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2019 Nissan Sentra

$17,890 - $23,120
Price Range (MSRP)
Nissan Sentra

2019 Nissan Sentra Review

by Adam Lynton

The Nissan Sentra is a compact sedan, but don't let its smaller size fool you; it's surprisingly spacious on the inside. With a reputation for reliability, an award for safety from the IIHS in 2018, and a competitive price tag starting at $17,790, this little car is still selling well. But that's where the Sentra's strength peaks, and it's all downhill from there. Although well-designed, the Sentra is simply not as stylish as its competitors. Coupled with its slightly dated infotainment and driver safety features, this sedan just doesn't stand out. With the base 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine paired with a continuously variable transmission producing a measly 124 horsepower and 125 lb-ft of torque, the Sentra struggles to deliver comparable performance to rivals like the Toyota Corolla or Honda Civic.

2019 Nissan Sentra Changes: What’s the difference vs 2018 Sentra?

Being the seventh generation of the original Sentra introduced in 2013, the 2019 model is getting a bit dated. It needs a complete overhaul to properly compete with its competitors. Luckily, one is planned for 2020. For now, the Sentra adds a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment display to all models, while the NissanConnect infotainment system has been added to the SR and SL trims. The new Special Edition package for the SV adds 17-inch alloy wheels, as well as driver safety and luxury features. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are now available on all but the base S trim.

Pros and Cons

  • Competitive pricing
  • Spacious interior
  • Very large trunk
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on all but the base trim
  • Turbocharged engine available on upper trim levels
  • Comfortable driving experience around town
  • Slow acceleration and passing power
  • Poorer driving experience than most rivals
  • Style is a bit dated, both inside and out
  • Lacks modern infotainment and safety systems
  • Upper trims are expensive for the relative improvement in features
  • Dull and uninspiring

Sentra Exterior

Although it's a compact sedan, the Sentra was designed with sporty aerodynamics in mind, even if it fails to achieve this goal. It features a honeycomb grille with a metal V-frame, large windows to optimize visibility and large doors that ensure easy access for users of any size. The slightly wide rear end accommodates a spacious trunk. The lower trims come with halogen headlights while the upper trims offer LED variants. A moonroof is available on upper trim levels. The SR Turbo trim features a unique sport-body with accompanying features such as spoilers and exhaust tips. Wheel-wise, the base derivative features 16-inch steel wheels, while the SV gets 16-inch alloys. From the SR you'll find 17-inch alloys available in varying finishes.

2019 Nissan Sentra Front View
2019 Nissan Sentra Rear View
2019 Nissan Sentra Front Angle View
See All 2019 Nissan Sentra Exterior Photos

Dimensions

The Sentra has dimensions that are marginally larger than average for the compact segment, measuring 182.1 inches long (182.5 inches on SR and SR Turbo models) and 69.3 inches wide. It is also slightly taller than most, at 58.9 inches, which explains its generous headroom. The wheelbase is average for the market, at 106.3 inches, but the Sentra weighs in slightly below most of its competitors at 2,851 lbs on the base S while the SR Turbo maxes out at 3,090 lbs.

Exterior Colors

While no new colors have been added to the Sentra's palette for 2019, there is still ample choice. Buyers can choose from eight options, although some limitation is placed based on trim choice. Fresh Powder is only available on the S and SV derivatives, while Brilliant Silver, Gun Metallic, and Super Black are available across the range. Deep Blue Pearl can be had on all but the SL, while SV, SR, and SL derivatives can also be decked out in Aspen white TriCoat, Red Alert, and Scarlet Ember Tintcoat.

