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.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: camera with A.I. director, robot arm assistant

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Product Review

With the roomy and speedy 2019 Continental, you can take Lincoln seriously again

With the 2019 Continental, Lincoln is on a mission to rekindle ties with its glamorous past. The firm's flagship sedan is short on tech, but it's comfortable, spacious, and smooth -- just like a Lincoln should be.
Product Review

The new Ram 1500 blends capability and convenience better than the rest

The Ram isn’t the most powerful, spacious, or affordable of the light-duty, full-size pickup herd, but a modestly equipped version walks all over rivals in terms of ride quality, technology, and cabin comfort.

Worried about commuting in winter weather? Nissan has the answer

The Nissan Altima midsize sedan is now available with all-wheel drive. To advertise that fact, Nissan's Canadian division slapped some tank-like tracks on an Altima to create a one-off show car.

Sibling rivalry: 2019 BMW Z4 takes on the 2020 Toyota Supra

BMW and Toyota forged an unlikely partnership when they set out to build a sports car platform together. Here, we examine the similarities and differences between the 2019 Z4 and the 2020 Supra.

Prices for using Tesla Supercharging just skyrocketed

Tesla is updating their Supercharging pricing based on local electricity rates and customer demand, which has lead to an increase in charging costs by as much as 33 percent in some regions.

Can electric motors finally make three-wheeled cars great?

Every few years, someone tries to sell a three-wheeled vehicle to Americans. Historically, it hasn’t gone very well. We’ve got our suspicions about why people don’t buy trikes, and they boil down to this: a trike is just not a real…

Is Uber planning to put its self-driving tech into bikes and scooters?

Uber reportedly has its eye on building autonomous electric bikes and scooters that ride to a user when summoned by an app. The technology could also be used to make its two-wheelers safer with obstacle avoidance systems.

Someone just paid supercar money for the very first 2020 Toyota Supra

The 2020 Toyota Supra made its long-awaited debut at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. The resurrected sports car, famous for a role in The Fast and the Furious, goes on sale in the U.S. this summer.

Lincoln’s stately, limited-edition flagship sedan sells out in a month

The 1961 Lincoln Continental became a design icon thanks to center-opening "coach doors" (also known as "suicide doors"). Lincoln is bringing those doors back for a special edition of the 2019 Continental.

Volkswagen is planning a tougher challenge for its all-electric I.D. R

The Volkswagen I.D. R electric race car will head to the Nürburgring for a lap-record attempt. Volkswagen will reportedly aim to set the quickest lap time ever by an electric car with the I.D. R.
Home Theater

Report: Spotify preparing to launch $100 in-car streaming device

According to a report, people familiar with Spotify's plans say the company is readying a dedicated in-car music streamer that will cost $100. It will work with any Bluetooth-enabled audio system and can be controlled by voice.

Tesla given go-ahead to start deliveries of Model 3 to Europe

Tesla has been given the green light to start deliveries of its Model 3 electric sedan to Europe, giving it the chance to compete more effectively with the likes of BMW, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz in the region's premium car market.

Royal fans bid big money as Prince Philip ‘car crash parts’ hit eBay

A couple of days after a car crash that involved the 97-year-old husband of Queen Elizabeth II, debris apparently from the scene of the accident showed up on eBay. And people wanted to buy it.