Car News

Nissan Debuts Updated 2016 Sentra at LA Auto Show

Well, it was bound to happen; fresh on the heels of a refreshed Altima sedan, Nissan’s next top-selling car, the Sentra compact, is getting a once over.

So that means the Sentra will be getting the new face of Nissan, punctuated by the “V” grille and boomerang headlights, which can be specified with LED low-beams on the SR and SL trims. At the rear, the taillights follow a similar “boomerang” theme. The SR and SL grades also get new 17-inch wheel choices.

For anyone wondering what the top trim is, know that the Sentra is following in its Maxima brother’s footsteps, with both the SR and SL trims sitting at the top of the heap (S and SV grades fill out the lineup), depending on what kind of driving experience you’re looking for.

Want something a little more aggressive, a little more sporty? The SR is likely the way to go. More luxury? The SL could be just the ticket: all ’16 Sentras, meanwhile, have retuned suspension with a 10 percent increase in both front and rear damper rates, as well as a front tunnel section borrowed from the Juke NISMO RS.

Interior space is the same as last year (1,080/950 mm front/rear legroom, 1,001/932 mm front/rear headroom), with a host of interior upgrades separating the 2016 mode from its 2015 equivalent.

The steering wheel now bears a similar appearance to what’s found in the 370Z sports car, while the top three trims get a new five-inch TFT screen set between the gauges for displaying all your trip computer needs.

Staying with tech: an optional 5.8-inch display screen mounted into the centre stack is now the hub for all your infotainment needs, including Siri compatibility which comes as standard on SV, SR and SL grades. Also available at those levels is NissanConnect, which actually allows owners to set curfews and notifications on how far anyone’s allowed to stray from a certain boundary. It’s not quite Big Brother, but it’s getting there.

The new tech doesn’t stop there, either; Nissan’s Advanced Safety Shield is now available for the first time on Sentra, providing forward emergency braking, radar-based intelligent cruise control, blind spot alert, rear cross-traffic alert and forward collision warning.

That’s a pretty impressive suite of driver aids, the likes of which is not often seen at the compact sedan level.

They’re features that should help distract from the fact that mechanically, very little has changed since last year; power figures are the same (130 horsepower, 128 lb-ft of torque), although the Xtronic CVT transmission has been configured to perform more perceptible 'shifts', and some engine internals have been redeveloped to improve efficiency, although the '16 Sentra has yet to complete its five-cycle testing for fuel economy.

Canadian pricing has not been announced, but it starts at US$16,780 in the US (up from US$16,530), so we don't expect it to rise much here in Canada, either.