Nissan Sentra

The Nissan Sentra is powered by one of two advanced 4-cylinder engines. Most trims use a 1.8L 4-cylinder engine making 130 horsepower, while a 1.6L turbocharged four powers the SR Turbo and SR NISMO (Nissan Motorsport) models. Standard on the Sentra S is a 6-speed manual transmission, while all other trims feature a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT). The manual is optional on turbocharged trims. Overall, the Sentra is extremely good on fuel, with ratings of at least 30 mpg in combined city and highway driving even on manual transmission-equipped cars.

The 2017 Sentra is divided into eight different trim levels, starting with the base S model. Though obviously fairly basic, the S does include several nice features and amenities. Standard items include Bluetooth connectivity, remote entry and trunk release, power door locks, mirrors and windows, cruise control, automatic headlights, speed sensitive volume control for the stereo and an auxiliary input jack.

The next step up in the Sentra range is the SV, which includes more upscale features. The SV comes with NissanConnect with Mobile Apps, a 5-inch color display, audio streaming via Bluetooth, premium cloth seats and door trim and a smart key with push-button start.

The Sentra SR looks significantly sharper than lesser Sentra models, thanks primarily to the 17-inch alloy wheels and LED headlights. It also gets a rear spoiler and heated front seats. A new SR Midnight Edition is one of six models throughout the Nissan lineup that have been given a similar treatment. This includes unique paint, special black 17-inch alloy wheels with low-profile tires, black mirror caps and a black spoiler, and more. The SR Turbo is equipped like the 1.8L SR, but its 1.6L turbocharged engine scoots it along at a faster clip. Big vented front disc brakes provide stopping power, and a power moonroof lets in the light. A Midnight Edition is available on the SR Turbo as well.

The Sentra SL includes everything that comes on the SV, plus leather seating, dual-zone climate control, and fog lights. Starting at $21,500, the Sentra SL makes for a compelling alternative to smaller, premium cars such as base model MINI Coopers. Even at its highest price point, the Sentra still offers a decent value.

Finally, the top-of-the-line Sentra NISMO features tuned suspension and steering systems, 18-inch alloy wheels, an aerodynamics kit, and a special NISMO interior with red trim.

Several safety features are available on the Sentra. A blind spot warning system helps when changing lanes, while a rear cross traffic alert system makes backing out of parking spots less of a shot in the dark. Other technology driven safety features available on the Sentra include a forward emergency braking system and intelligent cruise control. Both systems use radar mounted at the front of the car to help avoid accidents.

Editors' Review

It's been a long time since the Nissan Sentra could be considered not just a "cool car," but a genuinely good car. Thankfully, the folks inside the Japanese automaker have hashed out a winning formula with striking looks, a lofty features list and a comfortable package with value to boot. Some rivals may have an edge here or there, but by and large, the Sentra is squarely back in the game.

There's something inherently charming about this little compact. Right from the start, the 2021 Nissan Sentra oozes an appeal all its own. It doesn't look like another attractive car, the sedan is simply its own thing. If anything, there's a lot of mini-Maxima going on here, rather than shrunken Altima, which I think is a very good thing. Nissan's V-Motion grille sits proudly up front with chrome and black accents connecting to edgy headlights. This Sentra SR trim boasts the optional Premium Package, which among features we'll talk about later, adds sharp LED headlamps and premium daytime running lights, too. At night, they offer a lot of attitude, and my tester even sports underglow lights. Yes, like, factory stuff straight out of a Fast and Furious flick. The optional lighting package tosses some white lights underneath, which look really great paired with this tester's two-tone Electric Blue Metallic and black paint scheme.

Out back, family ties to the Altima are more clear with a similar taillight treatment, though the Sentra still rocks its own look with a widened stance and this SR trim's sportier single exhaust outlet. A small spoiler continues to flirt with the diet Fast and Furious charm, and 18-inch alloy wheels help fill the stylish profile in.

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The Good ~ Quite stylish in its own right ~ Seriously comfortable seats for long drives ~ Lots of features for a fair price

The Bad ~ Scatterbrained transmission ~ Dated infotainment

The Bottom Line The Nissan Sentra is an affordable and competent compact sedan.

Editors' Rating
  • Performance 7.5
  • Features 7.5
  • Design 8.5
  • Media 7.5

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