UPDATE: Nissan Sylphy coming in Q2 2008 – Edaran Tan Chong Motor has announced that the new Nissan Sylphy will be available in Q2 2008. Click for more details.

Nissan strikes back with it’s new Sentra which was quietly launched today. It took me pretty much by suprise. I had seen the new Sentra a week or two back when a blog reader Dr. Chai sent a picture to me. Didn’t blog it as there was only one picture. I saw the advertisement in The Star today and I went OMG! New Sentra!

Looks like a facelift to me and not an entirely new model. The current Sentra has already been facelifted twice and this is the third time. Looks like Nissan will lose out a little when the new Civics reach our shores as they only have a facelift while the new Civic is a brand new car.

Anyway let’s check out what Nissan has to offer. The new Sentra has a new grilled and bumper for the front, which brings the look closer to the current Cefiro. The cars feel like a proper family now. The new headlamps have a sharper triangular look, rather than the roundish kind of headlamps on the previous Sentra.

I went over the Nissan Singapore’s site and saw their Sentra had the new grille, but not our headlamps. Nice! These headlamps are called CSR halogen headlamps which have 4 bulbs.

The car also has led signal lamps on the wing mirrors. Kudos to Nissan for paying attention to how everyone were raving over the Myvi’s wing mirrors which had signal lamps on them.

The new Nissan Sentra also comes with an option for a Nismo bodykit which carries a RM2500 premium over the base price.

The car comes in 3 trim levels. SG, SG-L for the 1.6 litre model and XG-L for the 1.8 litre model. The SG has manual and auto options, while the rest are automatic transmission only. The SG trim has 14 inch wheels while the rest has 15 inch wheels. The SG-L improves over the SG with fog lamps, steering wheel audio control, and some more luxurious interior trim. The XG-L comes with even more improvements like a 5-disc CD changer, V-Kool crystal tinting.

The Nissan Sentra 1.8 XG-L is powered by Nissan’s QG18DE engine which makes 128ps at 5600rpm and 164Nm of torque at 4400rpm. The engine also has Nissan’s VTC (Valve timing control) technology. From the dyno graph we can see the torque curve goes pretty high to about 150-160Nm at a low RPM of 2800rpm so highway cruising should be pretty comfortable with the overdrive gear.

The Sentra 1.6 uses the QG16DE which makes 118ps at 6000rpm and 143Nm of torque at 4400rpm.

Fo those concerned with power to weight ratio, the SG weighs 1138kg (manual), 1168kg (auto). The SG-L weighs 1168kg and the XG-L weighs 1188kg.

What about the price?

Nissan Sentra 1.6 SG Manual
RM 93,188.24 Non-Metallic, RM 93,857.04 Metallic

Nissan Sentra 1.6 SG Auto
RM 96,487.94 Non-Metallic, RM 97,156.74 Metallic

Nissan Sentra 1.6 SG-L Auto
RM 102,670.16 Non-Metallic, RM 103,338.96 Metallic

Nissan Sentra 1.8 XG-L Auto
RM 112,967.56 Non-Metallic, RM 113,636.36 Metallic

Nissan also claims the new Nissan Sentra scored 5 out of 5 stars in the Japanese New Car Assessment program and uses this as one of the main marketing points. Another proof that consumers are getting more and more safety-concious these days.

BTW, any of you noticed what I noticed? There is no more 1.5 litre Nissan Sentra. Is Nissan planning to fill in that segment gap with another car to rival the Honda City and Toyota Vios? Singapore has the Nissan Latio which looks pretty much the same concept as the Honda City – practical, fuel economic, lots of space. We can only speculate for the moment.