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2020 Nissan Sentra Review

The 2020 Nissan Sentra sits near the bottom of our compact car rankings. It has an unimpressive powertrain and mixed handling, and its rear headroom and cargo space are cramped.

Pros & Cons

  • Numerous standard active safety features
  • Modern interior design
  • Cramped rear headroom
  • Uninspiring engine and transmission
  • Slow-to-respond infotainment system

Rankings & Research

The 2020 Nissan Sentra's #12 ranking is based on its score within the Compact Cars category. Currently the Nissan Sentra has a score of 6.9 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 16 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.




Critics' Rating: 7.2
Performance: 6.2
Interior: 6.4
Safety: 9.6
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Thinking of leasing a Nissan Sentra?

The U.S. News Best Price Program saves users an average of $3,206 off the MSRP, and a lower price equals lower monthly lease payments. That means you could see a savings of $90 a month on a 36-month lease.

Is the Nissan Sentra a Good Car?

The Sentra is an OK car. It's fully redesigned for 2020, but the changes don't go as far as they should. While this compact car has a stronger engine than the previous generation, acceleration is merely OK, and its unrefined transmission further hinders performance. Inside, tight rear headroom, some blasé tech features, and an undersized trunk detract from what's otherwise a decently upscale cabin.

Should I Buy the Nissan Sentra?

You should buy the Sentra if you want a car that comes loaded with driver assistance features at a class-average price. Apart from the Sentra's value-based appeal, there are few reasons to consider it over nearly anything else. The Honda Civic has more dynamic handling than the Sentra, along with a handsome interior, while the Toyota Corolla has great safety scores and a phenomenal predicted reliability rating.

Compare the Sentra, Civic, and Corolla »

Should I Buy a New or Used Nissan Sentra?

Nissan fully redesigned the Sentra for 2020, so buying new will net you a very different car than those from the previous generation, which covered the 2013 through 2019 model years. Despite Nissan's best efforts, however, the redesigned Sentra really doesn’t improve much on the model that it replaces.

In addition to a revamped exterior, which is highlighted by the automaker's V-Motion grille, the new Sentra has a more modern cabin design and nicer materials. The 2020 Sentra also comes with a long list of standard driver assistance features, while older models only came standard with a rearview camera. Some features you can get in the 2020 Sentra – such as reverse automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, driver attention monitoring, and a surround-view parking camera system – are not available in older Sentras at all.

The 2020 Sentra comes standard with a 149-horsepower engine, while the previous generation gave you the choice of a 124-horsepower engine or a 188-horsepower turbocharged mill. Also, while the 2020 model only offers an automatic transmission, you can find older Sentra models with a six-speed manual.

If you decide to go with a model from the previous generation, note that neither Apple CarPlay nor Android Auto were available prior to 2019.

If you're considering an older model, be sure to read our 2017 Sentra, 2018 Sentra, and 2019 Sentra reviews to help make your decision. Also, check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts you can find on used cars.

Compare the 2018, 2019, and 2020 Sentra »

We Did the Research for You: 8 Reviews Analyzed

We analyzed eight Nissan Sentra reviews – along with reliability ratings, fuel economy estimates, and more – to help you decide if the 2020 Sentra is the right new car for you.

This 2020 Sentra review incorporates applicable research for all models in this generation, which launched for 2020.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News & World Report has been ranking cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our team has more than 75 years of combined automotive industry experience. To remain objective, we don't accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies, and an outside team manages the advertising on our site.

How Much Does the Nissan Sentra Cost?

The 2020 Nissan Sentra carries a base price of $19,090, which is about average for a compact car. Two higher trims are only marginally more expensive at $20,270 and $21,430, respectively.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great deals at your local Nissan dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Nissan deals page.

Nissan Sentra Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Nissan Sentra or Honda Civic?

