Cars

The Worst Nissan Sentra Model Year You Should Never Buy

To help fellow car enthusiasts, we often feature stories about problematic years for various vehicle models. It, of course, doesn’t mean one is better or worse. Instead, it’s intended to highlight which model years proved to be the most expensive to own, repair, or maintain. If you find yourself on the lookout for a used Nissan Sentra, there is one year you probably should never buy. We did the homework for you to help you steer clear of the worst-rated Sentra of all time.

What the Nissan Sentra gets right

The 2019 Nissan Sentra at the Chicago Auto Show
The Nissan Sentra | Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

Since its launch in 1982, the Nissan Sentra has been a great entry-level vehicle for the Japanese brand. Redesigned for 2020 and jam-packed with standard safety features, this sedan is keeping up with the pack. It’s not a brand that boasts luxury sport performance or incredible fuel efficiency specifically, but it does satisfy the consumer expectations for each category.

Buy a new Nissan Sentra, and you’ll enjoy a comfortable 149 hp and 2.0L inline-four under the hood. You’ll have a seven-inch touchscreen, roomy back seats, and three trim levels from which to choose (S, SV & SR). What you might find most attractive is the price tag. The Nissan Sentra offers a starting MSRP of $20,015. But, if you’re more interested in buying a pre-owned model, there are a few historical issues you should know.

The model year with the most complaints

If you have your eye on a pre-owned Sentra within the 2013-2017 model range, you may want to do some additional homework before you buy. According to documented complaints, recalls, and repairs with Car Complaints, this range of years proved to be problematic for Sentra.

The most complaints logged were in regards to CVT transmission failures with 2013 models specifically. There were so many issues, in fact, a class-action lawsuit launched in 2019 to help consumers recoup some of those maintenance and replacement costs. Unfortunately, many consumers were unable to participate due to the mileage and ownership constraints outlined in the settlement efforts.

Considering the sheer volume of transmission concerns for 2013, there is actually one year that Car Complaints says is the worst year ever, warning consumers never to buy.

Never buy this model year

While you exercise caution when looking at a Nissan Sentra within the 2013-2017 model years, it’s probably a good idea to completely stay away from 2014 altogether. According to CarComplaints.com, Sentra owners of this model year experienced more problems at higher costs to repair.

Citing poor CVT response, pulsing and vibrating at stops, and transmission failures in general, it’s almost as if Nissan tripped out of the gate with this model. Average repair costs start in the $3,500-$4,000 range, hitting those owners with hefty bills to pay. Many of these issues also began presenting at lower mileages, sparking furious reactions. 

Do your research when buying used

It may be best to play your hand smart and avoid those 2013-2014 Nissan Sentra models. That’s not to say every model that year presented issues, nor does it mean the particular pre-owned sedan you have in mind is going to have the same problems. As with any used car purchase, do your best to ask the right questions. Request proof of repairs and replacements along the way. Consider reviewing a vehicle history report as well. Using the documented reports of trusted sources like Car Complaints can help you avoid common ownership pitfalls, too.

The Nissan Sentra is a great sedan, both used and new. There are plenty of positive reviews about ownership and the overall cost of ownership. However, it may be in your best buying interest to avoid those few model years that make the shortlist of ‘never buy.’ Your wallet will love you for it in the end.