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New Nissan Sentra shows signs of grown up!

Spacious interior; strong fuel economy; agreeable ride; attractively priced; user-friendly navigation and instruments, are some of the features we liked from this Japanese made.

The range is made up of just two models: a manual version and an automatic (CVT-equipped) option. Both are four-door C-segment sedans that make use of a 1.6-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine good for 85kW and 154Nm.

The 1598cc engine revs rather slowly but is pleasantly hushed in most conditions.

Regardless of the transmission, the ride is impressive thanks to the independent Macpherson strut setup at the front and the torsion beam layout at the rear, each with a stabiliser bar.

Of course, with that level of comfort comes the sort of compromise in dynamic handling that sees the Sentra wallow around fast corners, as we found out during our week-long test drive.

Sure, if you’re too enthusiastic with your right foot the dreaded CVT “hairdryer” drone fills the cabin, but drive it in a relaxed manner and it’s really quite muted. Not only that, it’s even more efficient: Nissan claims a combined consumption of 6.2 litres per 100km with the CVT, and I managed to better that.

Yes, some careful driving saw a final figure of 6.1 litres per 100km, which translates into a commendable 850km from the 52-litre tank.

From usual standard features; MP3/USB/iPod/Aux, Bluetooth, air-conditioning, electric windows, electric side-mirrors and auto-locking doors. Safety is also well covered thanks to six airbags, ABS with EBD and BAS, and ISOFIX child-seat mounting points. Aha…

Although, 4.6 long the Almera is spacious from enormous amounts of headroom, and legroom on the rear bench is better than pretty much anything else in the segment, and enough to embarrass most posh executive sedans.

The boot, too, is spacious at 510 litres (a space-saver spare hides under the floor), another figure the Sentra’s competitors failed to match.

Power
Engine: 1598cc four-cylinder petrol
Transmission: Five-speed manual or CVT
Power: 85kW at 5600rpm
Torque: 154Nm at 4000rpm

Economy

Fuel economy (claimed): 6.6 (manual) and 6.2 (CVT) litres per 100km
Fuel tank size: 52 litres

Space
Luggage compartment: 510 litres

Tyre Size

195/60 R16 (alloys)

Price (including vat)

Nissan Sentra 1.6 Acenta MT: R230 900
Nissan Sentra 1.6 Acenta CVT: R253 600

Included, three-year or 100 000km warranty and three-year or 90 000km service plan (intervals of 15 000km).

Verdict:

Performance
1-10: 6

Fuel
1-10: 8

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