2012 Nissan Sentra

MSRP $16,430 - $20,990

Ranked #8 in Sedan

7.5

Overall Rating

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2012 Nissan Sentra Price, Review, Ratings and Pictures

Updated on: October 14, 2021

Nathan Dyer's image
Nathan Dyer 

Senior Editor


Nissan is known to make excellent and value for money vehicles with a proven track record and a brilliant portfolio of vehicles. Being a brand that took the world by storm with the fabulous GT-R, its expertise in making well-engineered cars is not surprising. The brand launched the car in 1982 as a subcompact car but it got promoted to a compact car gradually.

2012 Nissan Sentra Latest Updates

  • Nov' 16, 2021 : 2022 Nissan Sentra Pricing Announced; Adds New Midnight Edition Read More »
See detailed review »

Pros

Spacious cabin

Comfortable seats

User-friendly control layouts

Cons

Dated design

Harsh ride quality

Excessive droning from CVT

What's New?

No changes


Features

vehicle bio

base price

$16430

bodystyle

4dr Sedan

passenger capacity

5

drivetrain

front wheel drive

engine type

displacement

122 cu.in.

horsepower

140 hp @ 5100 rpm

torque

147 lb.-ft. @ 4800 rpm

transmission

6 speed manual w/OD

chassis

suspension front

Independent front strut suspension w/anti-roll bar

suspension rear

Semi-independent rear torsion beam suspension w/anti-roll bar

dimensions

wheelbase

105.7 in.

length

179.8 in.

width

70.5 in.

height

59.5 in.

curb weight

2906 lbs.

ground clearance

7.3 in.

capacity

passenger volume

97.4 cu ft.

cargo volume

13.1 cu ft.

towing capacity

1000 lbs.

payload capacity

900 lbs.

performance

zero to 60 mph

8.8 sec.

standing 1/4-mile

15.5 sec.

fuel economy

city/combined/highway

24/27/31 mpg

highway range

449.5 mi.

warranty

basic warranty

3 yr./ 36000 mi.

drivetrain warranty

5 yr./ 60000 mi.

powertrain warranty

5 yr./ 60,000 mi.

corrosion warranty

5 yr./ unlimited mi.

roadside assistance

Yes


Pictures & Videos


Trims

Base$16,430 onwards

S$18,360 onwards

SR$18,360 onwards

SL$19,760 onwards

SE-R$20,490 onwards

SE-R Spec V$20,990 onwards

Colors and Styles

2012 Nissan Sentra in Aspen White color
Aspen White

Vehicle images are guides only and may not reflect the model's exact specifications/features– exact specifications/features should be confirmed with the seller.

Ratings

Pricing and Feature

9.0

Features

7.5

Engine and Performance

7.0

Fuel Economy

7.0

Interior

9.0

Exterior

8.0

Safety

7.0

Competition

6.0

7.5

OVERALL RATING

Expert Review, Pricing Analysis and Buying Guide

7.5

Overall Rating


For the 2012 model year, the sedan comes with no significant changes and thus, is the oldest and most outdated offering in the segment. The base price for the Sentra is set at $16,430 while the top-end SE-R Spec V is priced at $20,990 which is well within the affordable price range. The sedan gets two engine options and two transmission options. In the segment, the car competes against the Chevrolet Cruze, Ford Focus, and the Hyundai Elantra.


7.5/10
Features

7.0/10
Engine and Performance

7.0/10
Fuel Economy

9.0/10
Interior

8.0/10
Exterior

7.0/10
Safety


2012 Nissan Sentra Features

7.5/10

The 2012 Nissan Sentra is available in a total of six trim levels. The sedan gets two powertrain options and two transmission options. The CVT is standard in almost all the trims except for the base trim. The SE-R and the SE-R Spec V are performance-oriented trims hence get the bigger 2.5-liter motor and performance-oriented tunings such as firm suspension setup with lower ride height and aero body kit. The top-end SE-R Spec V trim even gets sportier interior trims as well. There are some additional packages to better equip the car such as a Convenience package, Audio package, and Technology package among others.

