The all-new 2020 Sentra represents an exhilarating breakthrough for Nissan’s popular compact sedan – with eye-catching styling, a comprehensive suite of intelligent driving technologies including standard Nissan Safety Shield® 360, advanced connectivity and confident performance provided by a new platform and a new engine.
Sentra is the best-selling Nissan model all-time in the United States, with more than six million deliveries since the model debuted for the 1982 model year. Now in its eighth generation, the 2020 Sentra has a powerful new design that shares muscular, sporty elements from models like Maxima and GT-R. It also features a refined, premium interior that sets new standards for quality and comfort.
Nissan has also made extensive upgrades to Sentra’s driving experience, thanks to a more powerful engine and a new platform featuring an independent rear suspension and rack electric power steering. And like all four members of Nissan’s newly revised sedan lineup, Sentra offers an extensive array of safety and driver-assistance technologies and connectivity technology.
New head-turning style
It all starts with the fundamentals. The all-new Sentra is built on a new platform that provides greatly improved proportions and stance. The new body is about two inches lower and two inches wider than the previous generation, giving it a more powerful stance. The premium presence of the exterior is highlighted by Nissan’s signature V-motion grille, available thin LED headlamps and floating roof.
In front, Sentra’s striking new look is created through use of sharp creases that blend into the muscular body sides. The rear has a lower roofline and wider shoulders, with wheels flush to the body enhancing the strong stance.
The available thin LED projector headlamps are matched with signature LED daytime running lights and rear combination lamp design. LED fog lights are also available. In addition, Intelligent Auto Headlights and High Beam Assist are standard on all Sentra grade levels.
Sentra SR provides a more athletic appearance with a sport-style rear spoiler, black-painted side mirrors with integrated turn signals, lower body side sill extensions, 18-inch diamond-cut aluminum-alloy wheels, dark chrome V-motion grille and chrome exhaust finisher.
Other exterior features include available heated outside mirrors with integrated LED turn signals, body color door handles and an available power sliding glass moonroof with tilt feature.
The fresh slate of available exterior colors includes eight single colors: Electric Blue Metallic, Brilliant Silver Metallic, Gun Metallic, Super Black, Aspen White TriCoat (premium color), Fresh Powder, Rosewood Metallic and Scarlet Ember TriCoat (premium color).
Like Nissan LEAF and Kicks, the 2020 Sentra will also offer two-tone exterior paint combinations, including Super Black/Gun Metallic, Super Black/Aspen White TriCoat (premium color) and Super Black/Monarch Orange Metallic (premium color).
Refinement and attention to detail
The 2020 Sentra’s all-new interior is more refined and more luxurious – creating a high-quality experience for driver and passengers unexpected in the compact sedan segment. Attention to detail and craftsmanship can be found throughout the interior, with satin chrome aluminum accents, the intuitive placement of controls, contrast seat stitching and a standard D-shaped steering wheel. They combine to give the interior a premium, refined feel added to what is expected to be among the quietest cabins in its class.
No detail was spared in the new Sentra, with extra care taken on driver touch points like the feel of the steering wheel in the driver’s hand, the smooth operations of the dials and switches and available leather appointed seats. The combined effect is an impression of premium quality well beyond expectations for the segment.
Standard features include Nissan’s renowned Zero Gravity front seats, which help optimize posture positioning for enhanced comfort during long distance driving. A 6-way manual driver’s seat and 4-way manual front passenger’s seat are standard, with a 6-way power driver’s seat with 2-way lumbar support also available. The rear seat is a 60/40 split fold-down design. Heated front seats and a heated steering wheel are also available – part of Sentra’s unexpected premium content.
Seating materials range from standard or upgraded cloth to Prima-Tex™ leatherette and sport cloth with orange stitching (SR grade). Premium quilted leather-appointed seating (front and rear) is offered on SV grades as part of the SV Premium Package.
Other interior features include front and rear door pockets, front center console with padded armrest and cupholders, rear seat armrest with cupholders, tilt and telescopic steering column, power windows with driver’s one-touch auto up/down with auto reverse, power door locks with auto-locking feature, remote keyless entry with push button start, RearView Monitor and Rear Door Alert.
Also available are dual zone automatic temperature control, Nissan Intelligent Key® and remote engine start1.
Enhanced convenience and connectivity
The all-new Sentra was designed to make owners feel in control and safely connected to the world around them. At the heart of that connectivity, is a 4.2-inch digital multi-information driver’s display and a standard 7.0-inch color touchscreen with Bluetooth® Hands-free Phone System, Hands-Free Text Messaging Assistant, Siri® Eyes Free and Google Assistant™ Voice Recognition.
On SV and higher grades, there is also an available advanced 7.0-inch digital Advanced Drive-Assist Display paired to a floating 8.0-inch multi-touch center display with available amenities such as NissanConnect® featuring Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™ for seamless integration. Sentra also offers driver assist technologies like available Intelligent Cruise Control and Intelligent Around View® Monitor for a more confident drive.
The standard Sentra audio system is an AM/FM system with four speakers and USB connection port (Type A) for iPod® and other compatible devices. Sentra SV and SR grades add two front USB ports (1 Type A, 1 Type C) and one charge-only USB port (Type A) at the rear of the center console. Other available audio systems include a 6-speaker AM/FM system and an 8-speaker Bose® Premium Audio system. Also available is SiriusXM® Radio (SiriusXM® subscription required, sold separately).
