2016 Nissan Sentra Expert Review

4.2 Overall Score
Performance 4.3 Comfort 4.2 Styling 3.5 Value 4.3

Editor's Overview

Numerous changes come to the 2016 Nissan Sentra compact sedan, designed to improve appearance, suspension and noise isolation, and upgrade driver-assist technologies with things like adaptive cruise control. Yet there's no corresponding bump in price, meaning the Sentra is still the same roomy, comfortable and value-laden little sedan it has been since this generation went on sale in 2013.

You'll Like The 2016 Nissan Sentra If...

The 2016 Nissan Sentra is roomy, comfortable and offers plenty of high-tech features. It's also not particularly expensive, even fully loaded. If that sounds like the car for you, it's worth checking out.

You May Not Like The 2016 Nissan Sentra If...

We like the styling updates to the Sentra, but despite that, the styling's still on the anonymous side. Additionally, the Sentra sells on value, so if you're looking for a powerful engine or snappy handling, you might be better served by a Volkswagen Jetta, Honda Civic or Mazda3.

What's New

The 2016 Nissan Sentra gets new headlights, new taillights and new wheels across the board. Inside, there are now piano-black accents. New driver-assist technologies include forward emergency braking and adaptive cruise control. There are also improvements to the suspension, and a slew of new sound-deadening measures.

Interior Features

The Sentra already had one of the nicest interiors in the compact-sedan class, and the 2016 Sentra is even better. New are piano-black accents, better sound deadening, a 5-inch color LED info screen between the main gauges, and an improved audio-system interface. But as comfortable as the front seats are, the rear seats are a surprising highlight. There's plenty of room for tall passengers, and the Sentra offers a ton of legroom. The trunk is equally huge, and there's a reason why: According to the EPA's classification system, there's so much room in the Sentra that it's actually a midsize.

Exterior Features

The 2016 Sentra's exterior styling closely mimics the recently updated Nissan Altima; think of it as "Smalltima" if you like. The new headlights and grille treatment are more dramatic, but avoid making sporty promises the car can't keep, and SL and SR trim levels get LED low-beam headlights as well. Additionally, all models get new wheel designs. The rest of the car is untouched, and that's fine. We like the smoothly sculpted sheet metal, which manages to hold your attention without being flashy or overdone.

Driving Impressions

The 2016 Nissan Sentra is a daily commuter, unconcerned with brisk acceleration or razor-sharp cornering. It's quiet, thanks to the additional sound deadening, and the 4-cylinder engine only makes its presence known at full throttle, and even that's not so loud thanks to the addition of Nissan's D-Step logic to the continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), which mimics a standard transmission under heavy loads. The suspension got slightly stiffer this year, but just enough to give the ride a more planted feel, not actually make it sporty or anything. Instead, SL and SR models can be ordered with a Technology package that includes adaptive cruise control with low-speed follow function; turn it on, and you can leave the car to monitor its own speed, even in stop-and-go traffic. We'd prefer more than the 130 horsepower the 1.8-liter 4-cylinder musters, but commuters will probably like the prospect of 40 mpg more.

Pricing Notes

The 2016 Nissan Sentra S with a manual transmission comes with a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of about $17,600, including the $835 destination charge. On the other side of the pricing spectrum, the Sentra SL with the technology package comes out to just under $25,400, which is a pretty solid bargain for a car with adaptive cruise, blind-spot detection and forward emergency braking. Prices are on the lower side for the segment, undercutting cars like the Honda Civic and Ford Focus, but coming in a bit higher than the Kia Forte. As a long-term prospect, the 2016 Sentra's resale value is about average for the compact-sedan class, but its solidity and refinement make it feel like it's worth more. Be sure to check the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for the 2016 Sentra.

Notable Equipment

The most basic 2016 Nissan Sentra is the S, and it comes with a 6-speed manual, three driving modes – Eco, Normal and Sport – and standard air conditioning. It's also equipped with Bluetooth phone and audio integration, a USB port, keyless entry and truck release, electroluminescent gauges, power windows, power mirrors, cruise control, auto headlights, and an audio system with four speakers. For extra cargo space the rear seatbacks fold in a 60/40 split. On the safety front, all Sentras get a modern complement of active and passive safety features including six airbags and electronic stability and traction controls.

Notable Options

The 2016 Sentra SL is the top dog, but the Sentra SR also comes with the LED low-beam headlights, alloy wheels and keyless ignition, and it can be equipped with the same upgraded audio system that includes an 8-inch screen and navigation. A technology package for the SR and SL includes adaptive cruise control and forward emergency braking. The mid-level Sentra SV offers a Driver's Assist package, which adds navigation, blind-spot warning with rear cross-traffic alert, and SiriusXM traffic. An FE+ S model adds underbody panels, low-rolling-resistance tires, and a drivetrain optimized to achieve up to 40 mpg on the highway.

Favorite Features


New to the Sentra this year, Nissan's Intelligent Cruise Control – available on Sentra SL and SR models – takes the pain out of commuting by bringing the car to a stop in heavy traffic. Click the "resume" button, and you'll be back up to speed in no time.


Nissan cleverly integrates its tire-pressure-monitoring system to the horn. The upshot is that if you're filling your tire, the horn will honk when the proper pressure is achieved. It's super simple and handy, and the only question is why everybody doesn't do this.