Trim

2.0

2.0 S

2.0 SR

2.0 SL

SE-R

SE-R Spec V

MSRP

$16,430(manual)

$17,610(CVT)

$18,360

$18,360

$19,760

$20,490

$20,990

Key Features

15-inch Steel Wheels

16-inch steel wheels

16-inch alloy wheels

Leather-wrapped steering wheel

17-inch alloy wheels

Increased power output from the motor

 

Power windows and locks

Power-adjustable mirrors

Rear spoiler

Keyless entry/ignition

Performance-oriented suspension tuning,

High-performance tires

 

60/40-split-folding rear seats

Height-adjustable driver seat

Foglamps

Bluetooth

Aero-style body kit

Firmer suspension with a reduced ride height

 

Keyless entry

Cruise control

Side sill extensions

Satellite radio

Cloth sport seats

Sportier interior trim

 

Tilt-adjustable steering wheel

Remote keyless entry

Distinctive front and rear fascias

 

 

Larger front brakes than the rest of the trims

 

Four-speaker sound system with a CD player

Six-speaker CD/MP3 audio system

 

 

 

 

 

 

iPod interface

 

 

 

 

We recommend

We would recommend the SR trim for a good experience with the sedan since the base trim is too bare-bones for anyone’s liking. The Nissan Sentra SL would be a nice option if you desire to have more features.

2012 Nissan Sentra Engine and Performance

7.0/10

The 2012 Nissan Sentra gets a 2.0-liter MR20DE naturally aspirated I-4 motor as standard. The motor dishes out a maximum of 140 horsepower and 147 lb-ft of maximum torque. The power and torque figures are decent for the segment but the CVT’s droning while accelerating makes things less favorable even for regular drivers. The power is transferred to the front wheels only and the layout remains the same even for the top-end SE-R Spec V trim as well. The ride quality of the sedan over smooth roads is seamless but rough tarmac conditions unsettle the car pretty quickly and the ride turns into a harsh one. Handling is nothing praiseworthy either in the non-Spec V models and entering a corner at high speeds is absolutely a no-no in this car.

Model

Nissan Sentra

Chevrolet Cruze

Ford Focus

Hyundai Elantra

MSRP

$16,430

$16,800

$16,500

$16,120

Engine

Gas I-4 2.0L

Gas I-4 1.8L

Gas I-4 2.0L

Gas 1.8L I-4

Drivetrain

FWD

FWD

FWD

FWD

Transmission

6-speed Manual

6-speed Manual

6-speed Manual

6-speed manual

Power

140hp@5100rpm

138hp@6300rpm

160hp@6500rpm

148 hp @ 6,500 rpm

Torque

147lb-ft@4800rpm

125lb-ft@3800rpm

146lb-ft@4450rpm

131 lb-ft @ 4,700 rpm

0-60 mph (seconds)

9.9

8.1

8.0

8.2

Quarter-mile (mph)

17.6

16.2

16.2

16.5

Top Speed (mph)

120

130

138

130

The Chevrolet Cruze gets a slightly smaller 1.8-liter motor and makes lesser power and torque than the Sentra but its brilliant manual transmission allows for an enjoyable driving experience and quicker acceleration times. The Ford Focus generates more power from its 2.0-liter motor but 1 lb-ft less than the Sentra yet it is quicker than the latter. The Hyundai Elantra also gets a 1.8-liter motor like the Cruze and puts out more power than the Sentra and is quicker too.

2012 Nissan Sentra Fuel Economy

7.0/10

The Nissan Sentra disappoints in the fuel economy department like its performance. Despite being lethargic in delivering power the EPA ratings are sub-par as per the segment. The city mileage is rated at 24mpg while the high mileage is rated at 30mpg. The combined mileage is rated at 26mpg.

Model

Nissan Sentra

Chevrolet Cruze

Ford Focus

Hyundai Elantra

MPG (City) (mpg)

24

26

27

28

MPG (Highway) (mpg)

30

36

37

38

MPG (Combined) (mpg)

26

30

31

32

Fuel Capacity (gallon)

14.5

15.6

12.4

12.8

The Chevrolet Cruze takes advantage of its smaller powertrain and lowers power output to deliver impressive city and highway mileage ratings. The Ford Focus is even more fuel-efficient than the Cruze but disappoints with its small 12.4 gallons gas tank. The Hyundai Elantra leaves the Sentra in the dust with its segment-leading fuel economy ratings but it also gets bogged down by a small 12.8 gallons gas tank as well like the Focus.

2012 Nissan Sentra Interior

9.0/10

The 2012 Nissan Sentra interior space is perhaps the only thing that has kept this aging contender in the segment alive. It has a roomy cabin with comfortable seats and a bland design to say the least. The controls are super easy to understand and their layout is quite user-friendly too. There are hard plastics everywhere but the silver accents give a somewhat acceptable taste. The dashboard design is acceptable with a unique dash-mounted gear selector lever. There is more than adequate headroom and legroom for both the front and rear passengers but the cargo capacity is on the lower side as compared to its rivals.

