The just-arriving 2020 Nissan Sentra places the company’s compact sedan on a higher plane altogether compared to what we’ve come to expect from this model over the years. Not only is the car an outstanding piece of styling, but it has substance to match in the form of a new 2.0-litre engine with a husky 149-horsepower, impressive in this class.
The new Sentra is lower and wider and features several very appealing design cues. The grille is cleverly sculpted with a sporty, assertive, look to it and the profile is particularly attractive with its flowing lines. The “kick up” where the rear side window ends adds a lot of character to the car and sets it apart from many plainer rivals.
The lineup has been simplified, according to Nissan, but buyers have lots of choices with five models but no additional packages to confuse things. These are S, S Plus, SV, SR and SR Premium. The SR is the sporty Sentra and includes a rear spoiler, black side mirrors with integrated turn signals, lower body sill extensions, 18-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels and one or two other touches.
All 2020 Sentras use the same 2.0-litre twin-cam engine but two transmissions are available. You can buy the base model with a 6-speed manual transmission and all the other trim levels are equipped with a continuously variable unit (CVT). Other mechanical advancements include a new independent rear suspension and new dual-pinion rack electric power steering that is aimed at upgrading handling and giving the drive a better sense of control.
The Sentra is equipped with what Nissan calls its Safety Shield 360 – a lengthy list of electronic safety aids from emergency braking to lane departure warning. This impressive package comes with all Sentras regardless of trim level. Not too long ago, safety aids like these only came with the top trim levels. Go to one of the trim levels near the top of the roster and you get such features as LED headlamps, all-around view monitor, 6-way power driver’s seat and other goodies.
Like all well thought out modern cars, the Sentra has an impressive range of connectivity features, including, on top models, an 8-inch multi-touch display centre. All models have Bluetooth for mobile phone hands-free usage. S Plus models and the ones above it have heated front seats and outside mirrors.
This new Sentra has an all-new interior and Nissan’s designers set among their targets the creation of an cabin with a premium, refined, ambiance and also one that boasted best-in-class quietness. The front seats are Nissan’s highly regarded Zero Gravity units that improve posturing and increase comfort for long distance driving.
The original Sentra made its debut back in 1982 and has been in the automaker’s lineup ever since. It’s long been Nissan’s best-selling car and with the many attributes the new 8th generation model has to offer, there’s no reason to think it shouldn’t carry on the tradition.
SPECS AT A GLANCE…
BODY STYLE: Compact 4-door sedan
ENGINE: 2.0-litre four-cylinder 149-horsepower
TRANSMISSION: 6-speed manual or Nissan Xtronic CVT
PERFORMANCE: Zero to 100 km/h in approx. 9-secs
FUEL ECONOMY: 8.0-litres/100 km city; 6.0-litres/100 km hwy.
PRICE: Starts at $18,798 MSRP