From all the talk about the 2016 Nissan Sentra getting its groove back, there was one conspicuously missing piece in the puzzle. The long-rumored NISMO Sentra is still nowhere to be found, and it’s up to you readers to push for its production.
OK, Nissan is looking at more than Carscoops readers for a reason to make a NISMO compact sedan exist. But in conversations with various company officials at the launch of the 2016 Sentra last week, a production version of the concept NISMO Sentra seen way back at the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show depends largely on how badly people with checkbooks lobby for it.
A NISMO Sentra gives Nissan number crunchers pause for two main reasons. First, the current Sentra’s goal has little to do with performance (something a drive in the new one validates). But a larger psychological hurdle remains that there is yet to be a NISMO-branded sedan in the U.S. lineup. A NISMO Sentra has to overcome the idea the fact the Sentra is sensible transportation that doesn’t major in “fun.”
But a NISMO sedan might allow the Sentra to occupy the niche the much-missed SE-R once held in the early ’90s – the sleeper hot “hatch.” This SE-R is revered for its engine and handling, but it’s essentially based on a two-door Sentra sedan. Unless you knew what those three letters meant when added to “Sentra,” you wouldn’t know what you were following. Among the Focus STs, Civic Sis and Jetta GLIs of the compact realm, a NISMO Sentra makes sense.
NISMO is doing good things to the Juke, which is a relatively mainstream product in Nissan’s stable, alien looks aside. As more buyers shift attention to crossovers, compact sedans need to go above and beyond to get attention and sales. Adding some dash to the Sentra is a good start.
Start writing your letters, everyone.