  • Gun Metallic
  • Super Black
  • Fresh Powder
  • Brilliant Silver Metallic
  • Deep Blue Pearl
  • Red Alert, Build Out:12/31/2018
  • Scarlet Ember Tintcoat
  • Aspen White Tricoat
  • Red Alert
  • Brilliant Silver Metallic, Build Out:12/31/2018

Sentra Performance

While the Sentra might look like it can keep up with its sportier brethren, it simply can't deliver on what its body is promising. The base 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine only provides 124 hp and 125 lb-ft while the 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder only moderately improves on this, producing 188 hp and 177 lb-ft. With such limited power, the sedan takes a sluggish 10 seconds to reach 60 mph with the base engine, while the turbo takes a middling 7.5 seconds. However, its top speed of around 120 mph is comparable to the likes of the Nissan Versa or Toyota Corolla, even if they get there much quicker.

Front-wheel-drive is the standard here, as is a CVT automatic transmission, with a manual only available on the base S trim. Most rivals provide similar setups, but the Mazda 3 and Subaru Impreza offer all-wheel-drive as well.

2019 Nissan Sentra Front Angle View
2019 Nissan Sentra Rear View Driving
2019 Nissan Sentra Engine Bay

Engine and Transmission

The Nissan Sentra offers a choice of two engines and two transmissions, but these are dependent on trim. The 1.8-liter DOHC four-cylinder engine provides 124 hp and 125 lb-ft when paired with the CVT gearbox, and a slightly higher 130 hp and 128 lb-ft when paired with the six-speed manual transmission. The 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine provides a significantly better 188 hp and 177 lb-ft. The weakness of the 1.8-liter is highlighted by its whines when pushed, meaning the 1.6-liter is the only real option if you don't want to feel like you're riding a three-legged moose. Overall, the engine and transmission setups supply enough power for day-to-day driving around town, assuming you're not in a rush to get anywhere, but overtaking on the highway will be a chore with the hamstrung acceleration on offer.

The Sentra S is available with either the six-speed manual gearbox or a CVT, while the SV, SR, and SL only offer a CVT. The S, SV, SR, and SL all come with the 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine. The SR-Turbo and Nismo are equipped with the stronger 1.6-liter turbocharged engine.

  • Engines
    1.6-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas, 1.8-liter Inline-4 Gas
  • Transmissions
    6-Speed Manual, Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
  • Drivetrain
    FWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

The Nissan Sentra provides the minimum requirements for town driving, but that's about all. Its acceleration is OK, its brakes are OK, and its handling is… you guessed it, OK. It will get you from A to B, but don't expect to have a lot of fun getting there. On the other hand, it won't be unpleasant either.

The Sentra handles adequately at both low and high speeds, although feedback from the steering is limited and the weaker 1.8-liter engine runs loud when pressed. Class-leading competitors perform significantly better. Although the compact sedan is a bit on the soft side, it handles body roll quite well. It does handle windy conditions worse than rivals though. The SR Turbo handles better thanks to stiffer springs, but even they can't match top contenders in the segment.

The brakes are equally middling. While the pedal functions just fine, it can feel soft and unresponsive. The suspension also follows the trend of mediocrity, handling minor abrasions well but failing to stop larger ones from jarring the cabin. While the Sentra is a quiet and comfortable sedan when driven with care at regular speeds, so are all its competitors. And they allow for a bit more adventurous driving without sacrificing these qualities.

Think of the Sentra as an appliance, an A-to-B commuter with a job to do, much like a tumble dryer, but at least the tumble dryer leaves something feeling warm and fuzzy when it's done.

Sentra Gas Mileage

Not missing the chance to be absolutely average yet again, the Sentra offers competitive but not outstanding fuel economy. The 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine has city/highway/combined consumption of 27/35/30 mpg with the six-speed manual gearbox while the CVT has a slightly better 29/37/32 mpg. The 1.6-liter turbocharged engine is a bit thirstier, managing only 27/33/29 mpg. With a 13.2-gallon tank, the ideal setup of the 1.8-liter engine and a CVT gearbox can achieve around 422 miles to a tank.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    13.2 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 27/35 mpg
* 2019 Nissan Sentra S Manual

Sentra Interior

While the exterior dimensions of the Sentra are slightly larger than average, the interior is no bigger than most compact sedans. It is well-built, even if the design is a bit dated now, lacking the style of rivals like the Honda Civic. The controls are ergonomically designed, being well-placed for accessibility. The shifter is plastic, but not cheaply-made, and the steering wheel design is inspired by the Nissan 370Z. The seats are well-positioned to optimize visibility but the cloth upholstery is basic and only moderately comfortable, yet again not managing to impress. Power-adjustable, heated seats are available on higher trims. The lack of sound-deadening is a drawback though given the loudness of the Sentra's engine, making it one of the loudest interiors in the segment.

