Aims to make the Sentra more competitive in its segment.
A report from WardsAuto states that Nissan is considering adding more engine choices for its Sentra compact car and is also studying the possibility of bringing a hatchback variant to North America. Currently, the Sentra is only offered with a 1.8-liter I-4 that makes 130 hp and 128 lb-ft of torque, and can be mated to a six-speed manual or CVT. Competitors like the new 2016 Honda Civic and the Kia Forte, on the other hand, offer between two or three engine choices, including turbocharged variants that offer more power.
Tom Baehner, senior manager of product planning, Nissan North America, told WardsAuto that the reason for reviving the hatchback body style on the Sentra would be to give consumers another choice and make the car more competitive in the segment. However, the popularity of small crossovers — which are essentially hatchbacks with a slightly higher ride height — is one of the reasons that Nissan wouldn’t pursue introducing a Sentra hatchback to the North American market.
Currently, the compact hatchback segment is dominated by the Mazda3 and Ford Focus, and has made it hard for new entries like the Hyundai Elantra and Kia Forte to break into that niche of the C-segment. Chevrolet will be entering the compact hatchback segment with the 2017 Cruze hatchback later in 2016 and Honda will offer a hatchback version of the Civic in the U.S. for the first time in over a decade. Nissan says it will keep an eye on the Cruze hatchback’s sales to determine whether it should bring a Sentra hatchback to the North America. One of the Sentra’s platform mates, the Renault Megane, is available as a four-door hatchback in Europe.
For 2016, Nissan has made extensive revisions and added new features to the Sentra including new headlights, a six-way power driver’s seat, and an improved NissanConnect infotainment system. The car’s steering and suspension systems have also been returned for better handling while a new CVT with simulated gear shifts replaces the old unit in the pre-refresh Sentra. Additionally, active safety features such as forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and adaptive cruise control are now available as options in the 2016 Nissan Sentra.