Took a trip to the Las Vegas area this past weekend, and since the weather was said to be turning hotter and neither one of our cars has a working A/C system, it was time to rent a car. Being on short notice, I needed a place that would allow us to pick up the vehicle on Sunday morning and return it Tuesday morning to coincide with my days off. I found that Dollar Rent-A-car was open Saturday and Sunday in Anaheim, which is my home base. Next question: what size car was available? turns out a compact could be rented on such short notice, so I opted for a Nissan Sentra.
The car, a 2012 with just a notch over 40,000 miles on it, was nearly perfect. It had some power options usually found in rental fleet cars, like windows, mirrors, and door locks, and most delightful for my wife, an Arctic-like A/C system. In spite of the near 90 degree desert heat, we never turned it up more than about a quarter of the maximum cool setting. The options worked splendidly, a rarity for rentals at the two-year level.
The seats weren’t the best I ever encountered, but they were adequate, although I would never undertake a trip to, say, Texas in the Sentra. The radio was crisp, clear, and sounded great, featuring the song/station/artist info dial rapidly becoming standard in many new cars and steering wheel controls. Cruise control was accessed by buttons on the right side of the steering wheel. There were plenty of storage pockets and drink holders, and trunk storage was fairly large for such a compact car. The dashboard gauges even featured an outside temperature thermometer.
The Sentra has a 2.0L engine that was always eager to give you an extra burst of power when you needed it. Coupled with the 14.5 gallon fuel tank, it got us to Vegas and back while returning a steady 37.25 miles per gallon, or stated another way, we made the trip to Vegas and beck on only one tank of gas, something I’d never done before. The automatic transmission was flawless and smooth.
My wife fell in love with this car, saying it would be the perfect size for her with the amount of driving she does. She praised the quiet and smooth ride, responsiveness, ease of maneuverability, and logical arrangement of the controls. The only drawback, we both agreed, was the extremely high trunk level coupled with the relatively small rear window, which created a bit of a blind spot when you back up. Overall, I would recommend the Nissan Sentra to anyone looking for inexpensive and totally reliable transportation It was a fuel miser disguised as a small luxury car, with interior trim making it look like a more expensive ride.