Nissan is finally showing a new Sentra, ending the six-year lifespan of the fifth-generation car, which had about as much style as a jellybean. This time around, the Sentra gets overstyled in the spirit of its chisled siblings the Maxima, the Altima, and now the Versa. The new entry-level Versa liberates the Sentra's role in the Nissan lineup, so the '07 Sentra offers unexpected options such as leather-trimmed seats, keyless entry and start, and Bluetooth connectivity. The Sentra rides on a new corporate platform that will eventually spawn a new C-segment vehicle for Renault.
A standard six-speed manual or optional CVT will team up with the Sentra's 135-hp aluminum-block 2.0-liter--the only Sentra engine Nissan has revealed so far--though a more powerful R-spec engine is in the near future. Nissan says the CVT Sentra will be good for about 36 mpg on the highway, a fairly invigorating spec these days.
The new Sentra boasts about nine cubic feet more interior space than its drab predecessor. The trunk features a tailgate-like folding panel that creates a "hidden trunk." Typical of leading cars in this class, six air bags are standard. The new, slightly goofy-looking Sentra hits dealer lots this fall for a price around $15,000, and the SE-R is due in early 2007.