What's New for 2014:
- Revised CVT and chassis
- Updated navigation system
The 2014 Nissan Sentra is a 5-passenger, front-wheel-drive (FWD) sedan that slots in between the smaller, lower-priced Versa and large, pricier Altima. Several trim levels are available, all powered by the same 4-cylinder engine. Nissan completely redesigned the car for the 2013 model year, so changes for 2014 are minimal. Among the Sentra's leading competitors are the Chevrolet Cruze, Ford Focus, Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, Kia Forte, Mazda 3, Toyota Corolla, and the Volkswagen Jetta.
Models and Features
Addressing the needs of buyers looking for relatively basic 4-door transportation, the 2014 Nissan Sentra S features a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, 16-in. steel wheels, LED-accented headlights, power-adjustable outside mirrors, height-adjustable driver's seat and a 60/40 split-folding rear seat, 4-speaker sound system with an auxiliary input jack, and common items such as power windows and keyless entry.
One step up the Sentra ladder is the SV. Compared with the S, this variant is upgraded with standard cruise control, premium cloth upholstery, two extra speakers, and a security system. FE+ versions of the S and SV eke out slightly better fuel economy by adding low-rolling-resistance tires, rear spoiler, and aerodynamic tweaks to the wheel wells and underside of the car.
Those efficiency-oriented changes aren't found on the 2014 Sentra SR, but this trim level does feature 17-inch alloy wheels, fog lights, revised bumpers and rocker panels, so-called sport cloth upholstery, and unique silver interior accents. One-upping the SR is the SL, designated the top-of-the-line Sentra thanks to its leather-wrapped steering wheel, Bluetooth connectivity, automatic headlights, heated turn signal mirrors, upgraded audio system with satellite radio capability and iPod connection, push-button start, and dual-zone climate control. The SL is also the only Sentra trim level to feature Nissan's Easy-Fill Tire Alert (the horn beeps when the tires have been inflated to the correct pressure) technology as standard equipment.
Options and Packages
There are no packages available for the 2014 Nissan Sentra S, but there are a few desirable options for the SV, SR, and SL versions. Among them are a 5.8-inch touch-screen navigation system bundled with a rearview camera and smartphone-linked apps, a Premium package with a power tilt/slide moonroof and Bose audio system, and a Leather package comprised of leather upholstery and heated front seats.
Nissan also offers a couple of Driver packages, one for the SV and another for the SR. The former features push-button start, Bluetooth connectivity, premium audio, Easy-Fill Tire Alert, and a sliding front armrest, while the latter delivers those upgrades plus rear disc brakes.
Under the Hood
Regardless of which 2014 Nissan Sentra model a buyer selects, they'll be working with the same engine under the hood. Efficient, yet lacking the muscle of some competitors' power plants, the Sentra's 1.8-liter 4-cylinder produces 130 horsepower and 128 lb.-ft. of torque, output that's directed to the front wheels via a 6-speed manual (S only) or continuously variable transmission (CVT).
Not surprisingly, the enhancements made to the Sentra FE+ models contribute to enhanced fuel-economy results, with EPA ratings of 30 mpg in the city, 40 mpg on the highway, and 34 mpg in mixed driving. Other Sentras equipped with the CVT perform nearly as well, with only the highway figure dropping by 1 mpg.
That leaves the base Sentra S with its 6-speed manual transmission. While it's the cheapest to buy, it also proves to be the least efficient with ratings of 27 mpg city/36 mpg highway/30 mpg combined.
Safety and Ratings
In crash tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the 2014 Nissan Sentra received an overall rating of 4 stars (out of 5 stars). In tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the 2014 Nissan Sentra received a rating of \"Poor\"--the Institute's lowest--for small overlap front-impact protection.
In terms of safety features, the 2014 Sentra is fitted with 4-wheel anti-lock brakes (front discs and less effective rear drums) with brake assist and electronic brake-force distribution, bright LED taillights, and 6 air bags.