The Honda Civic is a much better compact car than the Sentra. It offers a wide range of powertrains, including some lively turbocharged options, as well as an engaging manual transmission. The Civic also delivers agile handling, in contrast to the Sentra's overall demure driving dynamics. Inside, the Civic's materials and quality are among the best in the class. You can also get the Honda as a hatchback, which offers ample cargo space. Most of the Sentra's strengths, including a long list of standard safety features, are matched by the Civic. There's little reason to buy the Sentra instead of the Civic.

Which Is Better: Nissan Sentra or Toyota Corolla?

The Toyota Corolla stands out in this class for its top-notch predicted reliability rating and abundance of standard features, including active safety technology and infotainment amenities such as Apple CarPlay and a Wi-Fi hot spot. Both of these cars have similar drawbacks, such as underwhelming engine power, unresponsive transmissions, and limited rear headroom. With both of these rivals retailing for less than $20,000, you're better off with the high-ranking Corolla.

Compare the Sentra, Civic, and Corolla »

Sentra Interior

How Many People Does the Sentra Seat?

The Nissan Sentra sedan seats five people. Accommodations are about average for a compact car. The front seats have sufficient head- and legroom for taller drivers and passengers. Repositioning the seats requires a few manual adjustments, though a six-way power-adjustable driver's seat is available. The second row has a good amount of legroom for taller travelers, but headroom is not that great.

Sentra and Child Car Seats

There are two complete sets of LATCH connectors for the Sentra’s rear outboard seats, as well as a single tether anchor for the rear middle seat.

Sentra Interior Quality

This Nissan's cabin feels modern and fresh. There are a few hard plastic surfaces, but most surfaces are soft to the touch and of high quality. Higher-end amenities such as leather-appointed seats are available.

Sentra Cargo Space

The Sentra has 14.3 cubic feet of trunk space, which is slightly below average for a compact car. The trunk opening is wide, making it easy to load in bigger items. A standard 60/40-split-folding rear seat allows to you carry longer items, but the seats don't fold completely flat.

Sentra Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The 2020 Sentra's standard infotainment setup includes a 7-inch touch screen with a basic four-speaker stereo, Bluetooth, two USB ports, and voice recognition.

The touch screen is perched high on the dashboard and is easy to see. Icons and graphics are clear and crisp, if a little plain. There are large physical knobs for climate and volume adjustments. In trims above the base model, you get an 8-inch touch screen that also has support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration. These smartphone systems are a better bet than Nissan's native menus, which can be unintuitive and slow to respond.

Read more about interior »

Sentra Performance

Sentra Engine: Needs Another Option

The 2020 Sentra comes standard with a 149-horsepower four-cylinder engine. That's a noticeable improvement from the standard 124-horsepower variant in the 2019 Sentra.

The new Sentra gets going without much drama, but under heavier acceleration the engine makes a loud droning noise. A continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) comes standard. The CVT contributes to the powertrain's unrefined character and struggles to mesh with the Sentra’s engine.

Sentra Gas Mileage: In the Middle

According to the EPA, the 2020 Sentra gets 29 mpg in the city and 39 mpg on the highway. That’s about average for a compact car.

Sentra Ride and Handling: Well-Balanced

The Sentra generally delivers a comfortable ride. It dispatches most smaller bumps in the road, but larger imperfections, such as big potholes, are noticeable. When taking corners, this sedan remains planted with little body roll. However, steering feedback receives mixed reviews.

Read more about performance »

Sentra Reliability

Is the Nissan Sentra Reliable?

J.D. Power gives the 2020 Nissan Sentra a predicted reliability rating of 3.5 out of five, which is slightly above average for the industry.

Nissan Sentra Warranty

Nissan covers the Sentra with a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Read more about reliability »

Sentra Safety

Sentra Crash Test Results

At the time of writing, neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has crash tested the redesigned 2020 Nissan Sentra.

