New Car Reviews

First Look: 2017 Nissan Sentra NISMO

A 188-horsepower terrier

Nissan’s Sentra is an economy car meant for commuters wanting to get from point A to point B. It’s an affordable, somewhat cheerful, and not a bad looking car. But for those after a little more oomph and raciness, there isn’t a real choice. Nissan thinks it has a solution with the Sentra NISMO, a hotter version of one of the company’s most practical offerings.

The 2017 Nissan Sentra NISMO is a first for the compact car and offers “motorsports-inspired NISMO factory-tuned performance.” In addition to an exterior revamp that includes an aggressive front and rear fascia, NISMO specific wheels, and subtle badging, Nissan’s NISMO division also set about making the Sentra NISMO handle with Michelin Pilot Sport all-season tires, a dropped ride height, increased structural rigidity, and NISMO-tuned suspension.

Tuned to provide better feedback and handling, the Sentra NISMO’s independent strut front/ torsion beam rear suspension adopts monotube rear dampers with unique tuning in the front springs and struts. The design of the shocks features individual oil and gas chambers and a better charge ratio to provide drivers a quicker response during velocity adjustments. NISMO also tuned the springs and struts to reduce the Sentra NISMO’s roll and pitch for better cornering feel and to provide a more confidence inspiring ride.

Additionally, NISMO wanted a linear, direct steering feel that also provided good highway feedback and precise on-center definition without feeling too heavy. To accomplish that goal, NISMO tuned the electric power steering system to provide a “NISMO feel,” dialing the steering in so that it provides the right amount of effort to response. According to Nissan, for customers wanting more performance in terms of handling, an optional Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R summer tire will be available through Nissan dealers.

The Sentra NISMO retains the 1.6-liter direct injection turbocharged engine from the standard Sentra and keeps the Sentra SR Turbo’s 188 horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque. The engine can be coupled to either the company’s XTRONIC Continuously Variable Transmission or a newly available 6-speed manual transmission, “with gear ratios selected to take maximum advantage of the engine’s powerband and torque curve.”

According to Michael Bunce, VP of Product Planning for Nissan North America, “It was important to offer a 6-speed manual transmission with the new Sentra NISMO, both to reinforce its pure performance credentials and to up the direct engagement factor between driver and the vehicle. While today’s sophisticated, paddle shifted automatic gearboxes can often match or exceed the performance of a manual transmission, there’s still nothing like the experience of rowing through the gears with three pedals in the footwell.”

Only one factory option will be available with the Sentra NISMO, a premium package that features NissanConnect with Navigation and Nissan’s apps, a 5.8-inch color touch-screen display, Nissan Voice Recognition, SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link, and a Bose audio system with 8-speakers. Bunce added that, “The new Sentra NISMO will attract new customers not currently considering Sentra-enthusiasts looking for a fun-to-drive vehicle with a sport image yet at an attainable price point. As the first core NISMO model in the Nissan lineup, Sentra NISMO takes us back to Nissan’s roots of compact performance sedans.”

Pricing and a release date have yet to be announced.

2017 Nissan Sentra NISMO Specifications

On Sale: TBD
Price: N/A
Engine: 1.6L DOHC 16-valve Inline-four/188 hp @ 5,600 rpm, 177 lb-ft @ 1,600-5,200 rpm
Transmission: Continuously variable automatic, 6-speed manual
Layout: 4-door, 5-passenger, front-engine, FWD sedan
EPA Mileage: N/A
L x W x H: 183.6 x 69.3 x 58.9 in
Wheelbase: 106.3 in
Weight: 3,037 lb
0-60 MPH: N/A
Top Speed: N/A

Buying Guide
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2017 Nissan Sentra

2017 Nissan Sentra

MSRP $18,090 S (Auto) Sedan

EPA MPG:

27 City / 35 Hwy

Safety (IIHS):

Best Pick

Horse Power:

130 @ 6000