4 minute read
4 Sep 2013
6:00 am

Nissan’s passenger flagship

The return of a familiar nameplate now attached to much more status than before. That is how local motorists will view this week's return of the Nissan Sentra to South Africa.

Nissan make the point that while it gives them pleasure to reintroduce the famed name here for the first time since 2005, the 2013 Sentra is an all-new car. It is, in fact, the official new flagship of the Nissan South Africa passenger car range.

“The new Sentra marks the brand’s return to the highly competitive C-segment sedan arena,” said Sikhumbuzo Mzele, product manager for Sentra at Nissan South Africa.

South Africa will get two models, both powered by a four-cylinder, 1600cc normally aspirated petrol engine producing 85 kW at 5 600 rpm and 154 Nm of torque at 4 000 rpm. It is mated either to a five-speed manual gearbox or an automatic Continuously Variable Transmission.

Nissan’s usual reliability and durability apart, the engine features remarkable efficiency. This comes courtesy of several innovations, including a dual injector system with four valves per cylinder, twin Variable Timing Control, plus beehive-shaped valve springs with reduced inertial weight and friction reduction.

The benefits, say Nissan, are impressively low carbon emissions and low fuel consumption. According to their official figures the new Nissan Sentra 1.6 Acenta manual consumes an average of 6,6 litres per 100 km on the combined cycle, while the Sentra 1.6 Acenta CVT automatic consumes even less at 6,2 litres per 100 km.

Carbon emissions for both models are 156 and 149 g/km respectively.



Nissan say the Sentra boasts classic sedan styling met by a theme of understated elegance and upmarket design cues. That is always a subjective matter and rather than trying to describe the car, we suggest you look at the photographs.

Worth pointing out, in our estimation, would be classy LED accent park lights, the overall low side profile, 16-inch alloy wheels, plus prominent tail lights which also incorporate smart LED elements. The new Sentra is available in six colours.

The engineers are extremely proud of the car’s interior which boasts huge headroom, low hip points for all occupants, a 510-litre boot and more space than before in every direction. The cockpit is simplistic and space-conscious, with Nissan claiming the use of quality materials, plus flawless build quality.

Noteworthy extras include a tilt and reach adjustable multi-function steering wheel, black cloth upholstery and a soft-touch dashboard. An LCD display panel houses a multi-information trip computer featuring readouts for range, average and real time fuel consumption, two trip meters, the outside temperature and a gear position indicator for the CVT automatic model.

Also free of charge are things like smart LED interior map lights, a radio/CD audio system with MP3, USB/iPod and aux integration, Bluetooth for hands-free cellphone use and audio streaming, four speakers, air conditioning, electric windows all-round with one-touch up and down for the driver, electric mirror adjustment and auto-locking doors.

A rigid body structure design, sound insulation and high-performance shock absorbers reduce the noise and vibration levels produced by impact shock, also producing supple and communicative ride characteristics. Front suspension is an independent Macpherson strut setup with a stabiliser bar, the rear featuring a torsion beam layout also with a stabiliser bar.

The new Sentra features speed-sensitive electric power steering, making it easy to manoeuvre in a parking lot and stable at higher cruising speeds. The flagship Nissan arrives armed with active and passive safety equipment.

It features ABS with EBD and BAS, five three-point, low-friction seat belts, six airbags, an immobiliser and ISOFIX child seat mounting points.

* We drove the new Sentra 1,6 Acenta Manual around last weekend, and came to a conclusion. This is not an exciting car.

Its straight-line performance is restful, at best, while its handling does not inspire heroics through corners. By the same token its interior, though well-equipped, is bland and the type of stuff one encounters in a hire car – to be instantly forgotten afterwards.

But, in the old days, the Sentra sold because it was solid, reliable, fuel efficient and tough. Nothing spectacular, flashy or fast – just good, durable value for money.

We think the new Sentra will match those attributes and find many buyers among people who need reliable, long-term transportation more than short-term excitement.

The Sentra 1.6 Acenta Manual will cost R230 900, and the Sentra 1.6 Acenta CVT Automatic R253 600. The cars come as standard with a three-year/90 000 kilometre service plan and a three-year/100 000 kilometre warranty.

Service intervals are 15 000 kilometres.