Sentra Safety Features

The 2020 Sentra comes standard with the Nissan Safety Shield 360 bundle of active safety technology, which consists of forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, forward and reverse automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, automatic high-beam headlights, and lane departure warning. Driver attention monitoring, a rearview camera, and a rear-seat reminder are also standard.

Optional driver assistance features include adaptive cruise control and a surround-view parking camera system.

Read more about safety »

Sentra Dimensions and Weight

The Nissan Sentra is 15.2 feet long. Its curb weight ranges from 3,045 to 3,084 pounds.

Where Is the 2020 Nissan Sentra Built?

Nissan builds the 2020 Sentra in Japan.

Which Nissan Sentra Model Is Right for Me?

The 2020 Nissan Sentra four-door sedan is available in three trim levels: S, SV, and SR. All models come standard with a four-cylinder engine, a continuously variable automatic transmission, and front-wheel drive.

The base model comes standard with many driver assistance features, so if safety is your priority, you shouldn’t feel the need to upgrade to a higher trim. However, we recommend stepping up to the SV trim to get a larger infotainment touch screen, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration, and conveniences like proximity keyless entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, and adaptive cruise control. The SV is also the only trim in the lineup to offer genuine leather upholstery, which can be added via an optional package.

Nissan Sentra S

The 2020 Nissan Sentra S starts at $19,090. Standard features include cloth upholstery, manually adjustable front seats, and a 7-inch touch-screen infotainment system with a four-speaker stereo, Bluetooth, two USB ports, and voice recognition.

Standard driver assistance features include forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, forward and reverse automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning, automatic high-beam headlights, a rearview camera, a rear-seat reminder, and driver attention monitoring.

Nissan Sentra SV

The Nissan Sentra SV retails for $20,270 and includes upgraded cloth upholstery, a 7-inch digital instrument cluster display, proximity keyless entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, adaptive cruise control, remote start, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, aluminum-alloy wheels, and heated outside mirrors.

The SV also features an upgraded infotainment system with an 8-inch touch screen, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, NissanConnect services, satellite radio, an additional USB port, and a six-speaker stereo.

The optional Premium package costs $2,460 and comes with quilted leather upholstery, a moonroof, a six-way power-adjustable driver's seat, heated front seats, larger wheels, and a leather-wrapped shift knob.

Nissan Sentra SR

The Nissan Sentra SR has a starting MSRP of $21,430. It mostly mimics the SV's features, and it also comes with LED low-beam headlights and fog lights, as well as sportier interior and exterior styling elements.

In the Sentra SR, the Premium package costs $2,170 and includes synthetic leather upholstery, a moonroof, a heated steering wheel, heated front seats, a six-way power-adjustable driver's seat, an eight-speaker Bose premium stereo, a surround-view parking camera system, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Nissan dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Nissan deals page.

See 2020 Nissan Sentra specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2020 Nissan Sentra is a decent compact car, but it’s outclassed by nearly every other car in the class. Most rivals are more engaging to drive, and many offer better seating accommodations and more intuitive technology than the Sentra.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "If you're looking for a commuter car, it's absolutely worth consideration on the basis of feature content, interior comfort, and even style. But if you're at all particular about the actual driving experience, it's much tougher to make a case for the 2020 Nissan Sentra." -- Car and Driver
  • "The new 2020 Sentra manages to be a nicer car to drive and to live with, without sacrificing the value proposition. Sure, it's pricier than the last model, but it also comes standard with a full suite of in-demand safety features and driver aids. Buyers doing apples-to-apples comparisons will find a lot of reasons to consider this Sentra." -- Edmunds
  • "As a value proposition, at least, the 2020 Sentra makes a strong case for itself." -- CNET


Expert Advice

Last Updated: July 16, 2020

Nosediving Sales: The Sentra currently places in the upper third in compact car sales in 2020. However, this year sales have plunged by 60.2 percent relative to the same span in 2019. 

Research more buying advice »
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2020 Nissan Sentra

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