It also means the new CVT design can deliver a higher gear ratio of 7.3-to-1, which is better than seven-speed automatics and currently the highest ratio of any automatic transmission in the world.
See, I told you it was geeky.
All that engineering effort results in better gas mileage and a more responsive feel when you stomp on the accelerator. It's a good fit for the fun-to-drive Sentra, with its sporty suspension and tossable, lightweight impression in curves.
Despite the new Sentra being considerably bigger than the old one, it weighs 150 pounds less now. The lightweight construction, along with the fresh CVT design, contribute to a big jump in gas mileage.
Highway fuel economy is rated up to 40 mpg in the Sentra FE+ model, while ordinary Sentras with the CVT are rated at 39 mpg on the highway and 30 in city driving.
Combined fuel economy is 34 mpg, which Nissan claims leads the Sentra's class.
Everything about the cabin has moved upscale — materials, technology and spaciousness — with one exception: the size of the digital screen on the center stack. Its 5.8-inch size is a bit small for a freshly redesigned car.
Pricing starts at $15,990 with a manual transmission or $16,990 with the CVT.
Derek Price is an automotive columnist for CNHI News Service. Contact him at email@example.com.