Nissan's new Sentra--worth the wait?

Posted by: Ian Rowley on January 9, 2006

Sentra embedded.jpeg

The new Nissan Sentra (above) is unveiled today at the Detroit motor show. Click here and here for some more shots. The sedan, which won’t go on sale until September, has certainly been a long time coming. Expected last year, Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn insisted that Nissan engineers went back to the drawing board after customer tests received a poor response. While sensible, that meant the current Sentra’s lifecycle had to extend into an unusually long sixth year.

Having taken the hit, Nissan execs are now confident that the new version, which will be built in Mexico, will appeal to a younger demographic. “We really want the Sentra to important as a feeder to the rest of the line-up. The storage spaces, the colors, the texts and fabrics—everything about it is more youthful,” says Jed Connelly, senior vice president in sales and marketing at Nissan. “We recognized that young people spend a lot of time in their car so we want to make it as accommodating and pleasing as possible.”

One challenge will be how Nissan manages the launches of the new Sentra and the Versa subcompact. The Versa, which will be Nissan’s smallest U.S. offering, will go on sale before the Sentra for around $12,000—not that much less than its larger stablemate. Connelly, though, insists there will only be “minimal cannibalization” between the two. But both will face plenty of competition from Asian rivals.The Versa, which will initially be sold as a hatchback with a sedan to follow later, will have to contend with Toyota’s Yaris subcompact and Honda’s Fit hatchback—both of which will debut in 2006—as well as well as Korean-made Kias, and Hyundais. The Sentra will face a stiff challenge from cars like Honda’s popular new Civic and a new Toyota Corolla is slated for 2007.

Reader Comments

pardeep bedi

January 11, 2006 9:30 AM

The Senta has everything people demand. I really appreciate the new Nissan.

pat

February 3, 2006 12:42 PM

I would have to disagree with the previous comment stated above. The new Sentra is not very appealing. It lacks the aggressive characteristics that other manufacturers are beginning to concentrate on. Thumbs down to the new Sentra.

Charles

February 11, 2006 6:11 PM

Nissan is making a real comeback with these two astonsishing vehicles. I would recommend the Versa anb the Sentra to anyone looking for an affordable vehicle.

Andrew

February 23, 2006 2:19 PM

I disagree with the Feb. 3 posting. After seeing the new Sentra on display at the Chicago Auto Show, I find the styling very appealing, and it will be the most aggressive-looking compact sedan to enter the market. It wins by a landslide over the odd front of the new Civic. With the new engine, transmission, much larger and innovative interior and trunk, I think Nissan has a winner here and another reason for the domestics to worry.

Whong

March 20, 2006 9:03 AM

Pardeep and Charles are obviously Nissan employees. This thing is yet another amorphous econo blob and I don't think it will fly with the under 30 crowd. They better hit a home run with the SE-R model

Rob

April 1, 2006 11:11 PM

I agree w/ Whong. My first reaction to the new Sentra was..yaaawwwn.

Kent

April 12, 2006 10:15 AM

Better then the old dinosaur, but considering they are 4 years behind, compared to Corolla, Mazda3, Civic and Jetta, they could have done better. Geez, they have barely caught up, by copying them.

rieger

June 19, 2006 11:40 PM

They went back to the drawing board because customers were not to happy with the look of the prototype and they came back with this?! They should take some of the styling cues from the Mazda 3 and the Civic. The new jetta is not great and neither is the current Corrolla design. If Nissan wants some of this market before Toyota comes out with the new Corrolla they have to do much better than that. They guys like Ghosn get paid big bucks and they let a product like this Sentra be manufactured just shows us that CEO's of car companies should love cars and car design and not just be some smart nerd.

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