The Nissan Sentra is a compact sedan that is often compared with the Civic, Corolla and Hyundai Elantra. This generation of Sentra has been around since 2013 and is the seventh generation of the well-known nameplate. It first debuted in 1982, as a replacement for the Datsun 210 and has become very popular with the US and global buyers. 

The current Nissan Sentra is offered with a pair of different engines and transmissions. It’s not nearly as sporty as it once was, as the old SE-R models gained a ton of attention during the sport-compact tuning days. The Sentra today is a comfortable ride with lots of interior space. Two engines are offered in the Sentra, as well as two transmissions, but all models are front-wheel drive. Design-wise, the Sentra uses the V-Motion design language, which is seen in cars like the Maxima, Altima, Rogue and Kicks. 

Unlike its closest competitors, the Nissan Sentra is only available in one body style: a sedan, meaning buyers who want a hatchback will have to look elsewhere. Size-wise, the Nissan Sentra slots in below the Altima, and is bigger than the Nissan Versa.

Models sold in the USA are built in Aguascalientes, Mexico.

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Nissan Sentra Specs

S, SV, SR, SL

Engine:  1.8-liter inline-four cylinder engine

Output:  124 hp, 125 lb-ft of torque

Transmission: 6MT or CVT

Fuel Economy (MPG):  6MT: 27 City, 35 Highway, 30 Combined. CVT: 29 City, 37 Highway, 32 Combined

Cargo Space:  15.1 cubic feet


SR Turbo

Engine:  1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder

Output:  188 hp, 177 lb-ft of torque

Transmission: CVT

Fuel Economy (MPG):  27 city, 33 highway, 29 combined

Cargo Space:  15.1 cubic feet


Sentra Nismo

Engine:  1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder

Output:  188 hp, 177 lb-ft of torque

Transmission: 6MT or CVT

Fuel Economy (MPG):  6MT: 25 city, 31 highway, 27 combined. CVT: 24 City, 30 Highway, 27 Combined

Cargo Space:  15.1 cubic feet

Nissan Sentra Fuel Economy

The Nissan Sentra comes in a few different flavors which impact its fuel economy ratings. Base Sentras come with a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that sends power to the front wheels through a six-speed manual transmission. This setup earns 27 MPG in the city, 35 MPG on the highway and 30 MPG combined. This 1.8-liter engine can be paired to a CVT and is actually the standard setup for higher trim-level vehicles. The 1.8-liter and CVT combination earns 29 MPG in the city, 37 MPG on the highway and 32 MPG combined making it the most fuel-efficient version of the Sentra you can get.

Additionally, there is the SR Turbo model, which uses a different engine, a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder and pairs that to the CVT. This setup earns 27 MPG in the city, 33 MPG on the highway and 29 MPG combined.

Finally, there are two versions of the Sentra NISMO: the model with a manual transmission and the model with the CVT. Six-speed models earn  25 MPG in the city, 31 MPG on the highway and 27 MPG combined. The CVT is similar, earning 24 MPG in the city, 30 MPG on the highway and 27 MPG combined.

Nissan Sentra Safety Ratings

The IIHS have awarded the Sentra a Top Safety Pick rating, which is the second highest rating it can receive. However, only specific models of the Sentra earn this rating, as not all versions of the car come with the same equipment. The IIHS notes that cars with the optional front crash prevention system and the LED low-beam headlights are the safety of the bunch. These headlights are offered on SR, SR Turbo, SL and Nismo models. All other versions of the Sentra get halogen headlights which didn’t impress the IIHS at all.

The IIHS seems quite happy with the performance of the Sentra when it came to crash testing it. In 2015, the front end of the Sentra was modified as well as the A Pilla and door sill in order to better protect the occupants in the case of a crash. The IIHS also notes that the side curtain airbags were lengthened. The Sentra earned top marks in all crashworthiness tests.

Nissan Sentra Features

Under the hood of a Nissan Sentra is one of two engines. Most models have the 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 124 horsepower and 125 lb-ft of torque, while SR Turbo and Nismo models feature a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes 188 horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque. Base Sentra S models and Nismo models are offered with a six-speed manual transmission. You can also get these two models with a CVT, which is standard on all other versions of the car. A push-button ignition is standard on SV SR and SL trim levels.

