Before you get bent out of shape over the title, let me explain. I am not referring to a price range. Not all cheap cars are bad... and more importantly not all cars that are bad are cheap! Trust me, some of my favorite cars I have driven cost well under $1000. Recently, I have been driving many new economically priced cars for roughly a week at a time. Some are okay, some noteworthy, some impressive, some unimpressive, and others utterly forgettable. But these adjectives do not describe those that should be outlawed. No, there are very few that deserve the tile of contestable or even illicit. I’s not simply style and/or performance deficiencies that lead to this conclusion. These cars should be banned due to a much more distressing issue. It is a matter of public safety, and that is why these subfuscous cars should be illegal.
The intent of this composition is NOT to pick on any one manufacturer. Particularly one that I have grown up knowing and loving. The Nissan (Datsun) car company is indisputably responsible for some marvelous machines dating as far back as the 60's (E.G.: The Skyline, the Fair Lady Z, 510 etc.). Recent examples of the car manufacturer’s engineering prowess are evident in the 370 Z and, certainly the super-car slayer GT-R. Which in part is why the Sentra is so stunningly dismal.
The unfortunate case with the 2017 Nissan Sentra (SV in particular) is it’s the latest test and freshest flop in recent memory. In this era of modern automobiles, there is no reason that any car should be this woefully uninspiring. SO inexplicably bland and numb. When examined on paper there is no supposition of amazement. The notion of adequacy is the only expectation. The Sentra comes relatively well equipped too. Hands free blue tooth, 6-way adjustable driver’s seat, and leather trim steering wheel are all standard for this model. Plus, all the same standard features you would expect to find on a car in this vehicle segment are present. Equipment and power wise, it is also quite comparable to the competition. It’s probably the most visually unappealing vehicle in the group, but it is still not totally hideous. Granting all this, the problems only become apparent once the “key is turned”. (You don’t actually turn a key anymore but you know what I mean).
Let’s begin with the road feel. The Sentra SV is equipped standard with electronic steering assist. This is good, right? Well not to the extent that the steering wheel has the vagueness of a rudder steering a house boat. If the car had enough power to break the wheels free, I would recommend relocating the backup camera to the front wheels. That way you might have an idea which direction they are pointing when they break traction. Speaking of power, when the accelerator is pressed to the floor, the typical expectation is that a vehicle goes faster (or at least tries to). The Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), however, seems to get in the way of this most basic of tasks. The CVT is truly continuous to a point where you don’t know if it is shifting, slipping, or engaging. The car feels suspended in a state of uncertainty… continuously trying to decipher what you want it to do.
Furthermore, I understand the notion that a person may need a purpose-built car such as a people carrier on a budget, or just something comfortable. Maybe plain old cheap and reliable, or a fuel-efficient commuter is what fits the bill. Whatever the need may be, there is a litany of cars that fit any multitude of specific needs fastidiously. The result is an auto that has a personality, largely due to the fact the car has an identity embodied by its purpose. There are numerous examples of these soulful alternative options for the same price or less. To that end, cost cannot be the determining factor here. My point being, the Sentra is a compromise, and a compromise car is one that is born and bought out of unwavering indifference, shared by the consumer and manufacturer alike.
Just to be clear, the Sentra does not stand alone in the segment of solemn bleakness. The Chrysler 200 is another prime example of an over featured economy car that is injected with a healthy dose of Novocain and inflated price tag. (After sitting in one of these morose steel boxes for any length of time you will wish you were injected with Novocain too). In the not so distant past, young Car companies like Kia and Hyundai had a firm grip of the malaise automobile segment. At this point the question remains why ‘feculent cars should be illegal’. There is an infallible logical argument from which only one conclusion can be derived. Any automobile meeting the criteria above (bland, numb, anemic, uncomfortable, and not particularly great at anything) could only be owned and driven by an individual whom has no concern for a vehicle as an experience. The owner of such a machine only sees cars as a means to an end. To procure such an automobile, and drive it on a daily basis is, in itself an expression of disregard for the astounding feat of engineering that is the automobile. This said owner, clearly has no interest in driving, otherwise a more purposeful vehicle would have been purchased. Therefore, the individual could not possibly take driving seriously, therefore is a hazard to public safety when behind the wheel. And henceforth: Shitty cars should be illegal! Not just so we can incarcerate the supercilious would be vehicular homicidal maniacs, but also to mitigate the torture inflicted to genuinely involved motorists by rental car companies (whom clearly see the automobile as nothing more than a number as they acquire them by the Thousands). After all, to quote Nissan USA: “Driving is serious business…” (not to mention their slogan...”...Excitement For Everyone”
And Nissan, if you’re reading this; show the world that Sentra SV is just a package to deliver another brilliant NISMO model, by setting me up with one for a test run.