2013 Nissan Sentra: Altima’s little brother claims 40 mpg highway

2013 Nissan Sentra front three-quarter motionThe 2013 Nissan Sentra joins big brother Altima in the fight for fuel economy and market dominance. Nissan says the newest incarnation of its compact sedan will return 40 mpg on the highway, which has become the new benchmark for compact car fuel efficiency. Nissan also tried to give the 2013 Sentra a more expensive feel, with styling from the Altima and a revamped interior.

The Sentra will achieve 40 mpg on the highway, but only when properly equipped. The big 4-0 only applies to cars with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) and the FE+ fuel economy package.

The FE+ package includes grille shutters and other aerodynamic aids; it’s similar to the Focus SFE and Cruze Eco fuel economy specials offered by Ford and Chevy, respectively. Non-FE+ models with the CVT are rated at 39 mpg. A six-speed manual transmission is also available in base models.

The Sentra’s 34 combined mpg rating should make it the best in its class. The Nissan bests the Focus SFE and Cruze Eco by one mpg, although a diesel Volkswagen Jetta TDI automatic will also return 34 combined mpg.

Coupled to the CVT is a new 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine, producing 130 horsepower and 128 pound-feet of torque. That puts the Sentra pretty close to the bottom in its class in terms of power. Base Cruze models have 138 hp; the Focus comes with 160 hp. The Sentra does beat or equal the base engines in the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla, respectively, but each offers a more powerful engine option.2013 Nissan Sentra interior

It may have a horsepower deficit, but Nissan seems to have put most of its efforts into upgrading other parts of the Sentra. The exterior styling is taken straight off the 2013 Altima, so if you like the bigger Nissan, you’ll probably like this one. LED headlight accents and taillights help give the Sentra a premium feel, and keep it in step with the latest automotive fashion.

On the inside, the interior looks less like that of a rental car, and can be trimmed in optional leather with wood accents. The Sentra grows slightly in length for 2013, but is actually shorter and narrower than the 2012 model. Regardless, Nissan says the 2013 Sentra has more usable interior space, and is about 150 pounds lighter.

Nissan also upgraded the Sentra’s technology suite. Navigation (which can warn drivers of curves and changes in the speed limit) is an option, as is a NissanConnect system that allows drivers to read and reply to text messages with voice commands.

NissanConnect also encompasses Pandora and Bluetooth functions. Paired with the navigation system, it can enable Sirius XM traffic and weather updates and point-of-interest information from Google. It’s all controlled through a 5.8-inch touch screen.

The 2013 Sentra excells in every area except one: desirability. It’s hard to see buyers getting excited about fuel economy, and the styling isn’t as dynamic as other cars. Still, most compact car buyers will probably be satisfied with this sensible sedan, even if they aren’t excited.

Product Review

Audi's new A8 is so sophisticated and serene, it practically deletes potholes

The 2019 Audi A8’s outline looks promising: Level 3 autonomous driving capability, haptic-feedback infotainment screens, rear-wheel steering, Matrix LED headlights and OLED taillights, plus a predictive suspension.
Cars

Could the next Mazda3 boast a fuel-saving breakthrough in engine tech?

Mazda released a teaser video that likely previews the next Mazda3. Expected to make its global debut at the L.A. auto show, the next 3 will wear a more curvaceous design and offer one of the most advanced engines in the automotive…
Product Review

Volvo’s redesigned 2019 S60 sedan is the best kind of remix

The 2019 Volvo S60 borrows almost everything from other recent Volvo models, but that’s not a problem. From its infotainment system to an available plug-in hybrid powertrain, the S60 takes the best bits from a lineup of great cars.
Product Review

The 2019 Volvo V60 proves it's still cool to drive a station wagon

With the 2019 V60, Volvo argues the station wagon segment isn't as moribund as most other automakers say it is. The company goes as far as arguing we're on the cusp of a wagon revival, and the V60 is poised to lead the charge.
Cars

Race car or daily driver? Choose either with the 2019 Porsche Panamera GTS

Porsche has expanded the Panamera lineup with a midrange, GTS-badged model. Part race car and part daily driver, it's the variant we've been waiting for since the current-generation Panamera arrived in 2017.
Emerging Tech

Shrimp eyes inspire new camera focused on helping self-driving cars see better

By mimicking the vision of mantis shrimp, researchers were able to make significant improvements on today’s commercial cameras. They hope their technology can help mitigate accidents by letting self-driving vehicles see more clearly.
Cars

‘Bloodhound’ rocket car needs a speedy cash injection to survive

The rocket-powered Bloodhound car has driven into difficulties, with the company behind the project needing a multi-million-dollar cash injection to save its dream of attempting a 1,000 mph land speed record.
Cars

Double your charging speed with Nomad’s Tesla Model 3 wireless charger

Nomad's wireless charger for the Tesla Model 3 fits the EV's charging dock exactly. If you plug both of the Nomad's into the Model 3's two front USB ports you can charge two smartphones quickly or one phone twice as fast.
Cars

Watch this 1,000-horsepower Jeep Trackhawk scorch supercars in the quarter mile

The Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is pretty quick out of the box, but Texas tuner Hennessey Performance Engineering never settles for stock. Its HPE1200 Trackhawk boasts over 1,000 horsepower.
Cars

Hold on to your butts: These are the fastest cars in the world

Think your car is unbelievably fast? Think again. From wind-cheating bodywork to powerful engines, these cars were designed for the singular pursuit of speed (and it shows).
Cars

Room to roam: The supersized X7 is unlike any BMW you’ve ever seen

The first-ever BMW X7 is the 7 Series of the SUV world in terms of size, price, and image. Its supersized body has enough room for seven adult passengers and enough tech to impress even the most cutting-edge buyers.
Cars

'4WD' or 'AWD'? Which setup is right for you?

Although four-wheel drive (4WD) and all-wheel drive (AWD) are related, they are actually quite different in how they operate. Here, we talk about the fundamental differences between the two systems, and what it means for you as a driver.
Cars

Google Maps now shows EV owners the way to the nearest charging station

Google Maps now lets electric-car owners find the nearest charging station with ease. It's also added data on the number and types of ports available, charging speeds, and notes on the business where the station is located.
Cars

Heads up, George Jetson: Terrafugia starts taking orders for its flying car

The Terrafugia Transition flying car will go on sale next year, roughly a decade after the first prototype rolled out of its hangar. Terrafugia promises improvements, including a hybrid powertrain, to make up for the long wait.