The Nissan Sentra has been the budget small sedan for most of its existence. It’s been labeled “cheap” and “low rent” for most of that time. With this new redesign, however, Nissan has changed all that and made the 2020 Sentra a much more upscale and competitive vehicle. Without juicing the price out of the budget range.
Quick Specs & Info
|2020 Nissan Sentra||Class: Small Sedan|
|Base Model||As Tested: SR CVT|
|Powertrain||2.0L, CVT||Powertrain||2.0L, CVT|
|Base MSRP||$19,310||MSRP as tested||$25,825|
The greatest change to the Sentra in this new generation for the sedan is its much-upgraded interior. The Sentra has always been a good-looking car as part of its appeal, but its interior has often felt low-rent as a compromise for its lower cost of purchase. This new Sentra changes that with a much more upscale interior even at the base model level.
The 2020 Sentra has comfortable seating, a roomy cabin, and plenty of technology. The base model’s touchscreen is basic, but functional, but the upgrade to the 8-inch screen, while nice, isn’t really an improvement. Functionality changes, but the yesteryear graphics and slow user interface remain. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay help mitigate that some.
Elsewhere, though, the interior of the 2020 Nissan Sentra is excellent. The advanced technologies for safety are great additions and come standard. The automatic braking system, especially in reverse, is a little over reactive, but generally livable. The car is otherwise really well done. Passengers will find plenty of room in their seats and the trunk is large for the class.
The 2020 Nissan Sentra has three trim packages with a few options packages for each. Here are highlights:
- S – Base model comes with steel wheels, push-button start, a 7-inch touchscreen for infotainment, blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning, forward collision warning with pedestrian detection, and automatic emergency braking for both front and rear.
- SV – Upgrades to alloy wheels and adds adaptive cruise control, keyless entry, dual-zone climate, an 8-inch touchscreen, and more USB ports. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also added to infotainment.
- SR – Larger alloy wheels, LED headlamps, and some design flourishes for the exterior. Several packages add convenience and comfort items as well, including premium audio.
Driving the 2020 Sentra
The 2020 Nissan Sentra is a good drive. It’s sluggish most of the time, but confident around town and during normal driving. On the highway, though, it doesn’t accelerate well and struggles against passenger loads or crosswinds. The engine is barely adequate for the car while the transmission focuses almost entirely on fuel economy at the expense of power delivery.
Steering and handling are good and predictable, which does return some of that lost confidence from the powertrain. No (current) option for all-wheel drive will also dissuade some buyers as competitors add that as an option to their sedans.
- Very comfortable ride quality.
- Upscale interior design with good materials quality.
- Advanced safety and tech features are standard.
- Weak acceleration makes for loss of confidence in some situations.
- Infotainment is dated and not nearly as user friendly as others.
- Emergency braking system can be touchy and overzealous.
The 2020 Nissan Sentra is a great upgrade from Sentras of years past. It’s no longer the cheap option on the market, but has kept its price point as a lower-cost purchase compared to the major players in the small sedan segment. The Sentra is now definitely competitive and worth a look.
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