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LA show: New-look Nissan Sentra not for Aus

Fresh face: Nissan's US market Sentra gains the face of the larger Maxima sedan, but it won't be seen in Australian Nissan showrooms.

Refreshed Nissan Sentra follows Maxima design, but not on the cards for Australia

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Nissan logo19 Nov 2015

By TIM NICHOLSON

NISSAN'S facelifted Sentra sedan – sold in Australia as the Pulsar – has made its debut at the Los Angeles motor show, but the refreshed version will not be offered Down Under.

The update is for North American market Sentra only, according to a Nissan Australia general manager of corporate communications Peter Fadeyev, with Australia's Thai-built Pulsar sedan expected to soldier on for a little longer without an update.

Nissan Australia reshuffled the Pulsar range in April this year and introduced a warmed-over SSS version of the sedan, while other variants were discontinued and some prices were cut.

The Sentra facelift brings a similar front-end treatment to that of the updated US-market Altima mid-sizer that was revealed in September. Both cars now carry design elements from the sleek new-generation Maxima sedan that made its debut at last year's New York motor show.

New design elements include a grille, bumpers, the boomerang-shaped headlights and tail-lights, new wheel designs and LED signature accents on some variants.

Nissan's American arm has taken the opportunity to freshen up the cabin with a new steering wheel, new driver's seat, updated display audio, console and shifter knob and more refined seat fabrics. It also gains soft-touch materials, the NissanConnect infotainment system and higher-resolution LCD screens compared with the previous model.

The Sentra now features safety gear including forward emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, blind spot warning and rear cross-traffic alert.

Under the skin, it gets retuned suspension with a 10 per cent increase in spring and damper rates.

Nissan also showed off a special Juke Stinger Edition that falls under Nissan USA's new Color Studio program that allows owners to personalise their Nissans “through thousands of combinations of special colour accessories – including wheels, spoiler, door handles, mirrors and interior accents”.

A similar program is unlikely to be launched in Australia.

Nissan resurrected the Pulsar nameplate in early 2013 after a seven-year absence, introducing the sedan ahead of the hatch that arrived in June, but the model has not lived up to expectations.

With 6843 Pulsar sedans and hatches sold to the end of October, sales are down by 21.8 per cent compared with the same period in 2014. It is now being outsold by the likes of Mitsubishi's eight-year-old Lancer (7496), Hyundai's Elantra (7074) and the resurgent Kia Cerato (8671).

The European-market Pulsar hatch, which was billed as a Volkswagen Golf rival when it launched, is still not on Nissan Australia's radar to replace the Thai-sourced model, according to Mr Fadeyev.

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