The Sentra is a compact sedan, so like all vehicles in this segment, taller and larger adults will find the accommodations a bit tight, as will people who are accustomed to larger offerings (though it’s worth noting that the rear seat is roomy for the segment, and trunk space isn’t bad either).
This is not a luxury vehicle, nor it is trying to be one. The materials are all pretty standard and non-flashy inside. That’s the norm for this segment, so it’s no knock on the Sentra.
Nissan does a decent job with the exterior design of the Sentra, though it’s not going to turn any heads. 16-inch aluminum alloy wheels are standard.
Inside, you have some comfort features offered, including: Dual-zone automatic temperature control; Adjustable driver’s seat; sliding front armrest and rear seat center armrest; Power windows and door; and push-button ignition. One nice touch is the leather-wrapped steering wheel. You also have automatic headlights, cruise control, and 60/40 fold-down rear seats.
Package options are genuinely affordable on the Sentra. One package that stands out as a good value is the Special Edition package, where for $1,000 you will get some nice offerings including: an upgrade to 17-inch wheels, power sliding glass moonroof with tilt, Blind Spot Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Intelligent Cruise Control, and more.
The all-weather package (for just $300) includes heated front seats and heated outside mirrors — another good deal.
HOW’S THE RIDE?
The Sentra I tested (an SV trim level) was powered by a 1.8-liter, 4-cylinder engine, which was paired with an Xtronic CVT transmission. Output was 124 horsepower and 125 lb.-ft. of torque.
To be kind, this was not a fast vehicle, quite the opposite in fact. It takes 10 seconds or more to get to 60 mph, and there’s a bit of a whine from the engine. An eco-mode is also offered if you want to slow things down even further to help push the fuel-sipping to maximum level.
One advantage of this being a smaller and lighter car though, is that the ride is quite agile. It’s easy to maneuver, and responsive to all driver input. All Sentra models feature front-wheel drive only.
Of note: Those seeking more excitement out of their Sentra can pony up some extra bucks and go for the NISMO trim level, which boasts 188 horsepower and 177 lb.-ft. of torque.
Government test ratings for the Sentra were excellent (4 stars overall, and either 4 or 5 stars in all categories).
While not loaded with safety features, you do get a decent amount of offerings. The Sentra comes with: A variety of air bags, anti-lock brakes, traction control system, tire pressure monitoring System, security system, Nissan vehicle immobilizer system, automatic emergency braking, and a rearview monitor.
The Nissan Connect infotainment comes standard on most Sentra models. While the system’s look and design do not distinguish it from the competition, it is well-organized and easy to use. Voice commands work well for audio and phone control.
The system features a 7-inch color touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, SiriusXM satellite radio, Bluetooth connection, hands-free text messaging assistant, and an AM/FM audio system with 6 speakers. There are several USB ports in the vehicle.
While not the most technologically advanced compact sedan, there’s enough here to please most people, plus the Special Edition package mentioned above adds helpful safety features not always found in this segment.
Official numbers on the Sentra are 29 city/37 highway/32 combined. I averaged about 30 mpg during my time in the vehicle, but wasn’t focused on maximizing fuel mileage. Compared to other compact sedans (Chevy Cruze, Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Mazda3, Hyundai Elantra, etc.), the numbers on the Sentra are near the top of the heap.
The Sentra is priced to sell. My test vehicle was just over $21,000, and the base price with manual transmission starts about $18K. And as I mentioned, adding on helpful features is really inexpensive, a rarity in today’s automotive world.
Despite not being overly fancy or speedy, the 2019 Nissan Sentra checks enough boxes to remain a strong small car option for younger buyers or those who mostly ride solo and don’t need the expansive space offered by larger vehicles.
Matt Myftiu can be found on Twitter @MattMyftiu.