Nissan uses its Los Angeles auto show stage to debut a refreshed version of its compact car, as well as a specialty version of its smallest CUV.
The Sentra, Nissan’s third-best-selling model in the U.S. behind the Altima midsize sedan and Rogue midsize CUV, gets a changed exterior design, interior updates and tweaked performance.
The C-car now wears the same design language as Nissan’s other sedans, the Altima and large Maxima, including those models’ boomerang-shaped headlights and taillights.
Nissan says the ’16 Sentra’s appearance reflects “a professional character targeted at upwardly bound buyers who aspire to drive something more upscale” than competing models.
The new Sentra, on sale around late December, also gets a new grille, hood and fenders, while the SR and SL grades receive LED low-beam headlights with LED signature accents.
Also new are designs for the 16-in. wheel used on the the SV grade and two 17-in. wheels for SR and SL models.
As the sportiest Sentra, the SR also gets lower body-side sill extensions, a rear spoiler and a chrome exhaust-tip finisher.
Updates to the compact sedan’s interior include a new steering wheel, with a design similar to the Nissan 370Z’s wheel, a revised center-cluster, and a new console, shifter knob and a higher-resolution LCD display.
Now standard on the SL and optional on the SR is a 6-way power driver’s seat with power lumbar.
New technology for ’16 includes NissanConnect Services powered by SiriusXM, which can be customized so drivers receive alerts on family and friends who may be driving their vehicle (alerts can be set for speed, curfew and boundaries) and Siri Eyes Free Voice Recognition.
Newly available safety technologies for the ’16 Sentra are blindspot warning, rear-cross-traffic alert and forward-emergency braking.
The Sentra still uses a 130-hp 1.8L 4-cyl. with Xtronic CVT or, for the S base grade, a 6-speed manual transmission. Nissan has revised the CVT’s D-step logic control for ’16 “to help provide enhanced drivability with a more stable, natural and crisper shift feel.”
The car’s suspension has been retuned with 10% higher spring and damper rates compard with the ’15 model. A new front tunnel stay, similar to the Juke Nismo RS’s, helps enhance body stiffness to limit roll.
Steering feel and response is updated via optimized electric power steering mapping combined with the changed suspension and a new tire design, Nissan says.
The car is available in six grades, S 6MT, S Xtronic, FE + S, SV, SR and SL, with pricing beginning at $16,780 for ’16, not including $825 destination and handling.
The Sentra is the sixth-best-selling model in WardsAuto’s Upper Small car segment through October, behind the Nos.1-5 Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, Chevy Cruze and Ford Focus.
However, of the group only the Corolla, Elantra and Sentra have seen sales rise this year. Sentra deliveries were up 9.7% through October to 169,244.
Juke Stinger Edition $990 Package
Nissan also debuts a specialty version of its Juke small CUV, the limited production black or yellow Stinger Edition.
The vehicles are part of Nissan’s Color Studio, which allows buyers to customize their vehicles with colored wheels, door handles, mirrors and interior accents.
Both models have the same interior, with a yellow center console and yellow upper door panels, plus black seats with yellow stitching.
Black and yellow are two of the most popular Juke colors, Pierre Loing, Nissan North America’s head of product planning, says in a statement.
Buyers opting for a black Stinger Edition get yellow exterior mirror housings, door handles and a rear spoiler, and those choosing a yellow Stinger edition get those same items in black.
The Stinger Edition will be offered as a $990 package on the SV grade of the Juke, ranging from $22,300 to $24,150, beginning in January.
Juke sales through October were down 31.6% from like-2014 to 23,266 units, WardsAuto data shows.