Driving this vehicle was one of the most unpleasant experiences of my life… and I’ve been through the gas chamber twice.
I have the privilege of occasionally traveling for business reasons. When I do my company pays for a rental car. They even splurge on the compact over the subcompact model. I was told at the rental counter I got a free upgrade. Oh my!
It was a blustery winter day in Virginia. After hours of delays thanks to Delta’s incompetence I rolled in during the wee hours of the AM. The Girl behind the desk had been kind enough to stay two hours after her shift to ensure all us weary travelers had transport.
I got the keys and made my way to the garage. There she was, in all her glory. A “super black” 2017 Nissan Sentra S. I looked up the color name NissanUSA.com and it’s “super lame” even for an automotive paint. To note Nissan fails to advertise the Sentra on their homepage and there is a good reason for that.
Years ago Nissan touted their Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), kitschly named Xtronic, as the next big thing. This Xtronic is matted to a 1.8 liter engine that fails to achieve a modest 125hp. It’s been my belief that CVTs are horrendous (see my write up on the Jeep Patriot) and this car didn’t change that perception. The transmission and engine combination were more embarrassing than the time I answered “orgasm” instead of “organ” in 7th grade music class.
Car and Drive gives this econo-box a tepid 1.5 stars. Personally I think they are being generous. I’ve drive roughly 100 different cars in my short 30-ought years on this big blue marble and none of them ever had a seat like this. It was as if the seat was urging me not to sit on it. Telling me, “get the f*** out of the car now!?” I feared at any given time it would thrust me forward into the windscreen like a Looney Toons gag. But it did have a backup camera. Thank you congress.
The angle of the dashboard was odd. I’m short but even on the child-like safety seat I was perched it felt as if I was reaching up for everything. The main interface on the center stack is all touch based because, well, it’s 2017 and that is a thing. The car had 621 miles when I got it. The amount of dust between the screen and the LCD display had more dust than my Nokia brick from 1999. There is no way it gathered all that in such a short time. I surmise I came from the factory as such which also explain other quality control failures like being able to fit my pinky finger between body panels.
The gear shift was almost a foot high. A foot. I can’t… I mean. Nah, forget it. At least it had an armrest which would only be useable if the seat was all the way back. So, a win there?
Flying solo I had no use for the back seat but space did seam ample behind my five foot five frame. The trunk hardware was more exposed than that of my 1989 Grand Am and looked like something designed and built by Loveless from Wild Wild West.
The interior, engine and transmission were horrible. Maybe the outside was better? No. The dimensions are just funky. There is no other word I can use to describe it. It appears to be tall but not wide. Long but overtly short. The rear overhang makes it look like the back of the car was an afterthought. “Oh shit, we forgot to put the trunk on it, just draw a square.”
The front isn’t much better. How much chrome does this grill really need? Do you really want to draw attention to something with such an awkward angle that accentuates how tall and not wide the car is?
But hey it did get 22mpg average. Is that good for something with a base price of $17k and no power? Let me answer that for you: No. No it is not.