2019 Nissan Sentra Gauge Cluster
2019 Nissan Sentra Driver Seat
2019 Nissan Sentra Gauge Cluster
See All 2019 Nissan Sentra Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

While the interior of the Sentra is no larger than most compact sedans, its design allows it to comfortably seat four, with a maximum capacity of five depending on passenger size. The driver's seat is placed a bit high to offer better visibility for shorter drivers, but this means people of above-average height might lack headroom. However, the rear seats can easily fit six-foot-tall passengers, if not slightly taller, thanks to the ample head- and legroom. While there may be more than enough space for comfort, the seats aren't the most luxurious. The flat foam can feel a bit too stiff and lacking in support. With the high seat placements and large doors of the Sentra, entering and exiting the vehicle is a breeze.

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater

Interior Colors and Materials

The Sentra's cabin is quite plain, opting for simple, well-built surfaces over the more modern flourishes of its rivals. Charcoal is the only color scheme available for the Sentra, with the paneling and dashboard being plastic and the seats upholstered in cloth on all but the highest trims. The base S has the most basic cloth with the SV upgrading this slightly in quality and style. The SR and SR Turbo derivatives offer premium cloth, with optional packages offering leather. Leather-appointed seats are standard on the SL. Leather-wrapped steering wheels are available on all but the base model. The SL features a unique piano black interior trim while the SR and SR Turbo boasts exclusive blue stitching on the seats when equipped with leather upholstery.

Sentra Trunk and Cargo Space

Although the Sentra is a compact sedan, its trunk size rivals that of a mid-size vehicle. With an impressive 15.1 cubic feet of cargo space, which can be supplemented by folding down the rear seats in a 60/40 split, fitting more than ten shopping bags is an easy task. This is definitely one of the vehicle's best selling points. However, hatchbacks with full fold-down seats still offer better storage capacity than sedans and can fit larger single items.

While the trunk may be spacious, cubby space is on the limited side. The center console and cupholders are nice but utterly average in size. Sadly, the slot below the infotainment screen is appallingly small. Luckily, the door pockets are quite large and the glove compartment in front of the passenger seat is generous.

2019 Nissan Sentra Rear View
2019 Nissan Sentra Rear Angle View
2019 Nissan Sentra Side View
  • Trunk Volume
    15.1 ft³

Sentra Infotainment and Features

Features

The base Sentra S comes with pretty minimal features for the segment. The manual only offers a rearview camera and vehicle dynamic control with traction control, while the CVT model adds automatic emergency braking. Also standard on the S is air conditioning, cruise control, and six-way manual-adjustable seats. The higher trim levels improve on this offering quite substantially. The SV adds dual-zone automatic climate control and keyless ignition. The SV and SR have optional packages adding adaptive cruise control, rear cross-traffic alert, blind-spot monitoring, heated front seats, and a moonroof. The SL incorporates these features as standard.

Infotainment

The infotainment on the Sentra has improved slightly on the 2019 model, with a seven-inch touchscreen display now standard on every trim. The Sentra S features AM/FM radio with a four-speaker sound system, Bluetooth call and audio streaming, one USB port, and auxiliary audio input. Unfortunately, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, which many buyers are starting to expect as standard offerings, are only available from the SV up. The SV also adds SiriusXM radio, an additional USB port in the rear cabin and an upgraded six-speaker sound system. A Bose eight-speaker audio system is available with the Premium Package for the SR and is standard with the SL.

