The Nissan Sentra hasn't been significantly updated for a few years, but it remains a reasonable choice in the compact-sedan class. Key to the car's appeal are an interior that is more spacious than its compact exterior dimensions suggest, a comfortable ride for a small car, and an abundance of available technologies. It looks a bit like a scaled-down Altima, but the Sentra is not the most beautiful car in its segment. The relatively bland interior can be outfitted with touch-screen navigation, push-button start, satellite radio, heated leather seats, a 340-watt Rockford Fosgate sound system, and a backup camera. Driving the base Sentra is an unremarkable experience, but at least there are two higher-performance versions. The SE-R packs 177 hp and a continuously variable transmission; it is sportier but not a true performance machine. The SE-R Spec V is the choice for enthusiasts, as it offers 200 hp, a six-speed manual, and optional performance bits like a limited-slip differential. Both SE-Rs score larger brakes, bigger wheels, and a firmer suspension than other Sentra models. They're fun for enthusiasts but not as polished or refined as competing hot compacts. The Nissan Sentra would probably fill the bill for someone who wants a simple, inexpensive sedan, but there are many newer models on the market that surpass the Sentra in style, handling, and value for money, such as the Ford Focus and the Hyundai Elantra. We expect a new, improved version of the Sentra to debut in the next year or two.
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