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2012 Nissan Sentra Consumer Review

Updated on March 26, 2015

The Introduction

Hello, and welcome to my review of the 2012 Nissan Sentra. I have recently purchased one of these vehicles, and I did not find very much by way of consumer reviews. As a matter of fact, I did not find many reviews on the vehicle at all. At the time when we purchased it, the only info I found was and that suggested the Sentra did not stack up well against it's competition. So, I spent a few weeks studying the cars that are in it's class, and decided to go with the Sentra. Now that I have driven it for the first thousand miles, I have a lot to say about this car.


The reviews were wrong!

The 2012 Nissan Sentra is a remarkable sedan with fantastic handling. The 2.0 liter engine that comes standard purrs beautifully as you accelerate up to speed. There is plenty of power for a 4 cylinder vehicle, and the 6-speed transmission that we chose is really fun to drive. I have driven several of the other manufacturer's models in the 2011 variety, and a few of the 2012's. I find this car to be comparable to the Ford Focus, which is a compliment. The Focus is another excellent performer at it's price point, and one that I considered a great bit prior to making this purchase. The difference between the costs ended up being the determining factor, with the base sticker difference of around $2000. We initially considered purchasing the Nissan Versa, but after test driving the vehicle, found it to be too small. The 1.6 that comes Standard in the Versa does not accelerate well, and the CVT transmission is not something that I would recommend. Even with that being so, we still wanted to buy a Nissan. I trust their chain driven engines and aluminum blocks. My previous 1997 Sentra went for 242,000 miles before I sold it, and it was still running. So, after much deliberation, we test drove one of the new Sentra around the lot. It was getting late at that point, so we headed home to think it over.

We shopped for a while.

We took our time to compare prices and deals to see what was available. My fiancé and I were trying to keep our payments on a budget, and simply would not go over a certain number. Most of the dealerships would not put something together that we were interested in. The closest thing I found was a 2010 Altima, but consumer reviews said that car has a known engine problem. After countless hours of searching, we came back to the Sentra.


I am so glad that we did.

So far, the Sentra seems like a great investment. I had the opportunity to take it on a road trip this weekend up through the mountains. The car handled like a dream through 30 plus miles of treacherous mountain side. One turn after another, the traction held true as I pushed it hard through the turns to assess our new purchase. The car accelerated uphill with ease, even going up steep slopes in top gear. I felt comfortable in the cloth seats, and I feel the ride quality is far superior to the Dodge Caliber or Chevy Cruze. There is also very little road noise in this vehicle, which is a complaint that I heard about almost all of the other cars in this class. There are other standard options that I enjoy as well. The gauges are electronic, which may cost me in a few years, but is really cool to look at for right now. There are 2 cup holders in the center console, and they are adjustable. The gear shifter is up on the dash, which gives you the feel of being behind the wheel of a race car. If you look inside the glove box, you will be amazed. There is so much space in there that you simply will not believe it until you see it. The trunk is spacious, and the rear leg room is plentiful. I could go on and on.....


This automobile is a great buy for the money. Yet and still, there are a few draw backs. If you are looking for a luxury car, look somewhere else. The gas mileage is not as good as it could be, and the interior panels leave something to be desired. However, if you are looking for something clean, efficient, and stylish then this year's Sentra might just be for you. The car appears to be another solidly built generation in the Sentra line, and is a vehicle that I do not mind giving 2 thumbs up. Based on my experiences with the two that I have owned, I feel pretty good suggesting any make and model of Sentra that has been taken care of . I have included a few of them in the sidebar if you happen to be shopping for one, and hopefully one of these is exactly what you are looking for. Take a look to see if one of them is right for you.


After driving this car for a while, I wanted to update this review with some additional information. It appears that all of my excitement at the quality of the Nissan Sentra when it was new may have been premature. Even though the car still runs, the internal workings of the engine are beginning to show the weak links in it's armor. As noted by many, the valves in the engine appear to have been designed poorly, causing them to chatter. Apparently, this seems to be standard for 2012 Sentra, Versa, and the Altima. I am not sure how long it will take this poor design to damage the engine, but it sure doesn't sound good. Another aspect of the vehicle that is not up to par is the manual transmission. I test drove one of the automatic when we bought the one we own, and the cvt automatic was more like driving a go cart than a car. So, we decided to go with the standard, which may have been a mistake. The synchronizer is showing signs of wear, along with the clutch. Our Sentra has less than 30,000 miles and has been well maintained. However, it is definitely showing signs of mechanical wear that I don't consider normal. My new assessment is that I would not recommend this car to a friend.


What do you think of the new Sentra?

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      Trent 5 years ago

      Nissan is on its third gen CVT transmission. I just bought a fully loaded SL and the CVT works beautifully and will improve mpg. Unfortunately, only the base model gets the stick but my SL has BT, 8 speaker stereo, leather, Sunroof, nav, backup cam, heated seats, keyless entry and start.. etc.. so the sentra can be a luxury car.. probably more so then any other car in its class.