Driven: 2022 Nissan Sentra Pairs Affordability With Stellar Features

Test Drive / 3 Comments

Bose audio, a surround-view camera, and more for around $25,000.

It's been a few years since we've driven Nissan's affordable compact sedan, the Sentra. Last overhauled for the 2020 model year, the 2022 Nissan Sentra adds minor changes, including the addition of a Midnight Edition Package that makes the handsome car look sportier. Though the Sentra isn't drastically different, its market has changed with refreshed entrants like the Honda Civic and Hyundai Elantra.

So, is Nissan's offering still worth considering in such a crowded segment with many great options? We hopped into a 2022 Sentra SR for a week to find out.

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Black Wheels Complete The Look

We've enjoyed the eight-generation Sentra's design since it debuted a few years ago; it's one of the more classically styled cars in its segment, where much of the competition has opted for more curves and sculpted lines. Nissan previously offered a black two-tone roof, but has now added two ways to compliment it with black wheels. There's the aforementioned Midnight Edition Package, available as a $695 package on top of the SR trim, or a $690 standalone option.

The Midnight Edition seems like a better value on the surface because it includes 18-inch black wheels, a black V-Motion grille, black rear spoiler, black badging, and a black rear diffuser for only five additional dollars. But if you opt for this package, you can not get the SR Premium Package, which offers a ton of useful features.

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Strong Features

As mentioned earlier, the Sentra SR trim is available with a Premium Package for $2,470. It's a hefty add-on, but it bundles a glass moonroof, Bose audio system with eight speakers, LED projector headlights, Prima-Tex seats with orange stitching, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, power driver's seat, built-in Wi-Fi, and a surround-view monitor - a rare feature in this class.

At only $22,700, the Sentra SR is still highly affordable. Adding the Premium Package barely pushes the price over $25,000 while adding many features that can only be found in more expensive competitors. That surround-view monitor is almost unheard of in this segment, especially not at this price.

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Safety Tech Could Be Improved

Nissan Safety Shield 360 comes standard on every Sentra trim level, which includes six driver-assist systems: automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning, high beam assist, and rear automatic braking. Opting for the mid-level SV trim ($21,030) adds adaptive cruise control, a welcomed feature on any vehicle.

However, Nissan's adaptive cruise is far from the best we've tested. It can bring the car to a complete stop, but will only hold it there for a few seconds. This means the system isn't useful in stop-and-go traffic, our favorite time to use adaptive cruise. We'd like to see Nissan add its ProPILOT Assist system to the Sentra, though this would likely be tough at the current price.

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Can We Please Get An SE-R?

Powering the Sentra is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder developing a modest 149 horsepower and 146 lb-ft of torque. These are not the lowest output figures in the compact sedan segment, but they are far from class-leading. Whether it's a hybrid or a turbocharged option, we'd like to see Nissan branch out with a more potent Sentra variant. The last-generation Sentra Nismo was a major disappointment, so in our dreams, Nissan would bring back the SE-R with the three-cylinder VC Turbo from the Rogue, larger brakes, grippier tires, and stiffer suspension.

The standard suspension setup on the Sentra is already quite good, the chassis is just begging for more power. The VC Turbo produces 201 hp in the Rogue, which would make a revived SE-R the perfect competitor for the Kia Forte GT, Honda Civic Si, and Hyundai Elantra N-Line.

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