Advertisement
Go
2012 Nissan Sentra Photo
7.0
/ 10
On Performance
BASE INVOICE
$15,759
BASE MSRP
$16,430
On Performance
The simpler, more affordable models in the 2012 Nissan Sentra lineup perform well enough as commuter cars, but top SE-R and Spec V performance models aren't convincing enough as performance machines.
7.0 out of 10
Browse Nissan Sentra inventory in your area.

SEE LOCAL CLASSIFIEDS

PERFORMANCE | 7 out of 10

Expert Quotes:

six-speed does the job well, but it's not buttery-smooth like the box that you'd find in the Honda
Car and Driver

In the nature of CVTs, acceleration is smooth and linear
CNET

pleasantly surprised by the steering, which had nice weight and steering feel
AutoWeek

while the speed variable electronic steering has a nice heft to it, the tiller lacks some feedback for our tastes
Autoblog

The engine is peppy and ample for the small and relatively lightweight Sentra.
MSN Autos

The 2012 Sentra spans several quite different personalities. But most of the Sentra models you find at the dealership will pair a 140-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and Xtronic CVT; it's a decent combination for city driving, but on hills and in passing it can feel a bit sluggish or delayed.

There's a six-speed manual gearbox that makes the Sentra a lot more enjoyable, but it's only offered in the base model. The sporty SE-R trim brings a larger 2.5-liter engine making 177 hp, matched only to the CVT. Then at the top of the line, the performance-focused SE-R Spec V gets a 200-hp, 2.5-liter four, hooked up to a six-speed manual gearbox.

Based on several drives covering the various models of the Sentra, our editors have found the basic 2.0, 2.0 S, and 2.0 SL versions to make the most sense. The CVT might take a little getting used to as there's a slight delay while the revs ramp up, then a raucous drone during hard acceleration. These basic Sentra models don't make any sporty claims, but they're actually quite light and nimble-feeling—and very maneuverable—and the driving experience is pleasantly straightforward.

Suspension tuning is very different between trims; the firmer tuning of the Spec V especially gives it a much tighter, more eager personality. But gas mileage is a letdown throughout the Sentra line; even with the base engine, it's several mpg lower than in many rival models.

The CVT, in particular, simply doesn't fit the sportier character of the SE-R. The Spec V delivers on the handling front, with substantial upgrades to the suspension and brakes, along with appearance upgrades inside and out; but it doesn't feel as edgy as the MazdaSpeed3, or even the Honda Civic Si.

 

 

Conclusion

The simpler, more affordable models in the 2012 Nissan Sentra lineup perform well enough as commuter cars, but top SE-R and Spec V performance models aren't convincing enough as performance machines.

« Prev: Interior / Exterior Next: Comfort and Quality »
Advertisement
Other Choices Read More
8.8
/ 10
TCC Rating
7.0
/ 10
TCC Rating
8.2
/ 10
TCC Rating
8.2
/ 10
TCC Rating
7.2
/ 10
TCC Rating
Advertisement
Related Used Listings
Browse used listings in your area
Advertisement

How does the
TCC Rating work?
The TCC Rating is a clear numeric rating value based on a 10-point scale that reflects the overall opinion of our automotive experts on any vehicle and rolls up ratings we give each vehicle across sub-categories you care about like performance, safety, styling and more.

Our rating also has simple color-coded “Stop” (red), “Caution” (orange),
or “Go” (green) messages along with the numerical score so you can easily understand where we stand at a glance.

Our automotive experts then also collect and show you what other websites say about these different aspects of any vehicle. We do this leg work for you to simplify your research process.

Learn more about how we rate and review cars here.

More From High Gear Media


 
 
© 2014 The Car Connection. All Rights Reserved. The Car Connection is published by High Gear Media. Stock photography by Homestar, LLC. Send us feedback.