2017 Nissan Sentra Nismo Review: The one we were waiting for

– Los Angeles, California

After seeing countless spy photos of what was expected to be the Sentra Nismo, driving the actual 2017 Nissan Sentra SR Turbo was almost a letdown. Don’t get me wrong, the car’s turbo powertrain and livelier handling make for a very nice, affordable package, but the name Nismo conjures up thoughts of grand performance cars – you know, the 370Z, GT-R, and even Juke Nismo RS models – and the SR Turbo didn’t quite deliver on that premise.

But it turns out the SR Turbo wasn’t the end of the Sentra’s performance transformation, and a Nismo model really was on the way. The Sentra Nismo, introduced this week at the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show and on sale in January 2017, takes things a small but important step forward. You don’t get any extra power from the Juke-sourced, 1.6-liter turbo-four engine, but several handling upgrades finally give the Sentra the ingredients to back up its boosted engine with real driving poise.

 

 

Pros

  • This is a car that actually handles with some verve. There’s no floatiness or squishiness in the new suspension. The Sentra Nismo simply takes one set through a turn and quickly straightens itself up afterward. The ride is firm enough that you feel exactly what’s happening under the tires, but not so much as to be tiring. It’s a very VW Golf GTI ride quality, in fact: taut but not punishing.
  • The retuned electric power steering is a big upgrade over the SR Turbo. It’s precise, with lots of weight that builds progressively as you di...