2020 Nissan Sentra: 6 Things We Like (and 3 Not So Much)

nissan-sentra-sr-2020-03-angle--exterior--orange--rear.jpg 2020 Nissan Sentra SR | photo by Brian Wong

No, it’s not an Altima: The Nissan Sentra got a full redesign for the 2020 model year, and it looks a lot sportier than the outgoing model. Now riding on a brand-new platform, this compact car is blowing its predecessors out of the water.

Related: 2020 Nissan Sentra Review: From Bad to Good

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2020 Nissan Sentra SV
16,149 mi.
Good Deal
2020 Nissan Sentra SV
19,818 mi.
Fair Deal

Nissan needed to make some drastic changes with this redesign of the Sentra to keep up with the rest of the compact car class, and it really delivered. With the new platform and a new engine under the hood, the Sentra feels fresh. Many of the previous generation’s issues — a lack of standard safety features, odd exterior styling and subpar driving experience — have been resolved, but some of the additions, like the new powertrain, come with their own issues.

In the market for a Nissan Sentra and want to know everything there is to know? Take a look at’s comprehensive review by Brian Wong through the related link above. If you just want the quick rundown, however, here are six things we like about 2020 Nissan Sentra and three we don’t.

Things We Like

1. Smooth Ride

The redesigned Sentra provides a pretty comfortable ride on its new platform; the multilink rear suspension takes bumpy roads well. It also feels sharp in curves and corners, with controlled body roll. The front of the car turns in fast and the rest quickly follows suit. The steering wheel also has the right amount of weight to give proper feedback about what the tires are doing.

nissan-sentra-sv-2020-01-exterior--front--red.jpg 2020 Nissan Sentra SV | photo by Brian Wong

2. Fresh Exterior Look

The Sentra gets a new exterior design for 2020, and it’s a little lower, wider and sportier than the upright-looking previous generation. The result is a car that looks a lot like its stablemate, the mid-size Altima sedan, with a plunging V-Motion grille, low hood and clean lines. The available contrast-color roof, however, gives the Sentra a dramatic look of its own.

3. High-Quality Interior in Upper Trims

The top SV and SR trims, equipped with their respective Premium packages, bring a little luxury to the Sentra’s interior (imitation leather seats in the SR and quilted leather upholstery in the SV). At the top, there doesn’t really appear to be too much difference between these two trims with Premium packages: Both get a glass moonroof and heated front seats.

4. Updated Tech

Dashboard tech in the Sentra also gets an upgrade. A 7-inch multimedia touch screen is now standard, and an 8-inch screen is available in the upper two trims. The 8-inch screen has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.

nissan-sentra-sv-2020-12-cockpit-shot--front-row--interior--two-tone.jpg 2020 Nissan Sentra SV | photo by Brian Wong

5. Safety Is Standard

Nissan’s Safety Shield 360 suite of safety tech and driver assistance features is standard in the Sentra. It includes forward and reverse automatic braking, blind spot warning, lane departure warning and automatic high beams; many of the Sentra’s competitors don’t offer standard reverse automatic braking. In the upper two trim levels, adaptive cruise control is added, and it works down to a stop. A 360-degree camera system is available in the SR as part of its Premium Package.

6. Competitive Pricing

The base S trim starts at a cool $20,015 (all prices include destination charges), putting the Sentra neck and neck with competitors like the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic. At the top of their ranges, though, the Civic and Corolla get much more expensive than the highest-priced Sentra: The top SV trim with the Premium Package goes for $24,525.

nissan-sentra-sr-2020-15-interior--second-row.jpg 2020 Nissan Sentra SR | photo by Brian Wong

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Things We Don’t

1. CVT Gets in the Way

Under the Sentra’s hood is a new 2.0-liter four-cylinder that puts out 149 horsepower. It’s enough to get this compact car up and going, but the problem comes in actually accessing that power.  The continuously variable automatic transmission is slow to hit 3,500 rpm, which is when the Sentra really picks up. The CVT also doesn’t seem to want to stay at those higher revs. A selectable driving mode that could change the throttle mapping would help a lot here, but the Sentra only has one selectable mode: Eco.

2. Missing Standard Features

While the upper trims with a Premium Package offer a quality interior, a few things get left out if you don’t opt for the top of the range. Heated front seats and a powered driver’s seat are not standard, and a powered passenger seat isn’t available in the Sentra at all.

3. Unintuitive Multimedia System

Nissan’s built-in multimedia system is simple but also somehow unintuitive. That can be bypassed by plugging in your phone and using the Apple CarPlay or Android Auto functionality, but those integrations are only available on the 8-inch screen in the upper two trims.

nissan-sentra-sv-2020-13-center-stack-display--front-row--interior--two-tone.jpg 2020 Nissan Sentra SV | photo by Brian Wong’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.

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