2017 Car Review: 2017 Nissan Sentra NISMO Review By John Heilig
THE AUTO PAGE
BY John Heilig
The Auto Channel
REVIEWED MODEL: 2017 Nissan Sentra NISMO
ENGINE: 1.6-liter turbocharged I-4
TRANSMISSION: 6-speed manual
HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 188 hp @ 5,600 rpm/177 lb.-ft. @ 1,600-5,200 rpm
WHEELBASE: 106.3 in.
LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 183.6 x 69.3 x 58.9 in.
CARGO CAPACITY: 15.1 cu. ft.
ECONOMY: 26.5 mpg test
FUEL TANK: 13.2 gal.
CURB WEIGHT: 3,037 lbs.
TOWING CAPACITY: Not recommended
COMPETITIVE CLASS: Chevrolet Cruze, Ford Focus, Volkswagen Golf
STICKER: $24,990 (base)
BOTTOM LINE: The “hot rod” version of the Nissan Sentra, the NISMO, is quite compliant and fun to drive, with just enough additional horsepower and torque to improve the basic nature of the car.
There’s always a “situation” with manufacturers’ special models, the ones that are tuned at the factory. For example, the Ford Focus RS is a beast of a car that is sometimes difficult to tame. Nissan’s NISMO fleet contains some beasts and some fairly normal cars that just happen to have a bit more power and handling.
The Sentra NISMO is one of the latter. The NISMO-tuned engine delivers 188 horsepower, versus 124 for the same base 1.6-liter four. Torque is equally impressive, rising from the base 125 lb.-ft. to 177. And we had the car around Christmas, when the threat of snarky weather was upon us. Would those P215/45R18 tires handle it?
No problems. The Sentra NISMO, while it does have very good power and torque, is a perfectly compliant car. For a compact, it has decent dimensions that provide for good interior space.
Let’s get into the seating for a start. The front seats are Recaro-like with excellent side support in the back and seat area. They’re NISMO labeled, so the impression is that they aren’t Recaros, but they do just as good a job. Good support is necessary because the Sentra NISMO has some pretty good handling.
To start with, the Sentra has been lowered about a half inch, with Michelin Pilot Sport tires. In addition, the body is stiffened with a thicker cowl, body floor and rear parcel shelf. The NISMO-tuned front strut/rear torsion beam suspension incorporates monotone rear dampers and special tuning of the front springs and struts. The result is a very good handling without the harshness that many factory-tuned vehicles possess.
The 6-speed manual transmission is a pleasure to use. I confess to not being the slickest shifter, but with the Sentra NISMO I missed no shifts. It is the type of gearbox that you can work through the gears like a race car, or occasionally skip a gear or two when you’re just heading out to do some local shopping.
Among the NISMO styling highlights are a red front splitter and side aero additions, NISMO identification on the floor mats and seats and red trim around the shifter. And in case you get really confused driving the car, there’s a red stripe identifying the center position on the steering wheel.
Interior features shared with more conventional Sentras include a small center console/arm rest that has USB and AUX connections, and a small cubby at the base of the center stack with a 12-volt outlet. The visors have pull-out extensions that give additional sun protection.
There is a soft, suede-like material on the door pulls. The pulls also have bottoms, which make them convenient for holding keys or phones.
Rear seat legroom is very good for a compact car. In addition, the floor in the rear is fairly flat, so a middle passenger back there wouldn’t be too uncomfortable. The rear seats fold to increase cargo capacity, but the result isn’t a flat floor. The trunk has good capacity, with NISMO labeling on the removable cargo floor mats.
While some factory-tuned “hot rods” tend to be hairy and harsh, the Nissan Sentra NISMO’s modifications from the standard Sentra serve to make the compact car a far more tractable vehicle that has improved power and handling.
(c) 2017 The Auto Page Syndicate
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