My poor Volkswagen GTI spent the week at a local body shop getting all spruced up after someone backed into it. As a result, I was given my first-ever rental car, a 2017 Nissan Sentra.
For those of you with short attention spans, I’m going to make my stance clear from the get-go: Do not buy this car.
I didn’t exactly treat the Sentra with much respect when it was in my care, taking every opportunity to do things I wouldn’t do in my own car. I took it to the beach, drove it off-road and even ate behind the wheel.
After about 500 miles of driving on everything from loose gravel to highways, I can conclude that the new Nissan Sentra is garbage.
Regardless of your vehicular background, the Sentra is a huge disappointment. The exterior looks like a fat metallic hamster, the interior is full of outdated technology and annoying oversights and I firmly believe this is the slowest car I have ever driven.
I never expected the Sentra to be a speed-demon, but this thing is offensively slow. 124 horsepower put to the road by Nissan’s dreadful “Xtronic” CVT transmission means 0-60 takes damn near ten seconds with the engine buzzing itself to death at 5,000 RPM the duration of the trip.
On the inside it doesn’t get any better. Bluetooth audio streaming only worked when it wanted to, the sun visor blocked a majority of my view out the windshield, the government mandated rear-view camera was like the camera on my first cell phone and the controls on the steering wheel made absolutely no sense.
On the plus side, the glove box is enormous.
Small wonder people view cars as appliances when they drive something as slow and lifeless as the Nissan Sentra. I have diecast cars that were assembled with more care than this Nissan.
Don’t let the “Sport” button deceive you. There is nothing sporty about a car that can’t chirp the wheels during a standing start with traction control off. In addition, the brakes fade and begin to smell if you use them more than twice a minute, the ride is somehow both coarse and wallow-y and the steering offers the same level of feedback as a Fisher Price Cozy Coupe.
I know not everybody needs something that goes like a Hellcat or handles like a Lotus, but as far as I can see, the only reason to buy a new Nissan is because you haven’t tried anything else.
What about the new Ford Fiesta or Honda Civic? I defy anyone to step out of either of those cars and into the Sentra and declare that the Nissan is better in any category.
In the end, I couldn’t wait to see the Sentra go. My heart goes out to the thousands of poor souls who shelled-out nearly $20,000 of their hard earned money on something as unapologetically mediocre as the 2017 Nissan Sentra.