In terms of exterior features, the Sentra S comes standard with 16-inch steel wheels with covers. There are optional 16-inch black aluminum-alloy wheels available. The SV model comes with 16-inch aluminum alloys as standard equipment but is optionally available with 17-inch wheels. The SR and SL models come with 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels, with a slightly smaller tire profile. The SL, SR and SV models all come with Nissan’s Easy Tire Fill Alert, which lets you know when the tire has reached the ideal pressure.

The S and SV models of the Sentra come with automatic Halogen Headlights, while the SV and SR models come with projector LED low-beam headlights with LED accents as well as indicator lights on the mirrors. These models also come with fog lights. Optionally available on SV models but standard on SR and SL models are the heated outside mirrors. The SL model comes with a power sliding and tilting moonroof, while the SV and SR can be equipped with this for an additional cost. The SR model comes with sportier exterior accents like sill spoilers, rear spoilers, and a chrome exhaust.

Each grade of Sentra comes with its own type of interior upholstery. Base S models use cloth, SV models feature premium cloth, the SR model has premium sport cloth and the SL model uses leather-appointed seats. The SR can also use leather-appointed seats. The S, SV and SR models feature 6-way manual seats. The SL model has 6-way power adjustable seats as well as 2-way power adjustable lumbar support. The SR can be equipped with these features as an optional extra. The SL features heated front seats, and the SR can have these at an extra cost.

When it comes to interior features, the Sentra S comes with an AM/FM radio with four speakers, while the SV and SR models feature an AM/FM radio with satellite radio, USB and six speakers. The SL comes with a Bose branded eight-speaker sound system. There is a seven-inch color display audio system in all cars, as well as Bluetooth support The SV, SR and SL models come standard with rear USB ports, while the S can get this at an extra cost. The SV, SR and SL models also come with Android Auto and Apple Car Play support.

The SV, SR and SL models come with dual-zone automatic climate control, while the S has just manual air-conditioning. Most models feature Piano Black interior trim, but the SR has a sportier take on it. The SR and SL both come with intelligent cruise control as standard equipment. The SV and SR offer Blind Spot Monitoring and Rear Cross Traffic Alert as optional equipment, but the SL comes with this as standard.

Nissan Sentra Pricing

The Nissan Sentra starts at $18,785 including an $895 destination fee for a basic S model. This model comes with the 1.8-liter engine and a six-speed manual transmission. Getting the CVT model is an extra $690, meaning the total cost of a CVT Nissan Sentra S is $18,475. The S models are offered with a $495 appearance package.

There are Nissan Sentra SV, SR and SL models that use this powertrain setup as well. The SV starts at $20,085, while the SR starts at $21,585. The SL starts at $24,015. The SV, SR, and SL all offer premium paint, which cost $395. The SV is offered with a $1,000 special edition package and a $300 all-weather package. The SR can be equipped with a $2,890 Premium Package.

The Nissan Sentra is also offered with a turbocharged engine. The Sentra SR Turbo starts at $23,565 and is equipped with a CVT. The Nissan Sentra Nismo is $26,835 and can be had with either a six-speed manual or a CVT for no extra cost. The SR Turbo model can be had with a $2,270 Premium Package.

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Nissan Sentra Competitors

The Sentra competes in a very high volume segment. Compact sedans like the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Hyundai Elantra, Kia Forte Mazda3, Subaru Impreza and the Volkswagen Jetta are all the Sentra’s closest competitors. Many of these cars are offered as hatchbacks, but the Sentra is only available as a sedan, limiting its appeal. 

Nissan Sentra Future Plans

 The future of the Sentra is up in the air, as more and more buyers are considering crossovers instead of compact sedans. Considering this generation of Sentra has been around in some form or another since 2013, it’s fair to say that it is slightly behind the current crop of compact sedans. It needs to be sexier with a design language borrowed from Nissan’s other sedans like the Altima and Maxima. It can also do with a better interior, utilizing features like Nissan ProPilot Assist suite of drivers assistance and safety equipment. Expect things like these in the next stage of the Nissan Sentras life.

Detailed Specs

Engine / 1.8-liter four-cylinder
Horsepower / 124
Torque / 125 lb-ft
Drivetrain / front-wheel-drive
Transmission / CVT or 6MT

Our Final Verdict

The Nissan Sentra is a dated car that seems out of touch with the rest of the segment. Offering limited body styles, unimpressive engines and lacking style, the Sentra is only worth buying if you can find a good deal on one, or if you’re a diehard Nissan fan.

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