Rental Review - 2019 Nissan Sentra SV

Messages
591
Location
Atlanta, GA
So recently spent a few days out at the beach in Florida - had a bunch of airline and Expedia credits due to two cancelled trips so decided to get myself and my other half out of the same 4 walls we have been living, working, eating and sleeping in for the past 3+ months. Flew into Tampa and ended up renting with Enterprise, because I was burning up credit with Expedia my Emerald Club did not afford me any special kinda perks or select your own vehicle (don't think Enterprise does that anyways). Was booked into a "Nissan Versa" or similar but when agent took me out just a handful of Sentra's, 1 Chevy Spark, 1 Grand Caravans and I believe an Infiniti or two. There were no Versa so Enterprise agent made it a HUGE deal she was giving me a free upgrade to a Sentra, in typical Enterprise fashion tried the hard sell on the upgrades for pre-pay fuel and collision waiver. Ok I am straying off topic here. So here I am in a prior generation 2019 Nissan Sentra SV with silver exterior and black cloth interior - its just taking us from Tampa airport the beach and back which is about 45 mins each way, and going to make 1 run into Tampa to visit friends and maybe a little driving around at the beach, I would have been fine with a Versa too because it was just short hauling around Tampa Bay area. Powertrain - 1.8L w/CVT. Wow - I have not minded the CVT with the larger Nissan engines (2.4 and 3.5) but with the 1.8 it is painfully slow and can be downright dangerous if you get caught off guard while you wait for it to rev up. Just keeping it up with traffic on the slow 35 MPH roads it would rev 3k-3.5k then do some weird fake shifts - freeway merges were just mat the accelerator and listen to the engine angrily buzz away and you may be up to 55 at the end of an on ramp. Handling/Ride/Drive: - Nothing to write home about, competent is how I would gauge it. Not a car I would try to do some higher speed handling maneuvers in. Brake pedal was awful - felt like trying to push a wooden peg through a bucket of wet concrete, ZERO feel or feedback. Will say it did have a nice compliant ride. Interior: - One positive is that the main interior switchgear is all the decent parts bin stuff shared with the other Nissan and Infiniti sedans (turn and wiper stalks, window and lock switches, overhead light panel, etc.) - really all the controls except the gear shift operated quite nicely. Seats were not comfortable at all and felt like you were perched on top of them instead of sitting in them - driving position was awful. Discomfort started kicking in after about 30 minutes behind the wheel. Overall: - I will say it had very good air conditioning and got decent fuel economy (ended at 32.7MPG per trip computer) - that was pretty much about it. Other than that there were really no other redeeming qualities, even 4-5 years ago when it was only 2 or 3 years into its model cycle it ended up in a distant last in a 5 car comparison against the Civic, Mazda3, Cruze & Elantra. Car and Driver comments in that comparison pretty much highlight my same gripes with the rental Sentra that I had. I don't know how Nissan moved so many of these things considering there were so many better options during its run - the 1st generation Cruze 1.4T I had as a rental back some time ago was better than this thing, 2nd gen Cruze blows it out of the water. Hope Nissan has actually tried to do better with this newest generation of Sentra and Versa, they have done quite well with making an overall desirable package with their Altima and Maxima (well lets exclude CVT reliability from this) but the Sentra and Versa always seemed to be an after thought.
 
Messages
14,612
Location
Central NY
We have a leased '19, it replaced a leased '17. It's not a terrible commuter car, but not particularly fun to drive. The transmission on our 19 is programmed a lot different than the 17 for some reason, but it's for the better. The 17 went overboard with the fake shifts, but the instant you let up on the throttle a hair, it would drop the RPM to 1100 and vibrate everything. With a Nissan CVT, never mad the accelerator; that makes the car slower. You have to hold it about 80-90% of the way down and that's quicker. They sell so many of them because, before they released the new generation, walk into a Nissan dealer with $225 cash and walk out with a $225 / month lease on one. That's hard to beat with depreciation on buying new or repairs and depreciation on an older vehicle. Otherwise, there's much better cars out there from pretty much every manufacturer.
 
Messages
13,177
Location
ROCHESTER, NY
It's really sad to see one of the previously better Japanese car companies turn out to be so bad. Nissan cars used to be the vehicles to buy if you wanted good reliability without buying into Honda or Toyota. I believe that with the new 2019-2021 vehicles('19 Altima, '20 Sentra & Versa and '21 Rogue-upcoming) Nissan can turn things around. The 2020 Sentra is getting some very nice reviews from the automotive PRESS. I realize that some positive reviews are coming form those who didn't expect the car to be as good as it is and they seem somewhat shocked!...a very good sign. I like the Sentra's(2013-19) style and dimensions especially since the '16 refresh(facelift). And even more now for 2020. WOW! A very competitive sedan. It seems obvious that Nissan waited for Mazda, KIA & Toyota to redesign the Mazda3, Forte' & Corolla respectively before launching the Sentra, Now Honda has an upper hand when redesigning the Civic to stay at the top. I have to say that even though sedans sales are falling to SUVs, the compact & midsize sedan is still very competitive and there are many good choices in these segments. I mean, is there a bad vehicle here?
 
