I am on day 3 of my 20-day allotment for a rental while my Outback gets fixed, and I ended up with a very clean 38k Sentra. It is silver over black with the hubcaps and feels every bit a modern economy car, so, good build quality and entertaining commuter features with the typical dashs of sponge and fecklessness. Size-wise its no B13, this is a jumbo shrimp and would have been named Altima not that long ago. The overall structure, maybe because of that, feels very stiff, is quiet, and has that overall padded bank-vault feel a premium shopper looks for. It reminds me of some German cars, or would that be French? Overall styling is nice, sharp without being obnoxious (looking at you Toyota), but it gets lost easily in bigger parking lots.
I feel like the Sentra is a really good car powered by a Kenmore, and you can tell the chassis could handle a lot more power if it wasnt't so focused on fighting you. Honestly, I'm fine with the engine, I didn't expect any kind of screamer but it moves if I want it to. Now, I know this is an ad nauseum in the car world, but the CVT kills it for me. It's like the car wants to distract you from the commute by wagging its finger and scolding you whenever you want anything other than it to stay at 2200rpm and 35mph. A sample:
Oh, a "Sport" button,*push*
Right foot + gas pedal = RREEEEEEEEeeeeeee-oe-e-ee-ooe-eo-eo--oe-eo-eo-eo-zzzzzzzz (insane rev to 4500rpm, then the entire time you're accelerating the engine is decelerating, also known as dividing by zero)
What the hell was that?!
Looks at speedometer, going 45 in a 30, wut?
That's been my last three days. I also tried the "Eco" button but it made the drivetrain feel like it took mescaline, so I don't use that button. Overall, regular boring Drive mode is actually the best, and once I discovered there is a '90s-style O/D off button I felt better about the car. There are a few quibbles, like gauge-reflection at the top of the windshield or radio knobs made for mouse hands, but otherwise I'm fine with it. The seats are stupid-comfy, there is good visibility, an otherwise nice radio, and plenty of room. Basically, it feels like you could roadtrip it while also ignoring it, and there is definitely something to be said for a car like that. If you don't have any car pretensions and can ignore the CVT I'd recommend the car, but what I wouldn't give for a good clutch or torque convertor in this thing. Whats even sadder is the upcoming Nismo Sentra will only have 188hp. Hey, maybe the Sport button for the CVT will really mean something with more power, worthy of the Nismo name?