As the top trim, the SR gets contrasting exterior accents, LED lights and 18-inch wheels. Leather seats are optional. PHOTO: NISSAN

As the top trim, the SR gets contrasting exterior accents, LED lights and 18-inch wheels. Leather seats are optional. PHOTO: NISSAN

2020 Nissan Sentra: More than a redesign, this small sedan is a statement

The Nissan Sentra’s current iteration, which arrived in early 2020, is unchanged for 2021

Although there are vast quantities of utility vehicles and crossovers being consumed by the masses, there are still a number of affordable, solid-performing sedans such as the Nissan Sentra to consider.

First introduced for the 1991 model year, the Sentra brand has been a bright spot on Nissan’s sales ledger: More than six million of the compact sedans have been sold worldwide. The current iteration, which arrived in early 2020 and is unchanged for 2021, is totally new from the ground up in an effort to keep pace with the class-leading Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic and Kia Forte.

Compared with the previous Sentra’s bodywork, there really is no comparison. The design is leaner and more stylish, with an enlarged signature V-shaped grille, more prominent hood and fender creases and a tapered “floating” roofline that elegantly blends into the trunk.

The biggest complaint about the previous Sentra was a lack of sufficient get up and go, an issue rectified for the new model, a 2.0-litre four-cylinder rated at 149 horsepower and 146 pound-feet of torque. PHOTO: NISSAN

The biggest complaint about the previous Sentra was a lack of sufficient get up and go, an issue rectified for the new model, a 2.0-litre four-cylinder rated at 149 horsepower and 146 pound-feet of torque. PHOTO: NISSAN

Although only slightly longer than before and with more space between the front and rear wheels, the width has increased by about five centimetres and the roof has been lowered by about the same. Combined with the new bodywork, the effect is a more substantial and sportier-looking sedan with a lower centre of gravity. The new Sentra could pass for its midsize Altima sibling.

The Sentra’s interior is as fresh as the exterior, with a flat-bottom steering wheel, seven- or eight-inch touch-screens (depending on the trim) and a 4.2-inch display between the speedometer and tachometer. There are also Zero Gravity posture-assist front seats that the automaker has installed in many of its other vehicles. They are designed to provide more back support, which helps reduce fatigue on long trips. From experience, they are effective.

Nissan has also added more sound deadening and improved the door and window seals.

The current Sentra is slightly longer than before and it’s also five centimetres wider. The roofline is lower, which also lowers the centre of gravity. PHOTO: NISSAN

The current Sentra is slightly longer than before and it’s also five centimetres wider. The roofline is lower, which also lowers the centre of gravity. PHOTO: NISSAN

The biggest complaint about the previous Sentra was a lack of sufficient get up and go, an issue that was been rectified for the new model. A 2.0-litre four-cylinder rated at 149 horsepower and 146 pound-feet of torque replaced the previous 1.8-litre four-cylinder (124 horsepower and 125 pound-feet).

The engine is linked to a six-speed manual transmission (standard with the base model) or optional continuously variable unit (CVT) with built-in steps to simulate the driving characteristics of a conventional automatic.

Official fuel-consumption stats are 8.0 l/100 km in the city, 6.0 highway and 33 combined (CVT).

Underpinning it all is a new platform that Nissan says is more rigid than before. The previous torsion-beam rear suspension has also been replaced by a multi-link independent setup, claimed to improve the ride and driving characteristics, especially during cornering.

Pricing begins at $20,900 for the base S trim (add $1,600 for the CVT), which includes Nissan’s Safety Shield 360 grouping that bundles technology such as blind-spot warning and forward and reverse emergency braking. The only omission to the collection of active-safety technology is the optional Intelligent Cruise control that maintains a set distance from the vehicle in front.

The mid-grade SV gets that along with dual-zone climate control, upgraded cloth interior and 16-inch alloy wheels (steel wheels and covers are standard). Other SV content includes heated front seats and outside mirrors plus an Around View monitor that gives the driver a 360-degree view of his or her surroundings.

