As the top trim, the SR gets contrasting exterior accents, LED lights and 18-inch wheels. Leather seats are optional. PHOTO: NISSAN

As the top trim, the SR gets contrasting exterior accents, LED lights and 18-inch wheels. Leather seats are optional. PHOTO: NISSAN

2020 Nissan Sentra: More than a redesign, this small sedan is a statement

The Nissan Sentra’s current iteration, which arrived in early 2020, is unchanged for 2021

Although there are vast quantities of utility vehicles and crossovers being consumed by the masses, there are still a number of affordable, solid-performing sedans such as the Nissan Sentra to consider.

First introduced for the 1991 model year, the Sentra brand has been a bright spot on Nissan’s sales ledger: More than six million of the compact sedans have been sold worldwide. The current iteration, which arrived in early 2020 and is unchanged for 2021, is totally new from the ground up in an effort to keep pace with the class-leading Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic and Kia Forte.

Compared with the previous Sentra’s bodywork, there really is no comparison. The design is leaner and more stylish, with an enlarged signature V-shaped grille, more prominent hood and fender creases and a tapered “floating” roofline that elegantly blends into the trunk.

The biggest complaint about the previous Sentra was a lack of sufficient get up and go, an issue rectified for the new model, a 2.0-litre four-cylinder rated at 149 horsepower and 146 pound-feet of torque. PHOTO: NISSAN

The biggest complaint about the previous Sentra was a lack of sufficient get up and go, an issue rectified for the new model, a 2.0-litre four-cylinder rated at 149 horsepower and 146 pound-feet of torque. PHOTO: NISSAN

Although only slightly longer than before and with more space between the front and rear wheels, the width has increased by about five centimetres and the roof has been lowered by about the same. Combined with the new bodywork, the effect is a more substantial and sportier-looking sedan with a lower centre of gravity. The new Sentra could pass for its midsize Altima sibling.

The Sentra’s interior is as fresh as the exterior, with a flat-bottom steering wheel, seven- or eight-inch touch-screens (depending on the trim) and a 4.2-inch display between the speedometer and tachometer. There are also Zero Gravity posture-assist front seats that the automaker has installed in many of its other vehicles. They are designed to provide more back support, which helps reduce fatigue on long trips. From experience, they are effective.

Nissan has also added more sound deadening and improved the door and window seals.

The current Sentra is slightly longer than before and it’s also five centimetres wider. The roofline is lower, which also lowers the centre of gravity. PHOTO: NISSAN

The current Sentra is slightly longer than before and it’s also five centimetres wider. The roofline is lower, which also lowers the centre of gravity. PHOTO: NISSAN

The biggest complaint about the previous Sentra was a lack of sufficient get up and go, an issue that was been rectified for the new model. A 2.0-litre four-cylinder rated at 149 horsepower and 146 pound-feet of torque replaced the previous 1.8-litre four-cylinder (124 horsepower and 125 pound-feet).

The engine is linked to a six-speed manual transmission (standard with the base model) or optional continuously variable unit (CVT) with built-in steps to simulate the driving characteristics of a conventional automatic.

Official fuel-consumption stats are 8.0 l/100 km in the city, 6.0 highway and 33 combined (CVT).

Underpinning it all is a new platform that Nissan says is more rigid than before. The previous torsion-beam rear suspension has also been replaced by a multi-link independent setup, claimed to improve the ride and driving characteristics, especially during cornering.

Pricing begins at $20,900 for the base S trim (add $1,600 for the CVT), which includes Nissan’s Safety Shield 360 grouping that bundles technology such as blind-spot warning and forward and reverse emergency braking. The only omission to the collection of active-safety technology is the optional Intelligent Cruise control that maintains a set distance from the vehicle in front.

The mid-grade SV gets that along with dual-zone climate control, upgraded cloth interior and 16-inch alloy wheels (steel wheels and covers are standard). Other SV content includes heated front seats and outside mirrors plus an Around View monitor that gives the driver a 360-degree view of his or her surroundings.

