Nissan's Sentra belongs in a small car segment that has recently been undercut by a set of even smaller cars, including Nissan's own Versa. The current Sentra got its most recent update in 2006, but cabin tech improvements make it a reasonable car for 2010.

Updated:Caption:Photo:James Martin/CNET
1
of 12

The Sentra employs tame, unoffensive styling. From the sides and rear, it looks generic, but some unique Nissan design comes through in the flat-sided front fenders.

Updated:Caption:Photo:James Martin/CNET
2
of 12

The 2-liter engine powering the Sentra makes 140 horsepower, while getting 26 mpg city and 34 mpg highway.

Updated:Caption:Photo:James Martin/CNET
3
of 12

The high roofline of the Sentra affords good headroom in the cabin.

Updated:Caption:Photo:James Martin/CNET
4
of 12

The ride quality is unremarkable, fairly typical for a small car in this segment. The Sentra uses disc brakes on the front wheels and drums in back.

Updated:Caption:Photo:James Martin/CNET
5
of 12

The Sentra's trunk is on the large side, capable of holding three golf bags. A convenient cargo net keeps groceries upright.

Updated:Caption:Photo:James Martin/CNET
6
of 12

Nissan kept the Sentra's cabin tech updated with a Bluetooth hands-free phone system and iPod compatibility, but a navigation system is only available as an option at the top trim.

Updated:Caption:Photo:James Martin/CNET
7
of 12

Nissan includes good audio, voice, and cruise control buttons on the steering wheel.

Updated:Caption:Photo:James Martin/CNET
8
of 12

A digital gauge in the instrument cluster shows temperature, fuel level, and trip information.

Updated:Caption:Photo:James Martin/CNET
9
of 12

Nissan mates the 2-liter four-cylinder engine to a continuously variable transmission, in our opinion a much better choice than a fixed-gear automatic transmission.

Updated:Caption:Photo:James Martin/CNET
10
of 12

The iPod connectivity lets you access album, artist, and track lists through the car's stereo, but the design is poor, forcing much button pushing to select music.

Updated:Caption:Photo:James Martin/CNET
11
of 12

The Sentra's Bluetooth hands-free phone system is excellent, letting you dial by name with voice command.

Updated:Caption:Photo:James Martin/CNET
12
of 12
Up Next

Six generations of the Ford Mustang (pictures)