2020 Nissan Sentra

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2020 Nissan Sentra Test Drive Review: From Fleet To Fabulous

The modern human has developed the ability to block out unnecessary information such as pop-up ads and global warming statistics with such efficiency that it takes something seriously eye-catching to draw their attention these days. The 2019 Nissan Sentra was the car equivalent of an email from your bank notifying you about its great new savings plan; it was ignored by everyone and was destined to live out its life as a rental car or UberX servant. The 2020 Sentra gets a new platform, engine, interior, and exterior design and is set to fight its rental-fleet stereotype with all its worth. Its new 149-horsepower 2.0-liter engine, revised infotainment system, and an attractive new design are pretty convincing, as is its starting price of only $19,090, but will it be enough to keep it out of airport parking lots? We think so.

Read in this review:

8.8
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🚙What's New For New 2020 Nissan Sentra?

The 2020 Nissan Sentra is a brand new car. The 2.0-liter naturally aspirated engine is brand new, boasts more power and is mated exclusively to a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). The most significant change must be the fact that the Sentra rides on a brand new platform that should translate into a better handling and driving car. Standard tech and safety features for 2020 include auto-forward emergency braking and blind-spot monitoring. The contemporary exterior design is now available with new colors, including a two-tone design.

Pros and Cons

  • It's brand new and all the better for it
  • More powerful and more fuel-efficient engine
  • Improved refinement
  • New Nissan Safety Shield 360 driver assistance suite
  • Eye-catching looks
  • Vastly improved handling and driving dynamics
  • Rental car image stuck with the nameplate
  • It isn't exactly quick
  • Basic warranty compared to rivals
  • Some cheap materials inside
  • No turbocharged option

Best Deals on 2020 Nissan Sentra

2020 Nissan Sentra Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
S
2.0L Inline-4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
$19,310
SV
2.0L Inline-4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
$20,370
SR
2.0L Inline-4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
$21,650
See All 2020 Nissan Sentra Trims and Specs

2020 Sentra Exterior

2020 Nissan Sentra Front Angle View CarBuzz
2020 Nissan Sentra Aft View Nissan
2020 Nissan Sentra Rear Angle View CarBuzz
See All 2020 Nissan Sentra Exterior Photos

Dimensions

  • Length 182.7 in
  • Wheelbase 106.8 in
  • Height 56.9 in
  • Max Width 71.5 in
  • Front Width 62.6 in
  • Rear Width 62.8 in
  • Curb Weight 3,047.0 lbs

Exterior Colors

  • Brilliant Silver Metallic
  • Gun Metallic
  • Super Black
  • Fresh Powder
  • Electric Blue Metallic
  • Rosewood Metallic
  • Aspen White Tricoat
  • Scarlet Ember Tintcoat
  • Gun Metallic/Super Black
  • Aspen White/Super Black
  • Monarch Orange/Super Black

2020 Sentra Performance

2020 Nissan Sentra Frontal Aspect CarBuzz
2020 Nissan Sentra Wheel CarBuzz
2020 Nissan Sentra Engine Bay CarBuzz

Engine and Transmission

  • Engine
    2.0L Inline-4 Gas
  • Transmission
    Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
  • Drivetrain
    FWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

We were not impressed with the previous generation Sentra's spongy and disconnected handling and rental-sled driving dynamics. Nissan has taken note of these shortcomings and has addressed them by throwing out the old car and building the 2020 Sentra on a brand new platform, which includes a new independent rear suspension setup and redesigned electric power steering system. While competitors have moved towards a simpler torsion beam rear suspension to keep costs down, Nissan's decision to use an independent setup has instantly leapfrogged the Sentra into a top handler in the segment.

The steering is much sharper than before, though not quite as precise as the Honda Civic. Nissan has included a new feature called Active Understeer Control, which brakes the inside wheel to pull the car through corners. At city and highway cruising speeds, the Sentra now soaks up bumps and road imperfections where the previous car would struggle to maintain composure. Even the SR with its larger 18-inch wheels never felt harsh over low-speed bumps and we might even call the Sentra "fun" to drive. This is an excellent platform for Nissan to build off of and we look forward to the return of a sportier SE-R or Nismo model.