At the top end, the SR gets LED headlights, running lights and fog lights, as well as a darkened grille and outside mirrors. There’s also a rear spoiler, extra body garnish and 18-inch wheels. Leather-covered seats are optional for the SR.

It appears that Nissan has gone to great lengths to create a competent compact sedan that’s head and shoulders above its predecessor. Will that be enough to meet or upstage the top competitors in its class? Or the small utility vehicles that many buyers seem to prefer? Those are lofty goals, but taken on its own, the new Sentra leaves little on the table.

Most automakers have upped their interior games, which is also the case with the Sentra. Along with modern displays and connectivity, there’s a flat-bottom steering wheel and Zero Gravity seats. PHOTO: NISSAN

Most automakers have upped their interior games, which is also the case with the Sentra. Along with modern displays and connectivity, there’s a flat-bottom steering wheel and Zero Gravity seats. PHOTO: NISSAN

What you should know: 2021 Nissan Sentra

Type: Four-door, front-wheel-drive compact sedan

Engine (h.p.): 2.0-litre DOHC I-4 (149)

Transmissions: Six-speed manual; continuously variable

Market position: With virtually every domestic-based automaker having abandoned the compact-sedan category, the market has been left to vehicles such as the Sentra and the dominant Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla.

Points: The latest design is a drastic improvement. • Interior makeover leans to the premium side. • Standard four-cylinder engine produces adequate power. • Wide array of active-safety tech is standard. • Returning the NISMO model to the lineup would create some much-needed performance to the brand. • The equally new and less expensive Versa represents another choice for small-sedan buyers.

Active Safety: Blind-spot warning with cross-traffic backup alert (std.); active cruise control (opt.); front and rear emergency braking (std.); inattentive-driver alert (std.); lane-departure warning (std.)

L/100 km (city/hwy): 8.0/6.0 (CVT)

Base price (incl. destination): $20,900

BY COMPARISON

Toyota Corolla sedan

  • Base price: $20,550
  • Redesigned sedan and hatchback; hybrid options available.

Honda Civic sedan

  • Base price: $21,500
  • Exceptionally roomy, it can be had in sedan, coupe and hatchback body styles.

Kia Forte

  • Base price: $18,700
  • A well-priced and well-equipped small car. A 201-h.p. turbo I-4 is optional.

– written by Malcom Gunn, Managing Partner at Wheelbase Media

If you’re interested in new or used vehicles, be sure to visit TodaysDrive.com to find your dream car today! Like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram

AutomotivecarsSUVsTrucks

Just Posted

Deeba Mostafaie-Mehr, Setare Maleki Rizi, and Olivia Chen Xu from R.E. Mountain Secondary are recipients of three prestigious scholarships. (Langley School District/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Langley STEM students shine as recipients of prestigious scholarships

Three students from R.E. Mountain Secondary recognized

The new Langley Memorial Hospital emergency room opened for its first patients on Tuesday, May 4. (Government of B.C./Special to the Langley Advance Times)
LETTER: Aldergrove woman underwhelmed with new hospital ER

New ER is nice but needs adequate staffing, local woman writes

Graduation ceremonies will look different for the class of 2021. (Black Press Media files)
Ryan’s Regards: 2021 grads deserve more than a round of applause

Students have had a difficult 15 months, incomparable to most eras other classes graduated into

Each week, we are asking Langley’s elected officials to weigh in on an issue of concern to local residents. They are given a deadline and invited to respond with a maximum 250 words on the matter. This time, each member of Langley Township council was invited to respond to this question.
AT YOUR SERVICE: Langley trustees applaud positives found amid pandemic

Q&A: Members of the local school board given chance to address the community on a key local issue

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Statistics Canada says the country's crime rate ticked up again in 2018, for a fourth year in a row, though it was still lower than it was a decade ago. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of June 13

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Most Read