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2018 Nissan Sentra Review

The 2018 Nissan Sentra may be one of the roomiest sedans in the class, but that’s not enough to outweigh its bland performance, lack of modern tech features, and outdated cabin design. For all those reasons and more, it lands near the bottom of our compact car rankings.

Pros & Cons

  • Spacious trunk
  • Ample legroom in both rows
  • Gentle ride
  • Anemic engine lineup
  • Outdated cabin design
  • No Apple CarPlay or Android Auto

7.4

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 6.6
Performance: 5.3
Interior: 7.8
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.8
Safety: 9.3
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2018 Nissan Sentra Overview

Is the 2018 Nissan Sentra a Good Used Car?

Despite its ranking, the 2018 Nissan Sentra is a decent compact car.

The 2018 Sentra has several strengths:

  • Gentle ride over most roads
  • Spacious second-row seats
  • Large trunk

But it also has a few flaws:

  • Underwhelming engines
  • Not as sporty as some rivals
  • Cabin has fewer modern tech features than competitors
  • Select ownership costs are high for the class
Why You Can Trust Us

Our goal is to provide you with the information you need to make car shopping a breeze. You'll find everything you need to know about this vehicle in our comprehensive Nissan Sentra review. It combines concrete data like predicted reliability ratings, crash test results, and cargo space dimensions with professional evaluations from 50 automotive sources.

U.S. News & World Report has been reviewing cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our Best Cars team has more than 75 years of combined automotive industry experience. We care about cars, but we care more about providing useful consumer advice. To ensure our impartiality, an independent party handles our advertising, and our editorial team doesn’t accept expensive gifts from automakers.

How Much Is the 2018 Nissan Sentra?

Based on listings for the 2018 Nissan Sentra on our site, the average price is $15,400, which is below average for the class. Prices range from $12,100 to $19,500 and vary depending on the vehicle’s condition, mileage, features, and location.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Much Does the 2018 Nissan Sentra Cost to Own?

The 2018 Sentra’s five-year costs for gas, insurance, repairs, and maintenance are projected to be $24,300 or $4,860 per year. That’s well above average among compact cars.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New Sentra?

Nissan introduced Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as options for the Sentra’s 2019 model year. The 2019 Sentra also got a larger standard touch screen that now measures 7 inches instead of 5. If those are important to you, consider a new Nissan Sentra. On the other hand, you could stick with a used model, which offers many of the same features and likely costs less.

Read about the new Sentra »

Nissan redesigned the Sentra for the 2013 model year, but most shoppers will want to stick with a 2016 model or newer. For 2016, Nissan retuned the Sentra’s suspension and improved the cabin insulation. Additionally, a few more safety features became available for 2016, such as forward collision warning with brake assist. The SR Turbo and Nismo trims launched for the 2017 model year, and the 2018 Sentra saw no major changes. You could spend less money buying an older model and get a virtually identical vehicle.

Compare the 2017, 2018, and 2019 Sentra »

See the Best New Car Deals »

See the Best New Car Lease Deals »

How Reliable Is the 2018 Sentra?

The 2018 Nissan Sentra has a slightly above-average predicted reliability rating of 3.5 out of five from J.D. Power.

Read more about Sentra reliability »

2018 Nissan Sentra Recalls

As of this writing, there is one recall for the 2018 Sentra:

  • The rearview camera may fail to display an image

Before buying a used Sentra, make sure this issue has been addressed.

See more information on Nissan Sentra safety recalls »

Which Used Nissan Sentra Trim Is Right for Me?

Nissan offers the Sentra in six trim levels: S, SV, SR, SR Turbo, SL, and Nismo.

Most trims have the 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine, but the performance-oriented SR Turbo and Nismo models have a slightly more capable turbocharged engine. Shoppers after more comfort and tech features should start with the SV or SR trims.

  • Nissan Sentra S: The entry-level Sentra S has a six-speed manual transmission, a 5-inch screen, a four-speaker stereo, Siri Eyes Free, Bluetooth, cloth seats, and a rearview camera. Three USB ports and Nissan’s Xtronic continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) are available.
  • Nissan Sentra SV: The Sentra SV S Plus sedan adds the CVT, as well as satellite radio, three USB ports, automatic emergency braking, dual-zone automatic climate control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, proximity keyless entry, and push-button start. The SV Premium package includes a moonroof, the NissanConnect infotainment system with a 5.8-inch touch screen, and a navigation system. Heated front seats are available too.
  • Nissan Sentra SR: SR models gain heated front seats and adaptive cruise control. The same options remain available, though the SR can also be had with blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, an eight-speaker Bose stereo, a six-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, and leather upholstery.
  • Nissan Sentra SR Turbo: The SR Turbo gains the stronger turbocharged engine option. Otherwise, it has the same features list as the SR.
  • Nissan Sentra Nismo: Nismo models feature distinctive styling elements, a sport-tuned suspension, and all the options listed above, minus the moonroof and power-adjustable driver’s seat.
  • Nissan Sentra SL: The top-of-the-line Sentra SL returns to the naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine but comes with just about everything you can get in this Nissan.

See 2018 Nissan Sentra trims and specs »

What Does Nissan's Certified Pre-Owned Warranty Cover?

