2017 Nissan Sentra SR Turbo: Safe and Dull Turns Quick and Fun

The Sentra is a stalwart member of the Nissan family. Simple and reliable, it’s a sensible, entry-level buy-in for shoppers looking for their first car or for basic transport.

But, very few drivers would associate driving a Sentra with fun. That’s just not what they were for since the design stage.

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Nissan looks to change that perception of the Sentra with at least one of the car’s variations. The new Sentra SR Turbo adds a bit pep and sportiness to the standard car, while managing to keep the vehicle’s overall price within easy reach of the average consumer.

At the heart of this new breed of Sentra is a 1.6 liter Direct Injection Gasoline Turbocharged Engine – a step up from the standard Sentra motor. The turbo unit puts out 188 horsepower and 177 ft. lb. of torque to create car with extra quickness for urban drive situations.

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Now, this Sentra Turbo is not fast. It’s not engineered for straight-line speed. Nissan isn’t in a rush to put out 0-60 mpg times. The idea here is to give otherwise sensible Sentra buyers the option of purchasing just an extra injection of entertainment in their daily drive. In keeping with modern performance cars (even if this Sentra isn’t exactly that ambitious), there are Eco, Normal and Sport driving modes.

If those buyers are well and truly fans of genuine driving, there’s even a manual gearbox to accompany the turbocharged power plant. Whether the owner properly opts for the manual or goes disappointedly traditional and opts for the automatic Xtronic Continuously Variable Transmission, the price holds around $21,990.

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Inside, the same features that attract buyers to the standard Sentra apply to the turbo version. The car is roomy and comfortable as anything else in its class. The build quality is solid enough for car under $25,000. Sight lines are good, and the interior options are adequate, if understated.

Other interior features keep the Sentra Turbo competitive in class. Buyers get heated front seats, a five inch infotainment color display, rear back-up camera, Bluetooth streaming audio and optional satellite radio. Finally, give Nissan points for throwing in a leather wrapped steering wheel inspired by the automaker’s famed 370Z.

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The driving experience is on the rails with expectations. It moves well enough at freeway speeds and rides on comfortable suspension on road or highway. But, the extra kick the driver gets in traffic situations or at stoplights gives the Sentra Turbo that little additional taste of entertainment above and beyond it’s traditional sister.

Sometimes, that extra taste is all a driver needs to turn a commute into a smile.