Here's what you get in a fully-loaded Sentra.
The eighth-generation Nissan Sentra has been completely overhauled and the changes the Japanese carmaker has made are nothing short of astonishing. Once maligned as a boring car designed for rental fleet duty, the Sentra has morphed into a serious compact sedan contender. Nissan offers the Sentra in three trim levels - S, SV, and SR - ranging from $19,090 to $21,430 without any options.
We were sent the sporty SR trim with the Premium Package and two-tone paint, bringing the price up to $25,120. Without the $595 paint job, it's possible to get a fully-optioned Sentra for under $25,000. With many of its competitors exceeding $30,000 when fully equipped, the Sentra is a bargain in this segment and it isn't for lack of features. With the Sentra, you get a lot of bang for your buck.
All Sentra models come with Nissan Safety Shield 360 as standard, which includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning, high beam assist, and rear automatic braking. Stepping up to the SV trim adds adaptive cruise control while the SV Premium Package adds our favorite feature, the Intelligent Around View Monitor. This feature makes sure you will nail the perfect parking job every time.
The Sentra S model comes equipped with a seven-inch color touchscreen with Bluetooth hands-free calling, text messaging assistant, Siri Eyes Free, and Google Assistant Voice Recognition. Stepping up to the SV or SR ups the screen size to eight inches with Apple Carplay and Android Auto connectivity. Four speakers come standard but the SV trim can have up to six speakers while the SR is available with an eight-speaker Bose audio system.
Even the affordable SV trim comes with dual-zone automatic climate control as standard along with cloth seats. The SV Premium Package adds quilted leather seats with a six-way power driver's seat as well as heated front seats. While we prefer the look of the quilted seats, the SR Premium Package heated Prima-Tex seats with orange stitching and a heated steering wheel.
You may not be able to see these features when you step into a Sentra, but the changes under skin are where Nissan has made the most significant improvements to the car. The Sentra now has independent rear suspension at a time when many of its competitors have moved to a more basic torsion beam. Independent rear suspension is more expensive to build but it offers a more compliant ride and sportier driving dynamics, especially when paired with McPherson strut front suspension and a new dual-pinion rack electric power steering system. Nissan has also given the Sentra a new system called Active Understeer Control, which brakes the inside wheel during cornering to improve handling. With all of these improvements, the Sentra has become one of the best driver's cars in the segment.
We aren't lying when we say the Nissan Sentra is now one of the best driving vehicles in the compact segment. But with just 149 horsepower and a continuously variable transmission, we doubt too many Honda Civic Si and Volkswagen Jetta GLI owners will trade in their cars any time soon. We think Nissan has left plenty of room here for a sportier version, whether that be a Nismo variant or a return of the SE-R trim level. Either way, we can't wait to see what the Sentra can do with a turbocharged engine, limited-slip differential, larger brakes, and a manual transmission. A recipe for greatness is begging to be made.