Sentra Problems and Reliability

Much like every other aspect of the Sentra, its reliability is dead average, with J.D. Power giving it a middling three out of five stars rating. Previous editions of the vehicle did suffer from some serious recalls, with around 4.5 million vehicles being recalled over the three year period of 2014 - 2017 for faulty airbag deployment. Older models also received a fair number of complaints regarding the car's transmission. However, there have been hardly any complaints over the past three years and Nissan seems to have ironed out the safety issues that plagued the early Sentra models. The warranty offering is also pretty standard, with a limited warranty for 36 months/36,000 miles and a powertrain warranty for 60 months/60,000 miles.

Sentra Safety

The Sentra has a good safety track record. It received Top Safety Pick from the IIHS in 2018 and tested Good in almost every category for 2019. The NHTSA gives the Sentra a four-star overall rating out of five, which is still pretty good.

Key Safety Features

The suite of safety features on the 2019 Sentra is more than adequate for the segment but some rivals outclass it. Vehicle dynamic control with traction control, automatic emergency braking, cruise control, four-wheel ABS, brake assist, and a rearview camera are standard. Higher trim levels add blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and adaptive cruise control. The segment standard six airbags are present in the cabin, namely dual-front, front side, and side curtain. The LATCH anchors on the rear seats are clearly marked and easy to use.

Verdict: Is the 2019 Nissan Sentra a good car?

The Nissan Sentra certainly has some good selling points. It has excellent cargo capacity, which complements its appeal as a reliable day-to-day vehicle. It is also spacious inside, comfortably seating four people of almost any size. But these high points are undermined by almost every other aspect of the vehicle. Although the cabin is spacious, the seats are not overly comfortable, which is only made worse by the car's performance.

It handles well at average speeds, but go any faster and the ride becomes choppy. The tires and engine produce an unwelcome amount of noise that the cabin fails to deaden. The suspension also can't handle more than minor abrasions without jarring the cabin.

The majority of rivals, such as the Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla, have better all-round performance that doesn't compromise on comfort. They also offer more than the bare minimum of safety and infotainment features that come with the Sentra. All this they manage to do this while looking better, inside and out, with stylish modern designs that the older Sentra lacks.

The low starting price of the Sentra may make it seem like a good buy, but when you consider that you need to go up a few trim levels just to start competing with the performance and features that rivals offer, the cost starts looking a lot less appealing.

What's the Price of the 2019 Nissan Sentra?

The base Sentra S trim starts at a low $17,890 for the manual transmission. However, it lacks some of the basic safety features that the CVT model offers at a slightly higher $18,580. The mid-range SV and SR go for $19,190 and $20,590, respectively. The SR can be upgraded to a Turbo trim, raising the price to $22,670. The premium-level SL costs a heftier $23,120. These prices exclude tax, licensing and registration. Nissan adds a destination charge of $895.

2019 Nissan Sentra Models

The Sentra range comprises five trims: the S, SV, SR, SR Turbo, and SL. The S, SV, SR, and SL come equipped with a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine and a CVT gearbox standard. The S also has the option of switching to a six-speed manual gearbox. The SR Turbo is equipped with the more powerful 1.6-liter turbocharged engine and a CVT gearbox.

The S may offer the choice of two transmissions, but it has the bare minimum features with 16-inch steel wheels, AM/FM radio and Bluetooth, but lacks smartphone integration.

The SV adds Apple CarPlay and Android Auto along with upgraded comfort in the form of dual-zone climate control, satellite radio and a six-speaker sound system on the Special Edition package.

The SR alters the Sentra's design with sportier elements and adds LED headlights and fog lights. Quality-of-life features added include a premium cloth interior and heated seats on the Premium package.

The SR Turbo complements its stronger turbo engine with 17-inch alloy wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, and upgraded brakes.

The top-tier SL abandons the sporty kit of the SR in favor of comfort. It has leather-appointed seats with heated front seats. It also has the best safety and driver-assistance features.

