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Nissan's Sentra Nismo Concept made its world debut at the LA Auto Show today as part of the Japanese automaker's intitiative to expand its performance line of factory performance models, and it's packing a turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine with 240 horsepower and 240 pound-feet of torque - that's 110 hp more than the regular Sentra.
Of course, no high-performance version of any car would be complete without the suspension upgrades to handle the power, and Nissan has fitted Nismo-tuned suspension and a limited-slip differential to the little front-wheel-drive sedan. With such an increase in power, Nissan wisely chose to swap out the stock brakes for the Brembo calipers and discs from the 370Z. Larger 225-millimeter-wide tires are wrapped around 19-inch Rays wheels and contained within wider fender flares. The steering and six-speed manual transmission also were tuned by Nismo.
The exterior gets new aerodynamic bits, such as a revised front fascia, a chin spoiler and a new rear spoiler, while the interior gets a nice set of Recaro seats and a leather-and-Alcantara steering wheel. For more information on the Sentra Nismo Concept, check out the press release below, and feel free to head over to the auto show photo gallery to see the car up close.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Wow, for a moment I thought Nissan forgot they built a Sentra. The last Sentra hung around for a staggering six years, which is virtually unheard of in the hotly contested compact car market. The outgoing car, with its Lego-like styling and crude interior was hopelessly outdated. So, it was with great relief Nissan finally put the old girl out of its misery and delivered a completely redesigned Sentra. The car deserves that much, as it basically carried Nissan through the 1980′s alongside the completely forgettable Stanza.
To say that Nissan has taken the Sentra’s styling in a new direction does not even come close. The upright, tight edges of the outgoing car are gone, and will not be missed. Instead, we have a car with flowing, organic curves, not a harsh edge to be found. Our test car, fitted with attractive 17″ alloys and finished in Amethyst Gray and a ‘just right’ amount of chrome trim give the Sentra an upscale air that belies its price. Nissan aired a TV commercial where a junior executive is mistaken for someone far more important in a similar Sentra, and after seeing the car in person, I can believe it. No, it does not stand out, nor will it turn heads, but for the price of admission, you simply will not find another car that exudes this level of class and sophistication.
The austere cabin of the 2012 Nissan Sentra The Garage tested is also a distant memory. Nissan carried the Junior Executive theme inside, with features available only on high-end luxury cars ten years ago present and accounted for, and then some. Leather, and a pleasing mix of silver trim, chrome, and wood tone trim conspire to provide one of the most opulent cabins in its class. The contrasting beige and grey dashboard also add to the sense this is no ordinary compact. The quality of materials, fit and finish are excellent. Our feature-laden Sentra had easy to read gauges, and intuitive controls. As opulent our Sentra was, even more impressive was the amount of interior room. Front and rear, passengers had a surprising amount of room. The Sentra also boasts an enormous trunk.
In the engine room, all Sentras share the same engine, in this case a 1.8L four rated at 130hp, which is actually down on power from last year’s car. While that sounds like a step backward, it is Nissan’s attempt to bring the Sentra closer in line with the competition’s fuel economy ratings. In this case, the EPA rates the Sentra at a frugal 30/39 MPG city/highway. The base model Sentra can be had with a six-speed manual transmission, but all other models come standard with a Continuously Variable Transmission, a hallmark of Nissan passenger cars. Nissan makes the best in the business, but the mission of the CVT is to deliver optimum fuel economy, not driving pleasure. The new Sentra is no exception. Around town, the car gets around fine, but on highway on ramps, acceleration is lazy, and under full throttle, the inevitable motor boating effect is present. As elegant as the exterior and interior design are, under full throttle the Sentra is not. The ride is comfortable, and at cruising speeds, the Sentra is quiet and composed. The Sentra makes no promises of being a fun or engaging car to drive, just an easy car to live with. Driving enthusiasts, look elsewhere.
The Sentra is available in several trim levels to suit taste and budget. Our test car was the top-spec SL, with a starting price of $$19,760USD. For that, standard equipment includes dual zone auto climate control, push button start, six speaker audio with SiriusXM satellite radio, Bluetooth, LED tail lamps, LED headlight accents, LED lighting on side mirrors and fog lights. Our test car added the Premium Package, which includes a power moonroof, auto dimming rearview mirror and an eight speaker Bose audio system. The Navigation Package adds, well, Navigation with NavWeather and NavTraffic, a rearview camera, and hands-free text messaging assistant. Finally, the Leather package adds, um, leather seats, front heated seats, and oddly, rear disc brakes. Including destination, our Sentra rings in at a very respectable $23,655.