A new, confident driving experience
The 2020 Sentra also stands apart from the previous generation with use of a new, larger and more powerful engine and key suspension enhancements.
The new, fuel-efficient 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine replaces the previous 1.8-liter design. Horsepower is now rated at 149 hp, an increase of 20 percent over the previous model. The new powerplant’s 146 lb.-ft of torque represents a 17 percent increase.
All 2020 Sentra models come equipped with the latest generation Xtronic transmission. The Sentra’s acceleration feel is enhanced with a D-mode step shift program that simulates shifts, giving a more natural acceleration feeling without holding a high rpm constant, letting rpms build as speed builds. The D-step logic control helps provide enhanced drivability with a stable, natural and crisp shift feel.
Fuel economy2 is rated at 29 mpg city, 39 mpg highway and 33 mpg combined for the S and SV grades and 28 mpg city, 37 mpg highway and 32 mpg combined for the SR grade.
Other key areas of improvement include enhanced body control, steering response, engine response and torque feel, and even wind noise and seat holding. Sentra’s top-level driving dynamics start with the new independent rear suspension, which is matched to a McPherson strut front suspension. Twin-tube shock absorbers are utilized on every corner.
In addition, the center of gravity has been lowered, in part, through use of the 2.4-inch wider track and 2.2-inch lower overall height. Lateral grip has been increased by four percent and the driver’s seat hip point is also lower. Traffic and wind noise have been reduced through improved door and window sealing, body sealing and expanded use of soft acoustic materials.
A new dual pinion rack electric power steering system, a first for use on Sentra, aids steering feel and maneuverability. Every 2020 Sentra also includes Nissan’s advanced Active Understeer Control system. The system uses intelligent control logic and high-response brake actuators to lightly brake the inside front wheels during cornering (as required) to increase yaw-moment. The cumulative of all these changes is enhanced handling, stability and ride comfort, providing a greater sense of driver confidence and control.
Several stylish wheel and tire combinations are offered, starting with 16-inch wheels with 205/60R16 all-season tires with 205/55R16 all-season tires on S grade and 16-inch aluminum-alloy wheels 205/55R16 all-season tires on SV grade. Sentra SV is also available with 17-inch 10-spoke aluminum-alloy wheels with 205/50R17 all-season tires, while 18-inch 10-spoke aluminum-alloy wheels with 215/45R18 all-season tires are standard on the SR grade.
Standard Nissan Safety Shield 360
Advanced safety and driver assist technologies are now widely available on Nissan sedans and the new Sentra is no exception. Nissan Safety Shield™ 360, a suite of six advanced driver-assist systems, is standard on all 2020 Sentra grade levels.
Safety Shield 360 includes Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Blind Spot Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Departure Warning, High Beam Assist and Rear Automatic Braking.
In addition, Sentra’s list of standard safety and security features include the Nissan Advanced Air Bag System with dual-stage supplemental front air bags with seat belt and occupant classification sensors; roof-mounted curtain side impact supplemental air bags with rollover sensor for front and rear-seat outboard occupant head protection; driver and front passenger seat-mounted side-impact supplemental air bags; rear passenger seat-mounted side-impact supplemental air bags; and driver and front passenger knee supplemental air bags.
Also standard are 3-point front and rear seatbelts, front seat belts with pre-tensioners and load limiters and adjustable upper anchors; and LATCH System (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children).
Sentra also offers child safety rear door locks; zone body construction featuring front and rear crumple zones and occupant zone; Nissan Immobilizer system and anti-theft alarm system; and Tire Pressure Monitoring System with position monitoring and available Easy-Fill Tire Alert system. Also standard is Intelligent Driver Alertness3.
A simplified lineup
For 2020, the Sentra grade walk has been simplified – S, SV and SR – and just two option packages. Sentra S includes 16-inch steel wheels with full covers, remote keyless entry with push button start, center console with storage and much more.
Sentra SV adds 16-inch aluminum-alloy wheels with 205/60R16 all-season tires, NissanConnect featuring Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™, 8-inch color display with multi-touch control, 6-speaker audio system, dzone auto climate control, Intelligent Cruise Control, upgraded cloth interior and more.
The sporty Sentra SR includes 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels with 215/45R18 all-season tires, dark chrome V-motion grille, LED headlights with LED Daytime Running Lights, LED fog lights, sport cloth interior with orange stitching, rear spoiler and lower body side sill extensions.
The SV Premium Package includes thin-type LED headlights with LED daytime running lights, 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, power sliding glass moonroof with tilt feature, quilted leather-appointed seats (front and rear), 6-way power driver’s seat with 2-way power lumbar, heated front seats and leather shift knob.
The SR Premium Package features thin-type LED headlights with LED daytime running lights, power sliding glass moonroof with tilt feature, heated steering wheel, heated front seats, Prima-Tex™ seats (front and rear), 6-way power driver’s seat with 2-way power lumbar, 8-speaker Bose premium audio system, Intelligent Around View® Monitor, auto-dimming rearview mirror and sun visors with illuminated vanity mirrors.
Rod is a blogger, writer, filmmaker, photographer, daydreamer who likes to cook. Rod produces and directs the web series, CUPIC: Diary of an Investigator. He is also the editor, producer and administrator of TNC Network.