If you’re in the market for a compact car that offers performance and handling without compromising space for the family, and you can’t quite swing for near $30K price of the Volkswagen GTI
, you might be looking at a Honda Civic Si
. Nissan, however, has an alternative in the form of the Sentra SE-R
|The Sentra SE-R gets blacked-out headlight and taillight clusters, aero add-ons and gunmetal 17-inch alloys. (Photo: Matthieu Lambert/Auto123.com)
There’s no reason to choose a boring transportation appliance when we have kids. Although a minivan or a small SUV would be more practical, nobody’s forcing you to get one if a car is all you want.
The SE-R version of the Sentra looks the part. It distinguishes itself from lesser Sentra trims with its chromeless grille, blacked-out headlight and taillight clusters, squared-off front bumper, side sill extensions, rear spoiler and gunmetal 17-inch alloy wheels. The Spec V variant we’re testing doesn’t get any additional eye candy; the only difference, actually, is W-rated summer performance tires compared to the standard SE-R’s V-rated rubber, which isn’t really visible anyhow.
Despite the sportier design, the Sentra SE-R doesn’t quite draw crowds in shopping mall parking lots, however it does suggest a meaner character while not looking to extroverted.
Inside, the car’s dashboard’s finish and design is acceptable; while it doesn’t really stand apart from its conventional siblings, the straightforward climate controls and switchgear layout is easy to use while driving. And where are the wheel-mounted audio controls?
The sport fabric seats are grippy and include red contrast stitching and SE-R logos knitted in the seatbacks, which adds a little more excitement to the cabin. Interior space is quite good; no other compact sedan beats the Sentra in interior volume, and despite a slight shortcoming in legroom, back-seat occupants benefit from a large bench.
|The sport seats with red contrast stitching add some excitement to the car’s cabin. (Photo: Matthieu Lambert/Auto123.com)