Sedans & Coupes

The Nissan Sentra Is a Puzzling Used Car Option

The Nissan Sentra is a compelling option to buy if you’re looking for a dependable compact car. The Sentra has earned strong safety and reliability ratings, plus its good on fuel economy too. If you’re thinking about buying a Sentra used, the 2017 model year is among the best to buy. But while the 2017 Sentra is reliable, you may find that its flaws outweigh its strengths.

First, what makes the Nissan Sentra a good used car?

Generally speaking, the Sentra is among the better choices for those looking for an exceptionally affordable car. The Sentra’s lower price point makes it an appealing choice for younger drivers. Furthermore, the Sentra also has a higher three-year-old depreciation rate, making it even more attractive as a used car option, according to iSeeCars.com

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The 2017 Sentra’s safety and reliability ratings

2017 Nissan Sentra is on display at the 109th Annual Chicago Auto Show at McCormick Place
The Nissan Sentra | Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

The Sentra is mostly average when it comes to safety and reliability. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the 2017 Sentra as a Top Safety Pick, its second-highest honor rating. This Nissan earned a four-star crash safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which is OK. 

When it was new, Consumer Reports gave the 2017 Sentra an average predicted reliability score, which can add to drivers’ peace of mind. But on the flip side, you should know that there are two NHTSA safety recalls on the 2017 Sentra. One related to a concern with the Sentra’s airbags. The other potential issue on the Sentra had to do with its ignition. 

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But, you may not enjoy driving the 2017 Sentra 

2017 Nissan Sentra Nismo is on display at the 109th Annual Chicago Auto Show
The Nissan Sentra | Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

The Sentra may seem like a great option to buy used because it’s cheap and has decent reliability ratings. But according to CR, the Sentra has consistently received low owner satisfaction ratings. Based on these ratings, Sentra owners are most satisfied with the sedan’s overall value. Owners also like the Sentra’s styling. However, owners aren’t as happy with how the Sentra drives or with its comfort.

The 2017 Sentra comes with a 1.8-liter, 124-hp four-cylinder engine that often feels underpowered. CR isn’t the biggest fan of the Sentra’s continuously variable transmission because of its lack of refinement. The best thing about the Sentra’s standard engine is its fuel-efficiency; it gets a combined 31 mpg. Unfortunately, though, the Sentra’s standard engine is known to get quite loud. 

If you are looking for a forceful driving experience, you can shop for Sentra SR Turbo models that feature a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 188-hp. The Sentra SR Turbo was new for 2017 and was available with a CVT or six-speed manual transmission. This variant also has a sportier suspension, but it makes the Sentra less comfortable to ride in. 

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So, should you buy a 2017 Sentra?

As we mentioned earlier, the Sentra’s main appeal is its low pricing and overall dependability ratings. However, the Sentra isn’t the most comfortable car, and its loud engine makes driving it less enjoyable. For a more well-rounded compact vehicle, we recommend the Kia Soul or the Honda Civic.