Want a cheap fun car? Consider Nissan’s heavily updated Sentra in new 2017 SR Turbo trim. Yes, a Sentra that’s fun! It’s been a while, but this 188-hp turbocharged imp boasts LED headlights, an…

2017 Nissan Sentra SR Turbo Road Test

If you'd asked me last year to name the Canadian small car market's most and least entertaining cars, I'd have put Nissan's subcompact Micra city car and compact Sentra sedan on the respective lists. For 2017 the Micra remains a personal favourite in the cheap performer entry-level category, and much to my delight Nissan has elevated the larger Sentra's fun factor times ten.

It wasn't too long ago that Nissan's Sentra SE-R was a highly respected sport compact, and while this once revered model is no more, the four-door-only Sentra can now be had in as-tested SR Turbo guise as well as top-line Nismo trim. I'll leave the Nismo for a future road test review, because the SR Turbo is the car I most recently spent time with.

Before delving into this all-new 2017 trim, Nissan gave the entire Sentra line a thorough mid-cycle refresh for the 2016 model year that pulls its much more agreeable styling cues from other models within the Japanese brand's lineup, particularly the Altima Read Full Story
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Just one look and you'll know why the Nissan Rogue sells so well. Its design is ideally balanced between sporty and elegant, with just enough rugged truck-like SUV presence to beef up what's actually a sleek and efficient car-based crossover.

How popular is it? For years the Ford Escape was number one in Canada's compact SUV category, but that ended when 2016 came to a close and Toyota's RAV4 took over the top spot, and then after the first two months of 2017 Honda's recently redesigned CR-V bumped the RAV4 off its pedestal, only to be knocked off by Nissan's new Rogue in March. By the close of May it was all topsy-turvy again, with the RAV4 up top, CR-V second, Escape third and Rogue fourth, although not many deliveries separate these hotly contested compact SUVs from each other. Every other competitor seems to drive off the sales cliff in comparison, with the majority in four-digit territory.

Truth be told, any one of these top-four compact SUVs would be a good bet, Read Full Story
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Nissan to bring ProPilot Assist to market with new Leaf

2018 Leaf ProPilot Assist
Nissan reveals the 2018 Leaf’s digital instrument cluster while also informing that its redesigned EV will also features semi-autonomous driving capability. (Photo: Nissan)
The world’s most popular plug-in electric vehicle will soon receive a complete redesign, which is compelling news in itself, but being that Nissan hasn’t shared much about the upcoming model thus far, we’ll take anything we can get. Along with one solitary image of the new EV’s primary gauge cluster comes news about a single new feature, ProPilot Assist, which is the Japanese brand’s proprietary driver-assistance technology designed to reduce “the hassle of stop-and-go highway driving,” says Nissan in a June 22, 2017 press release. Reportedly, ProPilot Assist will benefit 2018 Leaf drivers by controlling acceleration, braking and steering during single-lane highway driving. Along with the announcement, Nissan included a short explanatory video that we’ve attached within this report, which clearly shows how the state-of-the-art technology will assist drivers.
2018 Leaf ProPilot Assist
Check out the video at the end of this story, which depicts the 2018 Leaf’s ProPilot Assist system in action. (Photo: Nissan)
Nissan was clear in its release that ProPilot Assist will evolve to include “increasing levels of autonomy” in coming generations, with the ability to also “navigate city intersections”. ProPilot Assist is part of the Nissan Intelligent Mobility suite of technologies, which is the automaker’s “blueprint for transforming how cars are driven, powered and integrated into society.” Nissan has sold more than 270,000 Leafs globally since it became the world’s first mass-market electric vehicle in 2010. The next-generation 2018 Leaf will debut in Tokyo on September 6th (Sept 5 here in Canada). Check out the video…
 
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2017 Nissan Titan Crew Cab PRO-4X Road Test

These days there's a lot of talk about big SUVs and trucks selling much better thanks to cheaper gasoline. To be fair there were some pretty deep discounts at the pump right after the big oil crash two years ago that initially helped spur on large vehicle sales, but from where I'm standing the price of petrol is no better now than it was before the downward plunge that's devalued our dollar along the way. As a result all the watercooler gossip is no longer rooted in reality, at least as shown by 2016 Canadian auto sales stats.

