With the SR Turbo being the new kid on the block, it comes with some well-deserved appearance upgrades.
It’s been around for 35 years now, and the latest generation of the Nissan Sentra follows a long line of affordable, reliable compact cars. The B17 Sentra was released to us back in 2013, and more recently it received a mid-cycle refresh in 2016 (reviewed here), with minor updates inside and out. For 2017, we’re being treated with something completely new, something with more character.
We had the SR, and now we have this 2017 Nissan Sentra SR Turbo, which just so happens to be the first turbocharged Sentra ever made. This is good news for people looking for a something a little more exciting while shopping for a compact on a budget. So what does this new SR Turbo variant of the Sentra translate to?
Well first and foremost, the power makes a considerable jump when compared to the rest of the Sentra lineup – in fact, it pushes out nearly 50% more power than any of the other models. While the others receive a 1.8L four-cylinder engine with 130 horsepower, the SR Turbo decreases displacement just a smidge with a 1.6L four-cylinder. Thanks to an added turbocharger and intercooler, this car produces 188 horsepower at 5,600RPM, and 177 lb-ft. of torque anywhere between 1,600 RPM and 5,200RPM. This is the same motor seen in Nissan’s Juke (reviewed here).
There’s even more good news! For those more interested in rowing through their own gears, the SR Turbo is made available with both Nissan’s Xtronic CVT transmission, and a six-speed manual. Aside from the absolute base model Sentra, and the upcoming NISMO, this is the only variant that offers both transmissions. The base price for the standard manual model is $21,598, while the SR Turbo with CVT starts at $22,898. While there are no paddles to shift through gears, drivers can change through the simulated gears using the shifter on the centre console.
Our tester was fitted with the Xtronic CVT, and what’s interesting about this CVT is that it doesn’t act like a conventional CVT. When putting the accelerator to the floor, the engine doesn’t relentlessly hold high revs until you let off the accelerator, instead simulating gear shifts by playing with the revs by briefly dropping power from time to time. While this offers some feeling of jumping gears, it’s simply not as satisfying as the real thing.
Thanks to the upgraded engine, this car does command premium fuel at the pumps for optimal performance. This comes to no surprise as most sport compact performance cars require an upgrade in fuel quality to maintain performance and certain engine components in the long term. Nissan rates this car at 8.9L/100km city and 7.3L/100km highway, yet during our time with the car the average sat around 7.3L/100km with mostly city driving.
Other factors that differentiate the SR Turbo from the standard SR Sentra include larger brakes. While the base model Sentra S has disc brakes up front with drum brakes around back, the other higher trim models receive in disc brakes all around. The SR Turbo sports 11.7-inch rotors at the front compared to 11-inch rotors on other models, while the rear brakes remain the same as other models with discs. The front brakes are internally ventilated with twin piston calipers, while the rears are single piston callipers only.
As far as looks go, the Sentra (reviewed here) had been refreshed back in 2016, though with the SR Turbo being the new kid on the block, it comes with some well-deserved appearance upgrades. It offers the signature V-Motion grill, with LED accent lighting and LED projector low beam headlights and halogen high beams. Bits that are unique to the SR Turbo include more prominent side skirts and a lip spoiler on the trunk lid.
The exhaust doesn’t offer much more engine noise, which is a disappointment especially when under acceleration, as most of the noise heard comes from the engine compartment and is more mechanical than musical note. One final design element exclusive to the SR Turbo are the 17” alloy wheels, featuring a two-tone style, with a polished aluminum face and dark grey painted inlays. What’s cool about these wheels is that the painted section of the rims feature a wavy texture, something not typically seen on rims of any kind.
The interior of the car remains rather familiar, considering this car has been around since 2013. What did change with the 2016 refresh is the addition of the current three-spoke steering wheel that looks sharp. The presence of good old-fashioned tactile controls for infotainment and climate is a nice change we found quite refreshing. Where most manufacturers are adopting touch-based technology to keep up with tech trends, nothing beats the certainty of functional knobs and buttons. Auxiliary and USB ports can be found in the centre console storage compartment.
Our tester came equipped with the SR Premium Package, a $3,400 option which adds a cluster of premium luxuries to the Sentra SR Turbo. A power moonroof brightens up the cabin nicely, while the NissanConnect system with navigation is also a welcomed upgrade. The standard cloth seats are upgraded to a leatherette material, while the driver’s seat receives six-way power adjustable settings with 2-way power lumbar. An upgraded Bose Premium audio system fills the cabin with waves of clear sounds sure that be enjoyed by everyone onboard. Safety features included are a Blind Spot Warning (BSW) system and Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) system.
Heated seats come standard on both leather and cloth seat packages, while a remote smart key entry system and pushbutton start come standard on both manual and automatic vehicles. Our tester, dressed in Gun Metallic paint, comes with an as tested price of $26,410, thanks to the added Premium Package. One thing worth mentioning is that those over 6’3 may find the interior a bit too cramped, so a test fit is encouraged. While the 2017 Nissan Sentra SR Turbo is definitely a great addition to the punchy compact lineup, it needs a few significant improvements before it can play with the big boys like the new Honda Civic or Hyundai Elantra Sport (reviewed here).