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FEATURES | 7 out of 10
2013 Nissan Sentra
The 2013 Nissan Sentra keeps pace with other models in this class, and even adds a few features normally reserved for larger, more expensive models—like dual-zone automatic climate control and Bose audio to some of the lineup. Although it disappoints by omitting some important infotainment features, like Bluetooth hands-free calling, from some of the lineup and making it a major option on the rest of the lineup.
Base S, mid-range SV, sporty SR, and top-of-the-line SL models of the Sentra span about $4,000—and mean the difference between getting seemingly bare-bones commuter equipment and a level of features that won’t feel like any kind of sacrifice. And at around $23k for a fully optioned SL, this is a model that poses a strong value for those who want a lavishly equipped, yet frugal, small car.
Even at the base S level, totaling $16,640 with destination, the 2013 Nissan Sentra models include a six-way-adjustable driver's seat, tilt-and-telescopic steering, air conditioning, power windows, power locks, and keyless entry. SV models add cruise control, more speakers, illuminated steering-wheel audio controls, a security system, and premium upholstery, while the SR adds a sportier look, with 17-inch alloys, sport grille and fascias, lower-body extensions, fog lamps, and a chrome exhaust tip. And at the top of the line, the SL gets Bluetooth phone connectivity plus automatic headlamps, dual-zone climate control (a Sentra first), heated side mirrors, and Intelligent Key. One odd omission is that the sporty SR model has drum brakes; they’re part of the Driver Package.
Another odd omission is that most of the Sentra lineup doesn’t include Bluetooth connectivity. It's included in the SL, but not at all available on the S. On the others, you either have to get it as a $350 standalone option, or to opt for that Driver Package ($1,000 or $1,080), which also includes an upgraded audio system, Intelligent Key, Smart Auto Headlights, and a leather steering wheel and shift knob.
The Bose premium audio system that’s available in the Sentra is another first. With eight speakers placed around the vehicle, it aims for a rich, balanced sound and actually has different amplifier settings depending on whether the Sentra has cloth or leather seats.
The base audio system has a CD player and four speakers, while a six-speaker system with 4.3-inch color display, USB port, and iPod control is in the middle. SiriusXM satellite radio is available. There's also an available 'NissanConnect with Navigation' connectivity system with a hands-free text messaging assistant, Google points of interest, and a Google Send-to-Car function.
For an extra $400, you can specify a FE+ (fuel economy) package on the Sentra that adds a rear spoiler and low-rolling-resistance tires, as well as a few other aerodynamic improvements, so as to obtain the better 40-mpg highway rating.
A Leather Package is offered for $1,030 on the SL and includes heated front seats and, oddly, rear disc brakes (it’s the only way to get them). Meanwhile a $1,200 Premium package combines the moonroof, Bose audio system, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.
At $650 and available on the SV, SR, or SL, the ‘NissanConnect with Navigation system’ is a modern, full-function nav system with traffic rerouting, weather updates, and point-of-interest (POI) information powered by Google. There’s also a Google Send-to-Car function and an Eco Route mode, and a rearview monitor. With this system you also get Pandora radio capability via Bluetooth Streaming Audio and a smartphone with a data connection.
Bluetooth connectivity is only standard on the top SL; otherwise the 2013 Nissan Sentra lineup offers a lot of value for the money—and the feature set of a larger, more expensive car.