Messages
542
Location
Minnesota
The 2019 Versa has a 1.6, the 19 Sentra has the 1.8. I had a 17 Versa and found the power to be totally adequate in all scenarios I encountered. I think the real issue is that people think they need more power than they really do. We've become spoiled by modern vehicles.
 
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7,693
Location
The Midwest
The 2020 Sentra is a complete redesign with a more powerful engine and independent rear suspension. Consumers Reports puts the 2020 version on their recommend list.
 
Messages
542
Location
Minnesota
For some reason i thought you said Versa, so my post about engine is irrelevant. But in that case I'd say lack of power is even less of an issue in a Sentra vs a Versa.
 
Messages
6,226
Location
KY
I got stuck with an Altima while the i3 was being repaired(rear ended by a texting dimwit). I think Nissan lost the plot about a decade ago. I like the ancient(but still fun) 370Z but that's it. My first suggestion to the suits at Nissan would be to impose mandatory drug testing in the styling department.
 

JTK

Messages
13,293
Location
Buffalo, NY
I think all your run of the mill Nissan cars have been irrelevant for 20yrs. Does anyone besides rental companies and cheap azzes like myself buy them? LOL. I haven't driven a Sentra since we owned a 2001 many years ago and that one was a far cry from the 1993 it replaced. Didn't care for the 2001 at all. The 1.6L isn't bad at all power-wise in our 2015 Vera with the 4spd AT. It's geared low enough that it moves out at highway speeds even.
 
Messages
13,177
Location
ROCHESTER, NY
Originally Posted by aquariuscsm
What happened to Nissan?? I owned three Nissan Zs and almost bought my girlfriend a pristine 240SX years back. Best cars I ever owned.
I still like driving Nissan cars very much. However it is said (by auto journalist) that since Nissan & Renault connected in the late 90s/early 2000s, Nissans quality has steadily declined over the years as well as Infinity. Hopefully they'll make a strong comeback.
 
Messages
6,226
Location
KY
Originally Posted by aquariuscsm
What happened to Nissan?? I owned three Nissan Zs and almost bought my girlfriend a pristine 240SX years back. Best cars I ever owned.
I had a 1969 SPL311 and a 1993 Pathfinder SE. Both were great, today it would be the 370Z only.
 

pezzy669

Thread starter
Messages
591
Location
Atlanta, GA
Originally Posted by JTK
I think all your run of the mill Nissan cars have been irrelevant for 20yrs. Does anyone besides rental companies and cheap azzes like myself buy them? LOL. I haven't driven a Sentra since we owned a 2001 many years ago and that one was a far cry from the 1993 it replaced. Didn't care for the 2001 at all. The 1.6L isn't bad at all power-wise in our 2015 Vera with the 4spd AT. It's geared low enough that it moves out at highway speeds even.
The Altima has been pretty decent and relevant for ~2 generations now and Maxima for 1 generation - yeah the CVT still is and has always been questionable but outside of that the Altima and Maxima are very desirable on the short term. Sentra and Versa seem to have been the "oh we need to make a compact and subcompact car" second thought.
 

Nick1994

$50 Site Donor
Messages
13,027
Location
Phoenix, AZ
I agree with your review, quite spot on. My coworker has a 17' Sentra he commutes in, he's had it for 2-1/2 years and has done almost 50k miles. The only problem he's had with the car is the driver's visor broke (Nissan fixed as a good-will repair, it was just out of warranty). I've driven it and carpooled with him a little bit. I'm 6'2" and sitting in the passenger seat is hilarious. My knees with the seat all the way back are up into the dash, barely any gap. I feel like a giant in a clown car. I wonder what would happen to my legs in an accident...
 
Messages
13,177
Location
ROCHESTER, NY
Maybe you should have sat in the backseat!........Just kidding! smile However, the SENTRA rear seat leg/knee room is supposed to be enormous in that generation. And the Versa as well, was supposed to have more rear set leg/knee room(not width) than any other Nissan. A few years ago my wife & I were in Florida for 11 day and rented a Versa NOTE(hatch). It's just what the rental agency gave us. We both loved this car. It was as fugly as any other car in the subcompact segment but we loved how it drove, rode, handled, parked, scooted, darted etc. I wrote a review on this car in another thread and I still want one for a local run-a-bout(used-cheap). It was quieter & rode better and more comfortable than any other subcompact hatch we've driven lately. Ya know, NISSAN can do it! They build a nice car even if not class leading. However, they need to improve their reliability. To me, they're just nice to drive. I am always very relaxed when I drive a NISSAN.
 
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Messages
12,206
Location
OH
Zero to 60 times have been reduced by two seconds with the new generation Sentra. Plus they kind of look like a little Maxima.
 
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JTK

Messages
13,293
Location
Buffalo, NY
Originally Posted by pezzy669
The Altima has been pretty decent and relevant for ~2 generations now and Maxima for 1 generation - yeah the CVT still is and has always been questionable but outside of that the Altima and Maxima are very desirable on the short term. Sentra and Versa seem to have been the "oh we need to make a compact and subcompact car" second thought.
I very much enjoy being in and driving late model Altimas and Maximas. I like the seating comfort and driving dynamics to them.
 
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