Model

Nissan Sentra

Chevrolet Cruze

Ford Focus

Hyundai Elantra

Seating Capacity

5

5

5

5

Front Row (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in)

40.6/56.9/42.4

39.3/54.8/42.3

38.3/55.6/41.9

40.0 / 55.9 / 43.6

Rear Row (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in)

37.3/55.1/34.5

37.9/53.9/35.4

38.0/53.7/43.7

37.1 / 54.8 / 33.1

Cargo Capacity (cu-ft)

13.1

15.4

13.2

14.8

The Chevrolet Cruze is quite spacious too with a stylish interior design and better fit and finish than the Sentra. It also offers the best cargo space among the rivals here. The Ford Focus has a fresh, stylish, and user-friendly interior design too with more headroom for the rear passengers than the Sentra. The Hyundai Elantra has the most stylish cabin with an intuitive dashboard design and excellent headroom for the front passengers.

Some interior features are:

  • power windows and locks,
  • 60/40-split-folding rear seats
  • Tilt-adjustable steering wheel column
  • cloth upholstery
  • A height-adjustable driver seat
  • Steering wheel mounted controls

How intuitive is the 2012 Nissan Sentra’s infotainment unit?

The infotainment system of the 2012 Nissan Sentra is as basic as it could get when compared to the rivals. The standard features offer a four-speaker sound system with a CD player and auxiliary audio jack. Stepping up to the S trim adds a six-speaker CD/MP3 sound system and an iPod interface. The SR trim, however, offers somewhat pleasing entertainment features such as Bluetooth, an upgraded stereo, satellite radio, and a color display. The additional packages further add some features such as a navigation system and a Rockford Fosgate premium audio system.

Some infotainment system features are:

  • AM/FM Stereo
  • Auxiliary Audio Input
  • CD Player
  • Color display
  • SD Card Reader
  • Satellite Radio
  • USB & Bluetooth

2012 Nissan Sentra Exterior

8.0/10

The 2012 Nissan Sentra exterior has the dullest and boring design in the segment. The front end gets a sleek grille and a square-ish headlamp design. The windscreen is bigger than average which allows for excellent visibility as compared to the rivals. The side profile is neat while the rear end looks extra compact which translates to smaller cargo space. The performance-specced Spec V trims get sportier exterior trims and an aero body kit to accentuate the extra performance it offers.

Model

Nissan Sentra

Chevrolet Cruze

Ford Focus

Hyundai Elantra

Curb Weight (lbs)

2906

3093

2857

2,661

Length (in.)

179.8

181.0

178.5

178.3

Width (in.)

70.5

70.7

71.8

69.9

Height (in.)

59.5

58.1

57.7

56.5

Wheelbase (in.)

105.7

105.7

104.3

106.3

The Chevrolet Cruze has the most aggressive-looking front fascia among the rivals here and has the maximum length too. The Ford Focus gets a decent exterior design language but lacks the sportiness of the Cruze but has the shortest wheelbase as compared to the rivals here. The Hyundai Elantra gets the brand’s new “Fluidic” design language and gets a decently aggressive front end with a smart-looking rear end as well.

Some exterior features are:

  • 15-inch steel wheels
  • Power mirrors
  • Foglamps
  • A rear spoiler
  • Aero-style body kit

2012 Nissan Sentra Safety

7.0/10

The 2012 Nissan Sentra has a decent safety department with a decent list of standard safety features. The NHTSA rated the sedan 4-stars out of 5 while the IIHS gave it the best possible “Good” rating. Some of the standard safety techs include stability control, front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, and active front head restraints.

Safety features:

  • Electronic Stability Control
  • Child Safety Locks
  • Traction Control
  • Emergency Trunk Release
  • 4-Wheel ABS
  • 4-Wheel Disc Brakes
  • Fully equipped airbags

2012 Nissan Sentra Final Verdict

The 2012 Nissan Sentra is an aging competitor in the segment that is in dire need of an upgrade. There are few points that go for it such as a spacious interior, comfortable seats, a decent safety aspect, and a user-friendly cabin. The sedan however lacks standard features and an appealing design along with an aging powertrain. Overall, the rivals such as Chevrolet Cruze or the Ford Focus would be a better option than this sedan.

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