Only Ford's F-150 saw a big improvement last year, with 145,409 units out the door compared to just 118,837 in calendar year 2015, but it suffered from production issues that year. Toyota's Tundra grew its numbers too, from 10,829 deliveries in 2015 to 11,364 in 2016, but compared to the blue oval, Toyota is clearly in the minor leagues when it comes to full-size pickups.

Last year's losers include the Ram pickup that had its best year ever with Read Full Story
If you’d asked me last year to name the Canadian small car market’s most and least entertaining cars, I’d have put Nissan’s subcompact Micra city car and compact Sentra sedan on the respective…

2017 Nissan Sentra SR Turbo

2017 Nissan Sentra SR Turbo
The 2017 Sentra carries forward last year’s styling upgrades while adding a more potent 188-hp SR Turbo trim level. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
If you’d asked me last year to name the Canadian small car market’s most and least entertaining cars, I’d have put Nissan’s subcompact Micra city car and compact Sentra sedan on the respective lists. For 2017 the Micra remains a personal favourite cheap performer in the entry-level categories, and much to my delight Nissan has elevated the Sentra’s fun factor times ten. It wasn’t too long ago that the Sentra SE-R was a highly respected sport compact, and while this once revered model is no more, the Sentra four-door can now be had in as-tested SR Turbo guise as well as top-line Nismo trim. I’ll leave the Nismo for a future garage entry and road test review, because the SR Turbo is what currently occupies my driveway.
2017 Nissan Sentra SR Turbo
The SR Turbo gets a rear spoiler and sportier bumper cap. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
Before delving into this all-new 2017 trim, Nissan gave its Sentra a thorough mid-cycle refresh for the 2016 model year that pulls its much more agreeable styling cues from other models within the Japanese brand’s lineup, particularly the Altima mid-size sedan. The most prominent change was the addition of Nissan’s now trademark V-motion grille in chrome and black mesh, extending upward into a new hood and downward into a revised lower fascia, while new complex headlamps included LED low beam projectors in SL and SR trims. Around the sides new 17-inch machine-finished alloys with black painted pockets were added to the latter two trims as well, while all Sentras received new taillight lenses and a reworked rear bumper in typical mid-cycle makeover fashion.
2017 Nissan Sentra SR Turbo
A new 370Z-inspired steering wheel makes the SR Turbo look and feel better, as does the much improved Sentra interior. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
All of this remains the same except for the elimination of SR trim and adoption of this SR Turbo nameplate for 2017, plus the engine and other performance tweaks that make it so fun to drive. The new 1.6-litre direct-injected four-cylinder gets borrowed from the already impressive Juke crossover, complete with 188 horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque (up a sizeable 58 horsepower and 49 lb-ft of torque over the base 1.8-litre four). Even better, it can be paired with the as-tested six-speed manual gearbox or an available continuously variable automatic (CVT), both boasting unique tuning specific to SR Turbo trim. Additionally, the SR Turbo gets reworked electric power steering for more direct response and feel, aided by stiffer springs and dampers plus extra bracing for greater rigidity overall. I’ll fill in all the driving dynamic blanks in my upcoming review, but suffice to say it’s worthy of contention with Honda’s new turbocharged Civic powerplant, and can mix it up with the new Elantra Sport as well.
2017 Nissan Sentra SR Turbo
A backup camera is always appreciated. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
Back to the changes that came with last year’s car, the 2017 Sentra carries forward all interior updates such as its more refined surface treatments that now make generous use of soft-touch synthetics and metallic accents, while the SR Turbo gets a sporty new 370Z-inspired three-spoke leather-wrapped steering wheel that’s a lot better looking due to a reshaped centre hub and side spokes (it’s no longer a big ugly blob) and less crowded multifunction controls. Additionally, new trims were added to the centre stack and doors, the one in my SR Turbo particularly nice. On the digital front, all 2016 Sentras received a 5.0-inch colour TFT multi-information display within the primary gauge package, with higher end trims getting better screen resolution, while Siri Eyes Free was also added to the mix.
