Sentra Offers Solid Value

Cargazing
By Derek Price

The 2024 Nissan Sentra may not set the compact car world on fire, but it delivers solid overall value for budget-conscious buyers.

Nissan has given the Sentra a fresh new look for the new model year, with a sportier grille, updated headlights and new wheel designs. However, as I found during my recent test drive, the Sentra’s performance still lags behind many of its small car competitors.

One of the Sentra’s biggest strengths is the impressive list of standard features it packs, even on the base model. All trim levels come equipped with Nissan Safety Shield 360, which includes six advanced driver-assist technologies such as automatic emergency braking and blind spot monitoring.

This comprehensive suite of safety tech is a rarity in the compact segment, where these features are often part of pricey option packages.

The SR trim I tested took the tech even further, adding an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system, Intelligent Cruise Control, and an available Bose premium audio upgrade. While not the most exciting to drive, the Sentra certainly doesn’t skimp when it comes to features and creature comforts.

The 2024 Nissan Sentra features updated exterior styling, including a reshaped front fascia, new headlight design and available 18-inch alloy wheels on sporty SR models.

Where the Sentra falls short is in the driving dynamics department. Nissan has updated the car’s 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and continuously variable transmission (CVT) for 2024, but the powertrain still feels underwhelming. With just 149 horsepower on tap, acceleration is adequate at best, and the CVT saps most of the fun out of the driving experience with its rubber band-like feel.

In my opinion, Nissan would’ve been better off offering a traditional automatic or even a manual gearbox option, which could have injected some much-needed driving excitement into the Sentra.

As it stands, the continuously variable transmission remains a letdown, especially for enthusiasts or anyone looking for an engaging small car.

The 2024 Nissan Sentra’s refined interior includes standard Zero Gravity front seats.

However, the Sentra’s sensible, practical side shines through in other areas. The interior is well-appointed, with supportive front seats and ample storage space. Nissan’s Zero Gravity seats provide excellent comfort, and the available leather upholstery and satin chrome accents lend a premium feel. In terms of pure livability, the Sentra more than holds its own.

Additionally, the Sentra’s exterior has been nicely updated for 2024, with a sportier front fascia, restyled headlights and new wheel designs.

The Sentra SR model I drove stood out with its 18-inch alloys, dark chrome trim, and bold two-tone paint options. While the styling won’t turn heads, it’s a marked improvement over the previous generation.

Ultimately, the 2024 Nissan Sentra is a solid, if unexciting, compact car. It delivers excellent value, a wealth of tech and safety features, and a comfortable, practical interior. But the bland driving dynamics and disappointing CVT hold it back from being a truly compelling option in this increasingly competitive segment.

For buyers who prioritize practicality and safety over driving excitement, the Sentra is certainly worth a look.

Pricing starts at $21,180 for the S trim and tops out at $24,270 for the well-equipped SR, including the delivery fee.

At A Glance

What was tested? 2024 Nissan Sentra SR ($23,620). Options: SR Premium Package ($2,490), premium two-tone paint ($645), floor mats ($270). Price as tested (including $1,095 destination charge): $28,220
Wheelbase: 106.6 in.
Length: 182.9 in.
Width: 71.5 in.
Height: 56.9 in.
Engine: 2.0-liter four cylinder (149 hp, 146 lbs.-ft.)
Transmission: Continuously variable
Fuel economy: 18 city, 23 highway

Ratings

Style: 8
Performance: 4
Price: 9
Handling: 5
Ride: 6
Comfort: 7
Quality: 8
Overall: 7

Why buy it?
It delivers excellent value, a wealth of standard safety tech and a comfortable, refined interior.

Posted in Nissan

Past Meets Power

Cargazing
By Derek Price

The 2024 Nissan Frontier Hardbody Edition is both a robust workhorse and rolling slice of nostalgia, particularly for those who, like me, grew up during the era of the iconic original Hardbody.

To me, this edition is reminiscent of the days when a local Nissan dealer’s “Hands on a Hardbody” contest captured the community’s imagination, offering a tangible link to a unique piece of East Texas lore. The unusual contest, an endurance challenge where participants had to keep their hand on the truck without stopping for days, was fascinating to me, even if

I was too young to understand the inherent cruelty of such a stunt.

I saw the shiny Hardbody trucks driving around Longview after they were introduced in 1985. They were cool, no doubt about it. And the new Frontier Hardbody Edition taps into that nostalgia.

From the driver’s seat, the Frontier exudes the essence of a traditional truck. Its solid, heavy feel provides a reassuring sense of durability and strength, exactly what people expect from a pickup.

The 2024 Nissan Frontier Hardbody Edition has a retro-inspired rugged design, blending classic appeal with contemporary functionality.

However, this heft comes with downsides, particularly in urban settings where its wide turning radius and stiff steering can make maneuvering through tight spaces less than ideal. While lending a certain rugged charm, it requires an adjustment for those accustomed to more nimble, city-friendly trucks.

Under the hood, the Hardbody Edition impresses with a 310-horsepower V6 engine paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission, delivering performance that’s both smooth and robust.

This powertrain stands out in the midsize truck segment, offering a level of refinement and muscle that’s a marked improvement over the previous-generation Frontier. In a market where value can sometimes be hard to come by, this truck presents a compelling package, balancing cost with features and performance.

Inside, modern tech meets throwback style for a unique experience.

To me, the design of the Hardbody Edition is a significant draw, particularly for those with fond memories of the original.

The Hardbody Edition is equipped with 17-inch alloy wheels in a three-spoke design reminiscent of the original truck, complemented by all-terrain tires.

