Outside, the Sentra has been liberated from the unattractive angled design of the past and given Nissan's current look with its larger chrome grille and flowing bodylines. It's 2.3 inches longer, but slightly narrower and lower; the interior volume is a tic larger, with more room carved out for rear-seat passengers. And like all new cars, if you want an info disco in your dash, Nissan will oblige with a touch screen that carries the Bluetooth and the satellite radio and the Pandora streaming music and whatnots.
Two years ago, this Sentra would have been a big deal. A year ago, it would have been current. Today, it's following strong redesigns of the Elantra, Ford Focus, Chevy Cruze and VW Jetta -- not to mention running updates from the Honda and Toyota. Even the Kia Forte has become a player for this corner of the lot. There's no pricing yet, but like every other challenge Nissan faces with the Sentra, the template has been set.