2016 Nissan Sentra Shows Off Updated Design and New Technology
According to Nissan, this is the year of the sedan. If that’s true, then the 2016 Nissan Sentra is an overachiever. Nissan’s third best-selling vehicle -- behind Altima and Rogue -- has earned its scores.
The compact sedan has been around for more than 30 years and seven generations. Furthermore, the United States has sold over four million Sentras and more than 93 percent of Sentras sold in the last ten years still on the road today. Since the latest generation was introduced in fall 2012, Sentra has become one of Nissan's fastest-growing brands and has been IHS TOP safety pick the second year in a row.
The 2016 Nissan Sentra is showing up better than ever with a full-on face lift and technology that includes the ability to send text messages from your steering wheel. “We changed 20% of Sentra with over 550 components and added in significant improvements including Apple SIRI eyes free,” notes Tony Baehner, Senior Manager, Cross Carline Product Planning at Nissan North America.
But here’s the kicker! The Sentra S six-speed manual has a starting price of $16,780. Take it up a notch with the Sentra SV equipped with NissanConnect (Navigation and Mobile Apps), Blind Spot Warming, and Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and it will be priced below $20,000.
“Marketing for the new Sentra will focus on technology, value, and design,” said Dan Passe, Sr. Nissan Brand Communications, noting that Sentra buyers have skewed towards women.
At the preview of the 2016 Sentra in Southern California, we spent a busy day in the sedan, exploring what a couple (or family) could do in the area. Our adventure started at our hotel, The Resort at Pelican Hill on Newport Coast, and continued to Balboa Island for a taste of the world-famous Balboa bar and frozen chocolate-covered bananas dipped in pecans. We visited one of Manassero Farms organic markets, where you can pick fragrant herbs, or choose from a potpourri of bright fruits and vegetables.
Following lunch at Ramos House Café in San Juan Capistrano, we pulled into Casa Romantica, the historic residence of Ole Hanson, the founder of San Clemente. Hanson built the estate in 1927 as a family home. The seven-bedroom, seven-bath house designed by Carl Lindbom, also the designer of La Casa Pacifica (the former Western White House). The Spanish Colonial home, located on a cliff over the Pacific, is a maze of courtyards and stunning vistas, gorgeous tiles and woodwork, and exquisite craftsmanship that includes moldings finished with 24-carat gold leaf.
The Sentra proved its weight in gold. We executed a seamless U-turn in the crowded streets of Balboa, accelerated on the highways with nimble ease, and talked the afternoon away in a car so quiet that you could hear a cell phone drop in the back seat.
Global Nissan Design consists of centers in Atsugi and Tokyo, Japan; Beijing, China; La Jolla, Calif.; Rio de Janerio, Brazil; and London, England. “The entire team has designers 60 people from sixteen nations,” explained Taro Ueda, Vice President, Nissan Design America.
In designing the new Sentra, the California studio, Ueda's base, worked collaboratively with the other markets for feedback and direction. “NDA (Nissan Design America) was the co-creator of the “v-motion” design language (as lead group for Murano and Maxima), and assisted in applying this design language to the refreshed Sentra,” said Passe.
At the reveal in California, Ueda demonstrated the design changes for the compact sedan by applying blue masking tape to the vehicle. He pointed out the dramatic lines (punctuated with chrome door handles and window accents), the sportier grille, and the boomerang-shaped headlights.
Holly Reich: Where do you get your inspiration?
Taro Ueda: Fashion, latest technology gadgets, computer tablets. But a lot of our inspiration comes from nature, animals, insects, and fish. Fish come in such unusual shapes.
HR: What clothing designers do you like?
TR: I’m a basic guy. I like Paul Smith, Ralph Lauren, Puma sneakers.
HR: What are the visuals that show us that a Nissan is a Nissan?
TR: We are working on the front V motion with the lamps on the side, dynamic surfaces, and big design.
HR: What do you do for pleasure?
TR: I like sightseeing in California and all over the US. I like mountain biking and walking on the beach to feel the atmosphere from the waves.
HR: What’s your music preference?
TR: 80-90’s rock, 80s on 8 is my favorite station
HR: How is your residence in California furnished?
TR: My home was built in 1917. It’s old, but it has wide windows inside. I have a big table for gathering… one that we can leave books and work on.
HR: How do you like California?
TR: I’ve been living here for four years (with his wife and teenage son) and it’s an amazing area to live in. The toughest part is that you must drive so much.
HR: What do you think of the American lifestyle vs. Japanese lifestyle?
TR: In the US, there are a lot of cultures. People are happy, and they don’t worry about small things. Japan is much safer and friendlier, but people care more about details. The Japanese society is more serious.
HR: What's on your bedside table?
TR: I have a book, magazine, pen, and memo.
HR: Do you draw or write down ideas?
TR: If I find a good idea, I draw it first.
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by Holly Reich
HOLLY REICH is a regular contributor to AskPatty and has been writing about automotive and travel since 1982. She has reported on the automotive industry for television and radio broadcast stations including; Fox News, SPEED, Car TV and Autolab. Reich has also contributed to publications such as RIDES, Edmunds.com, kbb.com, Elite Traveler, automotiverhythms.com, The New York Daily News and The Washington Post. Holly is based in New York City.