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
S
1.8-liter Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Manual
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
$17,890
SV
1.8-liter Inline-4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
$19,190
SR
1.8-liter Inline-4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
$20,690
SR Turbo
1.6-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
$22,670
SL
1.8-liter Inline-4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
$23,120
See All 2019 Nissan Sentra Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

The Sentra offers a few minor appearance and comfort packages with a couple that offers more comprehensive changes. The Special Edition package available for the SV upgrades the wheels to 17-inch alloys and adds blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, intelligent cruise control, heated front seats, and a power-sliding glass sunroof. This package costs $1,000. The $2,890 Premium package for the SR and SR Turbo adds blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, a six-way power-adjustable driver's seat with power lumbar, leather-appointed seats and a premium Bose eight-speaker sound system.

What Nissan Sentra Model Should I Buy?

The base Sentra S has a great price tag, but it is sorely lacking in features across the board. If you want a compact sedan that is at least in the same ballpark as the segment leaders, then you will want to go for the SV or possibly SR trims. These trims offer most of the features that are standard on the market these days, such as smartphone integration and basics comforts like heated seats or climate control. At around $20,000, they won't break the bank either, although you will probably want to add the Special Edition or Premium packages to make the most of these trims.

Check out other Nissan Sentra Styles?

2019 Nissan Sentra Comparisons

2019 Nissan Sentra
2019 Nissan Sentra

2019 Nissan Sentra vs Nissan Altima

The Nissan Altima has been an unremarkable model for many years, not managing to stand out from its competitors. However, it has been fully redesigned for 2019, with sleeker lines and a suite of modern driver-assistance features. Like the Sentra, the Altima offers a choice between two engines. The 2.0-liter turbocharged engine produces an impressive 248 hp and 280 lb-ft, allowing the midsize vehicle to offer a lively driving experience. The addition of four-wheel drive also gives it better handling than the Sentra. The spacious interior and quality materials set it a step above the Sentra. While the $24,000 starting price tag is quite a bit higher than the base Sentra, the Altima makes good use of the investment with state-of-the-art tech, a larger eight-inch infotainment display, four USB ports, and smartphone integration as standard. Overall, the Altima is a better buy than the Sentra when you compare it to the SV or SR, which have similar prices but far fewer features.

See Nissan Altima Review

2019 Nissan Sentra vs Nissan Versa Sedan

Being a subcompact, the Nissan Versa has a lower price than the Sentra. Even so, the starting price tag of $12,460 makes it one of the cheapest options in the segment. You might not get much in the way of features for this price, with no smartphone integration and only minimal safety and comfort features, but if all you're looking for is an economical vehicle, it's a great choice. Although not designed with quality materials, the cabin's interior is spacious and the large trunk complements it. You can opt to upgrade to the Versa SV, but you won't be doing yourself any favors as fuel economy is all it has going for it at this price level. The Sentra has more features and more modern design for the same price, and while the base engine on the Versa is stronger than the Sentra's, the latter's turbocharged engine flips the tables. If you need a reliable car in a hurry and don't care about all the little add-ons, the Versa is a good pick.

See Nissan Versa Sedan Review

2019 Nissan Sentra vs Toyota Corolla Sedan

The Toyota Corolla falls into the same class as the Sentra and has a similar price tag, at $18,700. The Corolla is a bit dated for the segment, but the Sentra hasn't been making many improvements either. Neither car is particularly fun to drive, but the Sentra has the optional turbocharged engine that offers a bit more power. The Corolla has a more spacious cabin and very comfortable seats, while the Sentra has a larger trunk and better fuel economy. Even though the Toyota has a better infotainment setup, it only offers smartphone integration on its much higher trim levels. It's a case of picking the best of an incredibly insipid pair of cars, and if you're going to buy an appliance, it may as well be the Corolla.

See Toyota Corolla Sedan Review

Nissan Sentra Popular Comparisons