Rental Car Review 2015 Nissan Sentra: I really hate the CVT, otherwise, Sort of Want
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    1. #1
      Member l88m22vette's Avatar
      Join Date
      Mar 1st, 2006
      Chicagoland, IL

      Rental Car Review 2015 Nissan Sentra: I really hate the CVT, otherwise, Sort of Want

      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?

      Haha, nope.
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    2. #2
      Join Date
      Apr 20th, 2002
      Virginia Beach
      I don't know why the sentra gets so badly mauled by the auto press. I've driven one and really liked it. a manual shift would make it lots more fun, but it rides very quiet, and has an enormous back seat. altogether, very pleasant indeed...

    3. #3
      Quote Originally Posted by Merckx View Post
      altogether, very pleasant indeed...
      for an appliance

    4. #4
      Senior Member Gaki's Avatar
      Join Date
      Oct 15th, 2000
      I felt the same way driving one. Damn that CVT.

      However, when going to the Nissan website to build a penalty box Sentra, I am pleasantly surprised that they offer it in a 6 speed manuel! Ole!
      Last edited by Gaki; 01-20-2017 at 07:59 PM.
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    5. #5
      I'd love to drive the 1.6T with the cvt as I haven't had a chance to drive that powertrain. CVTs need a engine with torque.

    6. #6
      I like the CVT in my 2016 Sentra well enough. It is a commuter car, not a GT. An SR trim level is available with a turbo and a manual.

    7. #7
      Member nyexx's Avatar
      Join Date
      Dec 11th, 2014
      New York
      Curious if you've had any seat time in any other modern compact cars. That would explain why you didn't think it was that bad and the automotive press does... because they know pretty much every other compact car is better.

      Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

    8. #8
      Member Carson Fiber's Avatar
      Join Date
      Sep 12th, 2015
      The hell hole of Chicago
      I owned a 1994 Sentra SE-R for close to 10 years, and 2 years ago my mom leased a 2015 Sentra SL. It is built a lot more solid than the old Sentra but at the same time too it feels like a huge, cushy, pig or more like a Buick. I don't like it at all, and my mom is sick of it too when it comes to reliability and screen readouts too.
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    9. #9
      Member Elite_Deforce's Avatar
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      Nov 18th, 2012
      Montreal, Quebec
      Quote Originally Posted by Sonderwunsch View Post
      People have been complaining about modern BMWs lacking steering feel so they are adding torque steer.
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      I find it ironic that long time Euro brand fans would assume long term reliability issues would destroy any love of a unique product.

    10. #10
      I've driven the sentra a few times as a rental. It's OK. For the price of the purchase, especially second hand, you can't go wrong. It gets you from A to B and fuel economy is good.

      Used to think it looks really ugly but recent facelift has it looking better.