Nissan updated its compact Sentra for the 2013 model year, giving it new styling, refining the drivetrain, and offering some intriguing new cabin electronics.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Wayne Cunningham/CNET

The styling changes include more pronounced fenders and a larger, trapezoidal grille. Nissan also added LED running lights.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Wayne Cunningham/CNET

The 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine makes 130 horsepower and 128 pound-feet of torque. In conjunction with the continuously variable transmission, it gets 30 mpg city and 39 mpg highway.

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The Sentra comes in four trim levels: S, SV, SR, and SL. All use the same engine, but the base level car can be had with a manual transmission.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Wayne Cunningham/CNET

The Sentra's suspension felt like a good compromise between comfort and firmness under normal conditions, but showed heavy load shift when pushed in the turns.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Wayne Cunningham/CNET

Each Sentra model comes standard with cloth seats, but a leather upgrade package is available for $1,030.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Wayne Cunningham/CNET

Nissan claims it offers the most rear-seat legroom than any other compact car competitor.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Wayne Cunningham/CNET

A USB port for iPod integration and a Bluetooth hands-free phone system come standard on the SL model, and are optional on the SV and SR trims.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Wayne Cunningham/CNET

Nissan's newly refined continuously variable transmission achieves a range of drive ratios equivalent to that of a seven-speed automatic transmission.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Wayne Cunningham/CNET

The Navigation package is a $650 option, and includes navigation run from an SD card.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Wayne Cunningham/CNET

One very unique feature on the Sentra is the capability to use a data connection through a smartphone to get points of interest for navigation from Google.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Wayne Cunningham/CNET
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