Spy photographers captured the 2013 Nissan Sentra in a parking lot, during the night, with no camo and a taped-up Nissan badge.
Nissan just announced that the new Sentra will be built in Canton, Mississippi [in addition to Mexico] in order to meet the high demand anticipated when the 2013 Sentra goes on sale in the fourth quarter of this year.
Studying the spy shots, we see a familiar exterior design likened to a baby 2013 Altima. Proportions are balanced front and back, with a shape slippery enough to greatly assist its engine to work less at higher speeds.
The model shown here is likely an SL trim level as hinted at by the integrated fog lights, body-color side mirrors with integrated turn signal repeaters, and what appear to be LEDs integrated into the base of the headlamp assembly. LED daytime running lights are standard on virtually all luxury vehicles today, now beginning to filter down to the non-luxury models; this is a first for Sentra’s non-premium compact segment, however.
The chrome door handles and window trim we assume will be standard as they are on the 2013 Altima, along with the chrome garnish on the rear trunk lid. What will most likely not be standard are the LED taillights, another rare feature for this class. Other than a top trim Mazda3, the Sentra will probably be the only other vehicle offering diodes [as opposed to incandescent bulbs] on higher trim levels.
We see interior wood trim, another hint that this is a top trim model, and we also see a cap over where the key ignition belongs on the steering column. Intelligent Key with push-button start will therefore most likely not be standard [as it is on the Altima].
Because Nissan’s new “Easy Fill Tire Alert System” utilizes the sensors of the Intelligent Key system in the doors in order to locate where each tire is on the vehicle, we presume it will therefore only be available on higher trim levels.
NissanConnect, Nissan's media and connectivity system for smartphones is also expected to be available on the 2013 Sentra.
Based upon what we learned about the new Altima, we expect a revised CVT and engine with reduced internal component friction, reduced vehicle weight through the use of lighter but higher tensile strength metals, and possibly low rolling resistance tires. If the 2013 Altima earns 38 MPG on the highway, then the Sentra should easily earn over 40 MPG, an impressive feat in a segment of "eco" packages adding cost to the base price.
theCD's take: If all speculation verifies, then this will be as good as it gets for the compact class in the 2013 model year. The 2013 Sentra would combine luxurious design elements with what we expect to be class-leading fuel economy, priced near the current model’s $16,400. Stay tuned for more details as the Sentra will likely be revealed at the 2012 LA Auto Show.
Photos via Autoblog