2020 Sentra Interior

2020 Nissan Sentra Central Console Nissan
2020 Nissan Sentra Driver Seat CarBuzz
2020 Nissan Sentra Central Console 1 CarBuzz
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Seating and Interior Space

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater
  • Front Leg Room 44.0 in
  • Front Head Room 38.9 in
  • Rear Leg Room 34.7 in
  • Rear Head Room 36.7 in

2020 Sentra Trunk and Cargo Space

2020 Nissan Sentra Rear Passenger Seats CarBuzz
2020 Nissan Sentra Trunk Space CarBuzz
2020 Nissan Sentra Maximum Cargo Space CarBuzz
  • Trunk Volume
    14.3 ft³

2020 Sentra Safety and Reliability

Warranty

  • Basic:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    5 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles

US NHTSA Crash Test Result

  • Overall Rating
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
  • Side Crash Rating
  • Rollover Rating

Verdict: 🏁Is the 2020 Nissan Sentra a good car?

The last Nissan Sentra was a highly forgettable car. It was built to sit in rental fleet car yards, waiting for travelers needing four wheels and an engine without much care for anything else. Nissan knows it needs to do better to stick with the competition and has delivered a completely redesigned car that is better in every measurable way. The Sentra has improved so much, it is now capable of stirring emotion from the driver instead of slowly grinding down their soul. The exterior is attractive and contemporary, especially when coated with the available two-tone paint job, the interior is miles apart from the last model, and Nissan's Zero Gravity seats are top-notch. Combo this with modern infotainment and the Sentra shapes up as a winner.

The new 2.0-liter engine and CVT transmission combo won't blow you away, but it delivers predictable power and returns impressive fuel economy. What seals the deal for us is the inclusion of advanced safety features such as pedestrian detection and auto emergency braking. Nissan has unequivocally taken the Sentra from fleet to fabulous and the competition should take notice.

Check out other Nissan Sentra Styles

2020 Nissan Sentra Comparisons

Nissan Versa Sedan Nissan
Nissan Altima CarBuzz
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Nissan Sentra149 hp28/37 mpg$19,950
Nissan Versa Sedan 122 hp32/40 mpg$15,580
Nissan Altima 188 hp28/39 mpg$24,900

2020 Nissan Sentra vs Nissan Versa Sedan

The 2020 Nissan Versa is classified as a subcompact four-door sedan and slots in below the Sentra in Nissan's 2020 sedan lineup. The Versa is exclusively available with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine producing 122 hp and 114 lb-ft of torque. Power is sent to the front wheels via your choice of a five-speed manual or CVT auto transmission. The Versa will accelerate to sixty, albeit a little slower to get to top speed than the Sentra, and will manage 27/35/30 mpg city/highway/combined when equipped with the manual transmission. The Versa is also all-new though, and features a much nicer interior than it previously had, however, it still can't match the luxuriant feel of a well equipped Sentra. Since it's smaller than the Sentra, you get less rear legroom, but thanks to a boxy design, there's more headroom on offer. Trunk space is slightly better than what you'll find in the Sentra at 14.7 cubic feet. On the road, the Versa is merely adequate and doesn't inspire confidence on the highway. With the top of the line SR CVT going for $18,240, we'd instead go with the fresh Sentra in base form.

See Nissan Versa Sedan Review

2020 Nissan Sentra vs Nissan Altima

The Altima sits above the Sentra and below the Maxima in Nissan's sedan lineup for 2020 and is classified as a mid-size sedan. The Altima is the first sedan in the Nissan lineup to feature a turbocharged engine: you get a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four producing 236 hp and 267 lb-ft of torque. A 2.5-liter four-pot is also available and produces 188 hp and 180 lb-ft of torque. Power is sent to the front or all four wheels via a CVT transmission. Fuel economy ranges from 28/39/32 mpg city/highway/combined in the base model to 25/35/29 mpg in the 2.5 AWD Platinum AWD. Both the Sentra and Altima share a similar interior design, but the larger Altima offers more passenger and cargo space. On the road, the Altima feels composed and capable, and with the 2.0T engine, driving becomes a pleasure instead of a chore. Both cars share Nissan's Safety Shield 360 and most infotainment options. The Altima is most certainly the more premium package and is more engaging to drive thanks to that turbocharged engine, but starts off with a base price that's over $5,000 more than the cost of the Nissan Sentra. If you won't miss the turbo engine, go for an SV or SR Sentra for most of the luxury and none of the extra cost.

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