At the top end, the SR gets LED headlights, running lights and fog lights, as well as a darkened grille and outside mirrors. There’s also a rear spoiler, extra body garnish and 18-inch wheels. Leather-covered seats are optional for the SR.

It appears that Nissan has gone to great lengths to create a competent compact sedan that’s head and shoulders above its predecessor. Will that be enough to meet or upstage the top competitors in its class? Or the small utility vehicles that many buyers seem to prefer? Those are lofty goals, but taken on its own, the new Sentra leaves little on the table.

Most automakers have upped their interior games, which is also the case with the Sentra. Along with modern displays and connectivity, there’s a flat-bottom steering wheel and Zero Gravity seats. PHOTO: NISSAN

Most automakers have upped their interior games, which is also the case with the Sentra. Along with modern displays and connectivity, there’s a flat-bottom steering wheel and Zero Gravity seats. PHOTO: NISSAN

What you should know: 2021 Nissan Sentra

Type: Four-door, front-wheel-drive compact sedan

Engine (h.p.): 2.0-litre DOHC I-4 (149)

Transmissions: Six-speed manual; continuously variable

Market position: With virtually every domestic-based automaker having abandoned the compact-sedan category, the market has been left to vehicles such as the Sentra and the dominant Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla.

Points: The latest design is a drastic improvement. • Interior makeover leans to the premium side. • Standard four-cylinder engine produces adequate power. • Wide array of active-safety tech is standard. • Returning the NISMO model to the lineup would create some much-needed performance to the brand. • The equally new and less expensive Versa represents another choice for small-sedan buyers.

Active Safety: Blind-spot warning with cross-traffic backup alert (std.); active cruise control (opt.); front and rear emergency braking (std.); inattentive-driver alert (std.); lane-departure warning (std.)

L/100 km (city/hwy): 8.0/6.0 (CVT)

Base price (incl. destination): $20,900

BY COMPARISON

Toyota Corolla sedan

  • Base price: $20,550
  • Redesigned sedan and hatchback; hybrid options available.

Honda Civic sedan

  • Base price: $21,500
  • Exceptionally roomy, it can be had in sedan, coupe and hatchback body styles.

Kia Forte

  • Base price: $18,700
  • A well-priced and well-equipped small car. A 201-h.p. turbo I-4 is optional.

– written by Malcom Gunn, Managing Partner at Wheelbase Media

If you’re interested in new or used vehicles, be sure to visit TodaysDrive.com to find your dream car today! Like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram

AutomotivecarsSUVsTrucks

Just Posted

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

North Cowichan’s committee of the whole have rejected staff’s recommendation to limit the use of fireworks to Halloween. (File photo)
North Cowichan rejects limiting fireworks to Halloween

Municipality decides staff recommendation would be unpopular

Things are looking up for Vancouver Island as zero COVID-19 cases have been reported for the first time since October. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Island records zero new COVID-19 cases for the first time since October

For the first time since October, the province is reporting zero new… Continue reading

CVRD Area E director Alison Nicholson, right, hiked two hours to Waterfall Camp at the Fairy Creek watershed along with Comox town councillor Nicole Minion and Comox Valley Regional District director Daniel Arbour to meet with old-growth logging activists on Monday, June 7. (Submitted)
Cowichan Valley regional director visits Fairy Creek protest camps

‘They clearly communicated that they are committed to what they are doing’

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Karl and Stephanie Ann Johanson were thrilled to spot a pair of Sandhill Cranes in the Panama Flats this month, an unusual appearance for such birds. (Photo by Stephanie Ann Johanson)
WATCH: Sandhill cranes an unusual, joyful sight in South Island parkland

These birds don’t often touch down on their way between northern B.C. and Mexico

(V.I. Trail/Google Maps)
Now 90% complete, Vancouver Island trail forges new funding parnership

Victoria Foundation takes on Vancouver Island Trail Association; fund valued at $40,000

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Freighters have becomd abundant in the Trincomali Channel on the east side of Thetis Island.
Nanaimo ponders taking on waste from nearby anchored freighters

Vancouver-based Tymac petitioning the Regional District of Nanaimo to accept waste at its landfill

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Most Read