Will it set your heart afire? No. That’s the job of the Sentra SE-R, and we are waiting to see if such a car will return. Long neglected by Nissan, the Sentra is back, and this is easily the best looking one yet, with a slick interior to match. In terms of style, comfort and features, the Sentra is tough to beat. Add an exceptionally roomy cabin and generous trunk space, and you have a winner. Most buyers won’t care that it is a bit on the slow side, or a bit soft in cornering. Nissan knows its buyer, and on that front has exceeded all expectations. It is simply the best Sentra of all time.
The Insurance Institute For Highway Safety has released the results of its latest small overlap front crash tests, and there's a surprise among small cars. IIHS tested 12 cars, half of which managed "Good" or "Acceptable" ratings overall, qualifying them for the the coveted Top Safety Pick+.
Top Safety Pick+ is still a fairly rare achievement since the new small overlap crash tests were instituted, as it's taken manufacturers time to design, engineer, build and bring to market cars that can score well on the new metric.
The overlap front crash test covers the car's structure, restraint systems and kinematics, as well as measuring the "injuries" the crash test dummy's heads, necks, chests, hips, thighs, legs and feet.
The highest scorers were the Honda Civic Sedan, followed closely by the Civic Coupe. These were also the only two to earn overall scores of "Good." The Dodge Dart, Ford Focus, Hyundai Elantra and Scion tC all earned acceptable scores overall, which was still enough to qualify them for the TSP+ rating. The bottom half of the test included the Chevrolet Sonic, Volkswagen Beetle, Chevrolet Cruze, Nissan Sentra, Kia Soul and Kia Forte.
Only 25 models have earned the TSP+ rating so far, which requires cars to earn "Good" ratings for occupant protection in four out of five tests, while scoring at least an acceptable on the fifth test.
Click through for the full press release from IIHS, as well as a videoPermalink | Email this | Comments
Nissan recently aired a commercial in Australia for its Pulsar SSS hatchback - think of it as a five-door relative of our Sentra - in which a couple is seen hastily making their way to the hospital ahead of giving birth. But the ad you can watch now isn't the same ad that aired originally - in fact, Nissan had to re-edit the commercial twice before the Australian Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB) would accept it.
According to Go Auto, the original ad received complaints that it depicted unsafe and reckless driving, including speeding, following cars too closely and screeching to a halt upon arriving at the hospital. One of the complaints reportedly read: "The advertisement promotes driving behavior (rapid acceleration/deceleration/changes of direction) that is counter to sound medical advice regarding the carriage of heavily pregnant women in motor vehicles."
In the first edit, Nissan lowered the vehicle's engine noise, removed the woman's speech urging the man to drive faster ("Go, go, go!") and inserted a disclaimer that read "Filmed under controlled conditions," according to Go Auto, but all of that still wasn't enough to appease the ASB.
Nissan went back for some more editing, which resulted in the tamer commercial that's airing in Oz today. Nissan even removed extra shots to fit in slightly slow-motion video of the Pulsar driving, to be sure viewers don't think it's speeding. Even so, there's still an enjoyable hook to the ad - watch it by scrolling below.
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Episode #342 of the Autoblog podcast is here, and this week, Dan Roth and Jeff Ross are joined by Rob Sass of Hagerty Insurance. Topics include a meaty discussion of the hits and misses of what's come to be known as the Malaise Era, Detroit's bankruptcy filing, and word that there actually is a new Cadillac above the XTS coming in the next two years. As always, we start with the garage and end with your questions and comments. For those of you who hung with us live on our UStream channel, thanks for taking the time. You can follow along after the jump with our Q&A. Thanks for listening!
Autoblog Podcast #342:
Topics: Dan Roth, Jeff Ross
Guests: Rob Sass
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I've been compelled to do many things in or around a car, but jumping over one has never quite made the cut. That may be because I have all of the vertical lift of a manatee, but I digress. One enterprising young soul recently looked at a friend's Nissan Sentra and thought, "You know, I can totally leap right over that roof line."
By using what can only be described as Herculean feats of persuasion, he talked one young female friend into driving said Nissan straight for him at around 40 miles per hour while another stood by to film the lunacy. The plan went swimmingly right up until our would be compact-vaulter caught his foot on the hood and bounced into the windshield. Whoops.
But the story doesn't end with a trip to the emergency room. Our hero spun mid-air and actually managed to get his feet under him before coming back to Earth. Impressive. You can watch the hilarity for yourself below, but please, don't even think about trying this yourself.Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments