cheaper sister, the Nissan Altima.

This creates all sorts of confusion for some consumers. A friend saw me comparing a Camry to an Altima and said, “Shouldn’t you compare Camry to Maxima?”

No, no you should not. The Maxima is much more of a driver’s car than any Camry, though I admit the new-for-2018 Camry closes the gap a little (more on that in a minute.)

As for anyone else who may be confused by Maxima’s place in the family sedan world, let me put it this way: It punches well above its weight — so much so that, if I were considering spending my money on an entry-level luxury car like a Mercedes CLA or Lexus ES, I’d honestly consider the Maxima in that same pack.

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2017 Nissan Altima SR Midnight Edition

2017 Nissan Altima SR Midnight Edition

The Maxima’s popular package trickles down to the Altima

Redesigned for the 2013 model year, the current Nissan Altima was updated for 2016. Somewhat surprisingly, the facelift added many new features, as well as a significantly redesigned exterior with styling cues borrowed from the gorgeous Maxima. Inside, the sedan gained a new center stack, softer materials for the Zero Gravity seats, and blue accents for the SR trim. The engine compartment is the only one that remained unchanged, but it’s not something customers will complain about. For 2017, Nissan enhances the Altima by adding the Midnight Edition model.

Launched at the 2017 Chicago Auto Show, the Altima Midnight Edition is part of Nissan’s new offensive to offer this special-edition package on six models. Initially created for the Maxima in 2016, the Midnight Edition was a huge success last year, accounting for 85 percent of Maxima SR sales. As a result, Nissan wants the bundle on more cars, including the Sentra, Altima, Rogue, Murano, and Pathfinder.

The idea of expanding the availability of the Midnight Edition package was driven by customers who loved the blackout treatment on Maxima SR and asked for it to be available on other popular Nissan vehicles,” said Christian Meunier, senior vice president of Nissan Sales & Marketing and Operations. “The six models offering Midnight Edition packages account for more than 75 percent of our U.S. sales, so we think they will find a receptive audience.”

Much like on the Maxima, the Altima’s Edition Package is restricted to the SR trim, but only the version powered by the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. The SR Midnight Edition is already available to order in the U.S. for small premium over the standard model.

Continue reading to learn more about the Nissan Altima SR Midnight Edition.

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2017 Nissan Vmotion 2.0 Concept

2017 Nissan Vmotion 2.0 Concept

The concept previews future styling and technology for the automaker

Lately, Nissan’s autonomous vehicle efforts have focused primarily on the brand’s ProPilot technology, with hints that future iterations of popular models (such as the Qashqai and Leaf) could be instilled with self-driving features. Now, it looks like we’re getting better insight into what Nissan has planned with the Vmotion 2.0 concept car, which was just revealed at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show. The striking, sporty-looking four-door not only previews future tech, but it also gives us a glimpse at Nissan’s next-gen styling language. All told, the Vmotion 2.0 is an attractive, luxurious, spacious sedan designed to meet the demands of hard-working business types, all while giving a nod to Nissan’s styling and technological future.

In Nissan’s own words, the Vmotion 2.0 “combines a high sense of style, emotional design, roominess, comfort and technology to make the mobility experience seamless for busy professionals constantly on the go.”

Of course, with a name like Vmotion 2.0, you gotta ask – where’s Vmotion 1.0? To answer that, we gotta look back to the 2014 Detroit Auto Show, when Nissan brought us the Sport Sedan Concept. That car helped usher in the V-motion language we know today, characterized by a prominent v-shaped chrome band across the nose. V-motion can be seen across the current Nissan model lineup, with this newest concept pointing towards the language’s next evolution.

Starting in front, we find the chrome band has grown, extending down close to the pavement and stretching further from side to side in a prominent, 3D shape. These lines set the tone for more hard angles and cuts in the side intakes, which are repeated in the flanks with arrow-like creases. There are wraparound rear windows, a floating C-pillar, and a floating roof, while in back are “boomerang” taillights that add visual width. Nissan says the looks is meant to emphasize aerodynamic efficiency using something called “Emotional Geometry” design language.

Ingress and egress is aided by wide-swinging rear suicide doors, which in conjunction with the lack of a center pillar, adds to the car’s sense of cabin space. Complementing this is an extended wheelbase and lots of horizontal surfaces. Comfort is upped thanks to leather upholstery with thread-less quilting on the inserts.

There’s a few more interesting tidbits on the Vmotion 2.0 worth checking out, so read on.

Continue reading to learn more about the Nissan Vmotion 2.0.

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