Small cars often serve as an entry point for new buyers to a brand, and Nissan’s redesigned 2020 Sentra compact sedan, appearing at the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show, is an appealing update in a class that remains competitive despite some familiar nameplates leaving the market.
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The 2020 Sentra’s exterior closely follows the look of its bigger sibling, the Altima mid-size sedan, but the design works better on the smaller Sentra. A low hood, clean body sides and crisp sheet-metal creases give the sedan a sporty look, and Nissan’s distinctive V-Motion grille works well on the car’s front. There’s a slim piano-black trim piece on the rear roof pillars, which is designed to give the roof a floating appearance, but it’s a bit superfluous; the available contrast-color roof, however, gives the Sentra a dramatic look when paired with one of the car’s bright paint colors.
Front-seat comfort is good, as is over-shoulder and rear visibility. The Sentra has fixed rear head restraints, but they don’t significantly block views out the rear window. Quilted leather upholstery is available, which is an uncommon premium touch for a mainstream compact sedan, and circular air vents are an attractive design touch.
Nissan has lowered the Sentra’s height about 2 inches, and while there’s enough headroom when sitting in the front, there’s not a lot of extra space — especially if you like to drive with the seat in its raised position.
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Backseat comfort for adults is good, but just like in front, there’s not much headroom to spare. There’s good foot room under the front seats and enough legroom for taller passengers to ride comfortably.
The Sentra is Nissan’s all-time best-selling model, and the 2020 version is a solid update that positions it well against competitors like the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla. Pricing will be announced closer to the car’s on-sale date in early 2020, but if it starts anywhere close to the current Sentra’s $18,915 base price, it’ll offer a lot of value for compact car shoppers.
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