It boasts an aluminum skid plate, black over-fenders, side rails, mud flaps and a sport bar mounted on the bed, enhancing its classic tough appearance.

Echoing the style of the 1980s Hardbody, this edition features bumpers, mirrors, door handles and grille all finished in black. The design is rounded off with distinctive black graphics, including a prominent “4×4” logo on the front doors and a unique tailgate design showcasing a cut-out “Nissan” logo, offering a modern twist on the classic emblem.

Pricing for the 2024 Frontier starts at $30,030. The Hardbody Edition, only available as a 4×4 with a lot of standard equipment, tops the lineup at $44,200.

At A Glance

What was tested? 2024 Nissan Frontier SV Crew Cab SWB 4×4 Automatic V6 ($37,030). Options: Fender audio package ($750), Hardbody Edition ($3,890), SV convenience package ($2,190), carpeted floor mats ($195), technology package ($990). Price as tested (including $1,495 destination charge): $46,540
Wheelbase: 126 in.
Length: 210.2 in.
Width: 74.7 in.
Height: 72 in.
Engine: 3.8-liter V6 (310 hp, 281 lbs.-ft.)
Transmission: Nine-speed automatic
Fuel economy: 18 city, 23 highway

Ratings

Style: 9
Performance: 9
Price: 7
Handling: 7
Ride: 4
Comfort: 6
Quality: 7
Overall: 8

Why buy it?

The Hardbody Edition stands out with a unique blend of nostalgic style, robust performance and good value in the midsize truck segment.

Posted in Nissan

BMW X6 M60i: Defying Categories

Cargazing
By Derek Price

In a world where the lines between SUV capability and sports-car thrills increasingly blur, the 2024 BMW X6 M60i stands out as a remarkable engineering feat.

It’s a vehicle that challenges conventional automotive categories, offering a blend of utility and exhilaration that’s rare to find.

My week with the X6 M60i, particularly in its vibrant Isle of Man green, was a study in contrasts.

On one hand, you have an SUV that delivers on the promise of spaciousness and practicality, with usable cargo room and generous seating. Forward visibility is commendable, a nod to its utilitarian roots.

Yet, when you push the ignition, the M60i transforms. Its performance is more akin to a track car than a family hauler.

The power, the grip and the sheer joy of driving this beast are undeniable.

Under the hood lies a newly developed TwinPower Turbo V8 engine, a masterpiece of engineering derived from motorsport lineage. With 523 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque, the M60i is a powerhouse, capable of catapulting from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.2 seconds.

Styling on the new 2024 BMW X6 M60i showcases its unique, performance-oriented demeanor.

The integration of 48V mild-hybrid technology not only boosts its efficiency but also enhances the engine’s response and power delivery, ensuring a driving experience that’s both exhilarating and environmentally conscious.

It’s exhilarating, pushing the boundaries of what one would expect from a vehicle with such a high riding position.

However, this thrilling performance comes at a cost: comfort. The M60i, despite not being as unforgiving as the full-fledged X6 M, still presents a ride that’s firm and bumpy. It’s a vehicle tailored for enthusiasts who prioritize the rawness of driving over the plushness of cruising. While it’s slightly more bearable than its more hardcore sibling, the compromise is evident.

The suspension, coupled with the 22-inch wheels on my tester, seems to defy the very essence of a crossover. Instead of offering a comfortable, elevated driving experience, the X6 M60i opts for a sportier, more aggressive feeling. It’s a choice that will undoubtedly appeal to a niche audience but might leave others longing for the comfort traditionally associated with SUVs.

An elegantly crafted cabin features the advanced BMW Curved Display, merging luxury with cutting-edge technology.

There’s no denying the X6 M60i’s ability to attract attention. Its unusual green hue and imposing presence make it a head-turner on the streets. However, this allure is accompanied by a hefty price tag, particularly once you delve into BMW’s range of premium options.

The M60i boasts distinctive design elements that underscore its performance capabilities, from the M-specific kidney grille to the quad-pipe exhaust trim. Inside, the cabin is a testament to BMW’s commitment to digital innovation, featuring the BMW Curved Display, which combines a 12.3-inch information display and a 14.9-inch control display under a single glass surface, reducing physical buttons and emphasizing touch control.

Overall, the 2024 BMW X6 M60i is an enigma. It offers a unique blend of attributes that cater to a very specific taste: those who seek the thrill of a sports car but need the practicality of an SUV.

Yet, in striving to be both, it inevitably makes compromises, particularly in comfort and price. It’s a vehicle that excites and confounds in equal measure, a true paradox on wheels.

At A Glance

What was tested? 2024 BMW X6 M60i ($93,600). Options: Dynamic handling package ($2,200), driving assistance pro package ($2,100), M Sport professional package ($650), parking assistance package ($800), executive package ($1,850), climate comfort package ($1,000), 22-inch M wheels ($1.900), carbon fiber trim ($300), leather dashboard ($1,250), Bowers & Wilkins sound system ($3,400). Price as tested (including $995 destination charge): $111,995
Wheelbase: 117.1 in.
Length: 195 in.
Width: 78.9 in.
Height: 66.9 in.
Engine: 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 (523 hp, 553 lbs.-ft.)
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
Fuel economy: 17 city, 22 highway

Ratings

Style: 9
Performance: 9
Price: 3
Handling: 9
Ride: 4
Comfort: 4
Quality: 8
Overall: 8

Why buy it?

It delivers an exceptional blend of dynamic performance, distinctive style and advanced technology in a versatile SUV package.

 

Posted in BMW

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