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

Festivals Kelowna president Richard Groves and executive director Renata Mills wrap themselves in the flag during the announcement of preparations for the 2018 Canada Day festival. (Alistair Waters/Capital News)
Festivals Kelowna cancels Canada Day celebrations for second year in a row

The group cited logistic issues in their announcement

Central Okanagan Public Schools is assisting with the distribution of a donation of $500 to every Grade 12 graduating student in the school district. (File photo)
Central Okanagan Grade 12 grads get $500 surprise

Anonymous donor gifts $500 to every Grade 12 student

A vehicle was fully engulfed in flames before around 11:10 p.m. Wednesday, June 16, 2021. (Kerry Hutter - contributed)
UPDATE: Kelowna man cuffed after carjacking in Vernon

Crime spree: Man robs couple at Coldstream lookout at gunpoint, sets a vehicle ablaze

Lady Dia, pictured with her son Glory, is a Kelowna artist. She recently received $10,000 in funding for her podcast MoM:ents. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)
Lady Dia selected as City of Kelowna’s artist in residence

Dia will release a project designed to discuss and shape the future of a more inclusive Kelowna

A Sycamore Road home in Kelowna has been cordoned as police conduct an investigation after a man was found dead at the residence at around 1:30 a.m. on June 17. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna RCMP investigate death at ‘house from hell’

RCMP said that the incident is isolated in nature

Bear wanders Kelowna on June 15. (Michelle Wallace/Facebook)
Bear climbs fence, uses crosswalk in Kelowna

The bear was spotted on Baron Road Wednesday evening

Jeanette Megens
KCR: Volunteering is sharing your story

Kelowna Community Resources shares stories of its volunteers in a weekly column

201 First Street West 1980s. Prior revitalization. (Photo from Revelstoke Museum and Archives)
Man who redesigned downtown Revelstoke honoured with lifetime achievement award

Robert Inwood has worked on historical projects across the province

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

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

The weekly COVID-19 map for June 6 to 12. (BC CDC)
South Okanagan sees only 5 new cases in last week

The Similkameen Valley went a second week without any new cases

A heart of ribbons is seen on the fence of Highroad Academy along Chilliwack Central Road on Friday, June 4, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Orange Heart Memorial campaign launches in Vernon on National Indigenous Peoples Day

North Okanagan Friendship Center raising funds for bench, mural memorializing 215 discovered in Kamloops

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

Most Read