2017 Nissan Sentra SR Turbo
These powered and heated leather seats are part of the SR Premium upgrade package. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
I’m not going to go into every trim level being that this overview is for the SR Turbo, a very different type of car targeting a more performance-oriented buyer, but take note that S and SV trims offer a little more enjoyment from the base engine thanks to their standard six-speed manual gearbox, whereas the more efficient CVT is available with these trims as well, and comes standard on the luxury-focused SL. Diving right into the SR Turbo, which starts $5,800 higher than the base $15,898 S at $21,598 plus freight and fees, the equipment list includes all items mentioned thus far as well as fog lamps, 205/50VR17 all-season tires, larger 11.7-inch front ventilated sport brakes with upgraded pads (the base car gets 11s), 11.5-inch solid rear discs (base gets drums), active understeer control (when you “upgrade” to the CVT), LED turn signals integrated within the side mirror housings, side rocker extensions, a rear deck lid spoiler with an LED centre mounted brake light (CHMSL), a sport rear fascia with a matte black diffuser-style centre insert, a chromed exhaust tip, and more on the outside.
2017 Nissan Sentra SR Turbo
The Sentra has long been praised for its accommodating passenger compartment. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
Proximity-sensing keyless access gets you inside and pushbutton ignition gets the motor percolating, while interior upgrades include the leather-wrapped sport steering mentioned earlier, a leather and metal shift knob, exclusive sport inlays, microfiltered air conditioning, a 5.0-inch colour infotainment display with a backup camera, SMS- and email-reading capability, Siri Eyes Free, AM/FM/CD six-speaker audio, satellite radio, Bluetooth phone with streaming audio and more, with additional SR Turbo features including premium sport cloth upholstery, heatable front seats, a sliding front armrest, a flip-down rear seat centre armrest with cupholders, tire pressure monitoring with Easy-Fill alert, etcetera.
2017 Nissan Sentra SR Turbo
The Sentra’s trunk is massive, with 428 litres of space plus expandability via standard 60/40-split rear seatbacks. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
My tester came with $300 Aspen White paint, the only other available option being the $3,400 SR Premium package that adds an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a HomeLink universal garage door opener, upgraded sunvisors with extensions and dual illuminated vanity mirrors, an auto-dimming LED centre dome light, a powered moonroof, an upgraded NissanConnect infotainment interface with a larger 5.8-inch touchscreen, voice recognition, navigation, eight-speaker (including two subs) Bose premium audio with satellite radio, leather upholstery, an eight-way powered driver’s seat, and blindspot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. All the extras pumped the price up to $25,298 before freight and fees, which seems pretty reasonable, especially considering Nissan’s current (at the time of writing) $3,500 cash discount.
2017 Nissan Sentra SR Turbo
Meet the new SR Turbo’s 188-hp 1.6-litre turbo four-cylinder with 177 lb-ft of torque. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
Of course this all gets added to myriad features available in lesser trims, of which I’ll go into in more detail as part of my upcoming road test review, although take note if you’d like your Sentra with enough active safety gear to qualify for IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus status, which it does, such as emergency autonomous braking and adaptive cruise control, you’ll need to step into a less powerful CVT-only model. To its credit that seemingly anemic base Sentra powerplant gets the segment’s best fuel economy at 8.1 L/100km in the city and 6.3 on the highway with its optional CVT, or 9.0 city and 6.8 highway with the standard six-speed manual, while the turbo increases consumption to a claimed 9.1 city and 8.9 highway. Before signing off I’ll mention one of the Sentra’s greatest attributes, its accommodating passenger compartment and massive 428-litre trunk. I’ll run over more dimensional details and comment on the car’s overall comfort in my review, but its standard 60/40 split-folding rear seatbacks are a bonus no matter how it measures up. Until next time, sport compact fans might want to consider testing out this new Sentra SR Turbo or its even quicker Nismo sibling. I’ll be back with my road test results and more soon…