Under the Hood

The 2016 Nissan Sentra comes with just one engine: a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder that, with only 130 horsepower, is among the least powerful in the class. But no matter, the continuously variable automatic transmission it comes with works its magic to get the Sentra up to speed with little fuss, and passing power is fine as long as you plan a heartbeat ahead. There is a 6-speed manual transmission available, but only on the base model, and it actually hurts fuel economy, rather than helping it. We'd say skip the FE+ grade, since it only gets one highway mile per gallon more than the regular Sentra (40 mpg is much sexier than 39) and many features aren't available on it.

1.8-liter inline-4

130 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm (124 horsepower w/CA emissions)

128 lb-ft of torque @ 3,600 rpm (125 lb-ft w/CA emissions)

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 27/36 mpg (manual), 29/39 mpg (automatic), 30/40 mpg (automatic w/FE+ trim)

Editors' Notes

The 2016 Nissan Sentra compact sedan gets a slew of upgrades this year, adding to its already impressive qualities of feeling more upscale, bigger and roomier than its reasonable price tag suggests. In addition to offering tons of interior space with a surprisingly large back seat, the Sentra this year gets refreshed styling, with a new nose and tail, and an upgraded interior. There are other improvements, such as additional sound deadening, a suspension that's slightly stiffer, and advanced electronics like adaptive cruise control. Yet it does all this while undercutting competitors like the new Honda Civic, Ford Focus and many others, sometimes by thousands of dollars.

Road Test Video Reviews

2016 Nissan Sentra Owner Reviews

387 Reviews
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What’s my absolute favorite of my car is the white powdery color.

2016 Nissan Sentra

My original car that I wanted was a 2016 Chevy Cruze which originally came with Exeter window tint that had/and was the car I originally intended to by; my next car of choice was to go ahead and buy a Nissan Sentra sv press start sedan. It came with a intelligent smart key so they call it. Why I do not know works with a press of a button. Has front wheel drive; unlike the Chevy Cruze though it has excellent eco mode which is extremely competitive to most cars which I love helps save gas; sport mode which is also included, which is intended to use to get you out of any situation as far as sedan features which is a plus for me takes time and gets you to place to place in no time it helps speed up the car as it is used for a race car. Unfortunately didn't come with tint I purchased it all on my own. It was all used we I purchased it came with expensive tires firestone to be exact. A awesome cvt engine which means continuous variable transmission, can perform to its top beast in my very own opinion which is a great engine on the market right now. Flawless features suitable for sedan cross; came with backup camera when in reverse shift as well as USB auxiliary port and CD player. Although it is a great car and all does have two or three issues two I have no worries to take out my own pocket to have it running safe and well does have its needs. One is a well alignment does need its cvt transmission fluid replacement and a quick left rear back driver side ball joint leak which is in need of also an replacement I can do. Great for all around turns quick tight rough smooth drives when your on the road. It came as a cheap price sales taxes including totaled out to 13340 not too bad. Not done paying on it but when done I might consider selling for 5000. Would definitely come in handy for someone else.

- Samuel G

The best in style, efficiency, service, and features!

2016 Nissan Sentra

Very easy car to drive. I have had it for about 2 years and have brought it to every maintenance check / service check and everything is still in check and running well. I the feature of the driver’s seat that can be lifted up with the handle on the side. This helps to raise your view when you are short like me. I also like the option to make the dash lights lighter or dimmer day or night. My eyes are sensitive to the light so I like dimmer feature when driving at night. Seats are comfortable both front and back and allows leg room for you are taller family members and friends. This Sentra can comfortably fit five people be it adult or children. And yes it has the safety features for you are youngest children to be securely locked in as well as the safety belt system to accommodate the babies in our lives to have their car seats stay put while driving on the road. A comfortable ride and gets you where you need to go. The dependability and reliability is why I trust the Nissan name. And yes! They have great and good looking SUVs and trucks too if those peak your interest. But for me, my Sentra does it all. . . Gets me where I am going and brings me home at night both safely and efficiently! Speaking of efficient, smart and spacious this Nissan Sentra looks more expensive than a lot in its category and has so many other wonderful features and options I could go on and on. Before I let you go my most favorite of all is the roomiest trunk space for a mid size sedan plus gives you the option to cruise to your destination or speed it on the highways and freeways. Please give the Nissan Sentra a place in your home because you will not be disappointed!

- Elaine S

The best 'Workers' car there is

2016 Nissan Sentra S

My 2016 Nissan Sentra is overall quite excellent. While not having a ton of accessories, it runs extremely well. Startup happens flawlessly everytime and the engine output itself is great, but subtle. When using the gas pedal you can initially feel the car go, but once on a normal stretch of highway, it almost feels like you are not going fast enough, despite the speedometer. Steering is very responsive and doesn't feel clunky at all. Only caution on it is the front bumper that stuck out a tiny bit. The seats started out great but now after awhile they seem like they need a bit of support. Storage space is overall great compared to other sedans I have seen, having no problem loading up wood panels from my hardware store, just had to lay down the backseat. Only complaint about the radio/hands free system is that on the steering wheel, the 'call' button and 'volume' button are a bit too close together. I have on only a few occasions hung up on someone while trying to turn up the volume. Other than that I have clear audio, both my aux and USB port work well, and have just enough options on it to meet at the very least, my basic needs.

- Bryan C

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