2023 Nissan Sentra SR CVT Premium
Price: $28,778 CAD
Colour: Orange w/Black Top
I’ve danced the two-step with the Nissan Sentra many times over the years. I owned a mid/late-80’s hatchback that I adored and had door locks so worn you could open them with toothpicks. It was a simple car for sure but a good one as well. I never got stuck in the snow, it never failed to start and I always knew it would take me home. It was also, for the 80’s, a good-looking car. I’ve driven nearly every successive generation since and they were all decent motors, but they all suffered heavily in the looks department. They inspired no passion whatsoever. The 2023 Sentra is the 8th generation of this vehicle. The design was released in 2019 and hasn’t aged a day. It’s a handsome little car with pleasing lines and a pretty face. It’s also one of the most economical choices you can make and that’s a fantastic combination.
Power & Performance
There is only one engine option across the Sentra range. You get a 2.0L 4-cylinder engine that gives you a tolerable 149hp and 146 lb/ft of torque. This isn’t a dizzying amount of power, that’s for sure. It certainly doesn’t deliver on the sporty appearance of the car, which is a disappointment, but I think that’s done for a very good reason. They could have slapped a turbo on the 2.0L or give us a brand new powerplant and really spank this thing up but that costs a lot of money. The Sentra is, at its core, an economy car. It’s designed to go from A to B and do it reliably day in and day out. As a result, the engine it comes with does that just fine. It’s a simple and reliable powerplant and that allows Nissan to sell the car for the price they do. I’ll take that trade-off.
One very important thing to note about the 2023 Sentra, should you be interested in ordering one. You can have a six-speed manual across the range. If you opt for the Midnight or Platinum packages it’s CVT or nothing. I’d get a SR with the manual and save myself $4,000 and get a far superior driving experience. The CVT is a real bust in the Sentra, but I expected no less. If you order the CVT I doubt you much care about how well it works only that you don’t have to change gears so it won’t matter anyway. For those of us a little more plugged into the driving experience there is a better option.
The exterior is where the 2023 Nissan Sentra really shines. It’s a beautiful car. I never understood why economy cars had to look so dour and bland. All the manufacturers are guilty of this. Perhaps it’s designed to push people to buy a more expensive car that looks better. Whatever the reason, the Sentra now bucks that trend by giving us a little Brad Pitt-like good looks and that’s a wonderful thing. This tester has a fabulous (if you like the colors) orange body/black roof color scheme that has proven deeply popular as it attracted many looks as I drove around town. I would absolutely order this vehicle in this color combo. It enhances the solid lines of the vehicle and adds greatly to the appearance.
The interior of a car is very important. It’s where we spend most of our time and has to be a nice place to be or we might consider veering off the road and into a tree on our daily, soul sucking commute. The interior of the 2023 Nissan Sentra is a really nice place to sit. It’s comfortable and spacious enough without over-doing it. Like a car should, the seats cup you and hold you like SUV’s just can’t. The rear seat is more than big enough for 6’ adults.
Air vents aren’t something we talk about when it comes to car interiors because largely, nobody cares. Nevertheless, Nissan took the time to design good looking, functional vents and then arrange them in a beautiful fashion across the center dash area. It is an inspired little piece of design and as soon as you sit in the car it’s the first thing that grabs your attention.
Nissan and infotainment systems are like bathrooms at a bus station. You need them but they tend to disappoint. Nissan constantly cuts corners with the cameras they put in their cars. The screen on the Sentra is of sufficient resolution but the cameras are fuzzy and tough to look at. There’s no reason for this but cynical corner cutting, and they should find savings somewhere else.
On the 2023 Nissan Versa I was stunned to see a modern wireless charging pad. Blew my mind. I drove the Sentra right after that car and I was a little disappointed to see they have omitted that feature on this vehicle. When they redesign the interior of this car I hope they make a point of adding it.
A wonderful piece of equipment I wasn’t expecting to find on the Sentra was powered driver’s seat. Given the price point of this vehicle, I wouldn’t have even considered their inclusion but lo and behold, there it was. It upscales the Sentra in a big way as you can buy much more expensive cars that don’t have this option.
You still get a proper shifter on the 2023 Nissan Sentra. No buttons or little stick on the steering column. I know it’s a little thing, but I love being able to sit with my hand wrapped around the shifter. It’s like my happy place. If only this was a manual, then I’d need a moment to myself.
I’m not the biggest user of sunroofs. I am the pastiest guy on the planet and my hair isn’t as thick as it used to be so sunburn is a real concern for me. Thus, I don’t open the sunroof much. That being said, I know I’m the minority in that regard and lots of people like that piece of equipment. Imagine my surprise and delight when I looked up and saw a proper sunroof in the Sentra. You need to opt for the SR trim but again, I was surprised it was here.
Judging the quality of an economy car in modern times is a tough thing. The corner cutting is often rampant and can lead to a very disappointing experience. Luckily, Nissan has found a really solid line with the Sentra. The materials are pretty decent quality, and it has most of the stuff you’d want in a car you drive daily. I enjoyed being in this car and the quality of its composition plays a big part in that.
CQI – 8. I was so happy to see decent carpet in the Sentra. If they put that crappy Velcro nonsense in this car, I would have been forced to compose a strongly worded email that nobody would read. Luckily, I was spared that requirement and all is well with the world.
The 2023 Nissan Sentra SR is one of the most economical new cars you can buy today. It’s not a small car nor does it compromise in key areas that make it something you should consider buying. At $28,000 CAD you would be hard pressed to find more for less. Options to consider are the Mazda 3 and the Hyundai Elantra as they come closest to matching the Sentra’s value, but you’ll still pay more and if you want a manual the Hyundai is out. Alternatives like the Civic or the Corolla are available as well, but their prices start where the Sentra tops out. This is a really good option for a cost-effective economy car and if you’re in the market, you should give it a drive.
I really like the 2023 Nissan Sentra. It has everything I like in a car. It’s good looking, very economical, well made and you can get it in a manual. It also offers a solid driving experience but keeps things simple. I’m a little amazed at what you get for your money with this car, and it was a wonderful series of surprises. Nissan is a very hit and miss manufacturer and it’s sad they’re still addicted to CVT’s but with the Sentra they have shown what they can do, and it is good.