2016 Nissan Sentra: Updated Design and New Technology

2016 Nissan Sentra
Nissan Sentra design sketch.

Is 2016 the year of the sedan?

According to Nissan, this is the year of the sedan. If that’s true, then the 2016 Nissan Sentra is an overachiever.

Nissan Sentra, the company’s third best-selling vehicle (behind Altima and Rogue) has earned its kudos.

The compact sedan has been around for over 30 years and seven generations. Furthermore, the United States has sold over four million Nissan Sentra’s and more than 93 percent of Sentra’s sold in the last ten years are still on the road today.

Since the latest generation 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.

2016 Nissan Sentra

Chief Designer,Ueda, uses tape to show design changes for 2016 Nissan Sentra. Photo by Holly Reiss for AGirlsGuidetoCars.

The 2016 Nissan Sentra gets a facelift

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,” said Tony Baehner, Senior Manager, Cross Carline Product Planning at Nissan North America.

But here’s the kicker: the Sentra S 6-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 Warning, and Rear Cross Traffic Alert and the car is still  priced under $20,000.

“Marketing for the new Sentra will focus on its technology, value, and design,” said Dan Passe, Sr. Nissan Brand Communications, noting that Sentra buyers have skewed towards women.

Nissan Sentra At A California Farm Stand

Holly & Tara hanging out with the 2016 Nissan Sentra. Photo by Holly Reich for AGirlsGuidetoCars.

Exploring Southern California in the 2016 Nissan Sentra

At a 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 Farm’s 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 was designed by Carl Lindbom, also the designer of La Casa Pacifica (the former Western White House).  Located on a cliff overlooking the Pacific, the Spanish Colonial home 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 away the afternoon in a car so quiet that you could hear a cellphone drop in the back seat.

2016 Nissan Sentra

Nissan Sentra sketch by designer Taro Ueda.

Behind the scenes with the 2016 Nissan Sentra design team

To design the new Sentra, Nissan’s California studio worked collaboratively with Global Nissan Design. The global group consists of centers in Atsugi and Tokyo, Japan; Beijing, China; La Jolla, Calif.; Rio de Janerio, Brazil, and London, England.

“The team of designers is made up of 60 people from sixteen nations,” explained Taro Ueda, Vice President, Nissan Design America.

“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 Dan Passe.

At the reveal in California, Taro demonstrated the design changes for the compact sedan by applying blue masking tape to the vehicle. He pointed out the sportier grille, bomerang-shaped headlights and the dramatic lines punctuated with chrome door handles and window accents.

After driving the Sentra, I sat down with Taro to find out more about the new design and features:

Where do you get your inspiration?

Taro says fashion, the latest technology gadgets and computer tablets all inspire him. “But a lot of our inspiration comes from nature, animals, insects, and fish. Fish come in such unusual shapes,” he added.

Taro has been based in California for four years, with his wife and teenage son and says it’s an amazing area to live, but “the toughest part is that you must drive so much.”

But driving the new Sentra makes that task easier.

2016 Nissan Sentra

Nissan Sentra 2016 has increased interior space. Photo by Holly Reich for AGirlsGuidetoCars.

What we loved:

  • Interior room has been increased to 111.0 cubic feet; the trunk has 15.1 cubic feet. The 2016 Sentra SR offers a sportier appearance, with unique design 17-inch forked 5-spoke
  • 2016 Sentra SR has buff looking 17-inch forked 5-spoke aluminum-alloy wheels, lower body side sill extensions, a rear spoiler with integrated LED brake lights, and chrome exhaust tip finisher.

What you need to know:

  • Siri Eyes Free Voice Recognition lets you stay connected safely.
  • NissanConnect Services: Among other technology it offers emergency preparedness and remote access, The system allows the driver to set customized alerts for family and friends – such as speed, curfew and boundary notifications
  • Base price: $16,780

Disclosure: Travel and accommodations were provided by Nissan; opinions expressed here are all my own.

Holly has written about travel, cars, culture and health since she bought the first generation Macintosh. Her portfolio includes... More about Holly Reich