NASHVILLE -- Nissan North America's redesigned 2013 Sentra gets less horsepower but offers styling inspired by the mid-sized Altima in a bid to win more of the compact sedan market.
Nissan also is claiming segment-leading fuel economy for the model, excluding diesel and hybrid-powered competitors.
Nissan says the redesigned version has dropped 5 percent of its body weight, or 150 pounds, and will deliver 30 mpg city/39 highway/34 combined. The car's FE+ trim model, equipped with a rear spoiler and low-rolling-resistance tires, will reach a slightly higher 40 mpg in highway driving.
But getting there meant scaling back engine power. The 2013 model will rely on a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 130 hp and 128 pounds-feet of torque.
The current model has a 2.0-liter engine that delivers 140 hp and 147 pounds-feet of torque.
It moves closer in appearance to the brand's top-selling Altima, featuring wraparound headlights with LED accent lights and a larger front grille. The body is more sculpted, with smoother flowing side panel accent lines highlighted with chrome trim and door handles.
Nissan hopes the look will help it win more of the segment away from the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic, which have been outselling the Sentra by 2 or 3 to 1.
The redesigned Sentra was revealed Friday, Aug. 31, in Dallas, and arrives in showrooms this fall.
Nissan has begun expanding North American factory capacity for the Sentra, adding a second line in Canton, Miss., in anticipation of selling beyond its recent volumes of fewer than 115,000 a year.