Nissan adds NISMO option to 2017 Sentra lineup
The 2017 Nissan Sentra NISMO should be the standard Sentra’s sporty cousin, but, unfortunately, it underwhelms in terms of power.
It was back in 2012 that the Nissan Sentra was last offered in a “sporty” variant, when the SE-R and SE-R Spec V models were powered by a 2.5-litre naturally aspirated I-4.
Since then, Sentra buyers have had little choice but to settle for models that were decidedly underwhelming in the performance department. For example, the lowest-output Sentra boasts just 124-horsepower and is equipped with a fun-sapping CVT.
So when it was announced last year that a Sentra NISMO would be released as part of the 2017 lineup, we were obviously curious.
This time around, the sporty Sentra has a loud exterior design with red stripes, a different rear diffuser, side sills, a lower stance, a rear lip spoiler and wider, lower air intakes.
Powered by a 1.6-litre turbo-four linked to a six-speed manual (a CVT is optional), the NISMO Sentra utilises the same engine found in the Sentra SR Turbo and the Juke crossover. Unfortunately, though, Nissan’s in-house tuning team didn’t give the NISMO Sentra any kind of performance boost, and so it’s still rated at 188-horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque.
With that output, the NISMO Sentra is capable of doing 0-60mph in 7.3 seconds and can conquer a quarter mile in 15.3 seconds at 92.4 mph, which puts it on a par with the Honda Civic Hatchback and Mazda3 2.5.
For comparison, the older SE-R and SE-R Spec V models were 0.1 second slower to 60mph and 0.4 seconds slower to the quarter mile.
Like its Sentra siblings, the NISMO features MacPherson struts at the front and a torsion beam in the back. However, an upgraded suspension with monotube rear dampers, uniquely tuned front springs and struts, and 18-inch alloy wheels with Michelin Pilot Sport all-season performance tires make the NISMO stand out from the rest of the Sentra crowd.
The bottom line is that if Nissan want the NISMO Sentra to be taken more seriously and rival other sport compacts, they need to give it more power and a limited slip differential.
Finally, the NISMO Sentra isn’t as cheap as some of its rivals. With prices starting at USD$25,855 (AUD$34,214), the NISMO Sentra offers little when you compare it to the more enjoyable and powerful Volkswagen GTI or Ford Focus ST.