Nissan offers a certified pre-owned program for vehicles six years old or less and with fewer than 80,000 miles. Eligibility is determined by the vehicle’s initial sale date. For its certified pre-owned vehicles, Nissan extends the original new-car warranty to seven years from the original sale date or 100,000 miles. To become certified pre-owned, each Nissan CPO vehicle must pass a 167-point inspection. Additional benefits like rental car reimbursement, a three-month SiriusXM satellite radio trial subscription, a Security+Plus Extended protection plan, towing, and 24-hour roadside assistance may be available, so read the Nissan warranty page carefully.

According to our research, Nissan’s CPO program is about average for an affordable auto manufacturer. Mazda, Honda, and Chevrolet all have more robust programs.

See the best CPO programs »

How Safe Is the Sentra?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the Sentra sedan a 2018 Top Safety Pick, giving it the highest rating of Good in five crash tests and a Superior rating in front crash prevention for models equipped with automatic braking. Depending on the trim, the Sentra’s headlights received the second-highest rating of Acceptable or the lowest rating of Poor for forward visibility.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the Nissan Sentra an overall safety rating of four out of five stars, with four stars in frontal crash and rollover tests and five stars in the side crash test.

Standard advanced safety features:

  • rearview camera

Available advanced safety features:

  • blind spot monitoring
  • rear cross traffic alert
  • automatic emergency braking
  • adaptive cruise control

See Sentra safety scores »

2018 Nissan Sentra Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2018 Nissan Sentra or 2018 Honda Civic?

The 2018 Honda Civic is a great compact car with a range of peppy engines, spirited handling, and good fuel economy estimates. On average, the Honda's price is about $5,000 higher than that of the Nissan, but if you have some leeway in your budget, go for the Civic. It touts a higher safety score, more available safety features, and nicer cabin materials. While the Civic coupe has less trunk space than the Sentra, the sedan has a similarly sized trunk, and the Civic hatchback has a lot more room.

Which Is Better: 2018 Nissan Sentra or 2018 Hyundai Elantra?

The 2018 Hyundai Elantra is a better choice than the Sentra. Not only does it have more modern connectivity features than the Nissan, such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but it also gets superior gas mileage. It's available with four engine options, all of which are more potent than anything you get in the Sentra. Additionally, the Hyundai comes in two body styles, sedan and hatchback, the latter of which has more cargo room than the Sentra.

Compare the Sentra, Civic, and Elantra »

2018 Sentra Performance

How Does the 2018 Sentra Drive?

The Sentra has two four-cylinder engine choices, and neither feels all that lively. The base engine struggles to move the car with any authority, and though the turbocharged power plant fares better, the overall difference in acceleration and performance is small.

On the bright side, the Sentra rides smoothly over most road surfaces. Steering is well-weighted, and though it’s no corner carver, this sedan remains poised around turns. The SR Turbo and Nismo trims are more agile, but even then, some rivals still feel sportier. Also, the ride is firmer in these models.

  • Base engine: 1.8-liter four-cylinder with 124 horsepower and 125 pound-feet of torque
  • Available engine: 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 188 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque (SR Turbo and Nismo)
  • Drivetrain: front-wheel drive
  • Transmission: standard six-speed manual; available continuously variable automatic (CVT)
Does the 2018 Sentra Get Good Gas Mileage?

The base Sentra with the manual transmission gets typical fuel economy estimates for a compact car. Models equipped with the CVT fare better, though their figures are slightly lower than class leaders.

  • 1.8-liter, manual: 27/35 mpg city/highway
  • 1.8-liter, CVT: 29/37 mpg
  • 1.6-liter turbo, manual: 26/32 mpg
  • 1.6-liter turbo, CVT: 27/33 mpg
  • Nismo, manual: 25/31 mpg
  • Nismo, CVT: 25/30 mpg

Read more about Sentra performance »

2018 Sentra Interior

How Many People Does the 2018 Sentra Seat?

This Nissan seats five people in two rows. There’s a generous amount of legroom in both rows, but the seats are mounted high, which means headroom can be tight for taller people. The Sentra still has more passenger room than most of its rivals, and visibility is excellent. The cabin design received mixed reviews. Some critics favorably compared it to the 2018 Nissan Altima, while others thought its design seemed outdated compared to rivals.

Standard seating features:

  • cloth seats

Available seating features:

  • premium cloth upholstery
  • leather-appointed seats
  • six-way power-adjustable driver’s seat
  • heated front seats
  • leather-wrapped steering wheel
How Many Child Car Seats Fit in the 2018 Nissan Sentra?

The Nissan Sentra sedan has two complete sets of LATCH connectors for securing child car seats, as well as a third tether anchor for the rear middle seat. The whole setup received the highest rating of Good from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety for ease of use.

2018 Nissan Sentra Features

The NissanConnect interface is user-friendly with well-placed controls. However, the small screen can be hard to read, and neither Apple CarPlay nor Android Auto is available.

  • Standard infotainment features: a 5-inch screen, a four-speaker stereo, Bluetooth, and Siri Eyes Free
  • Available infotainment features: a 5.8-inch touch screen, the NissanConnect infotainment system, navigation, an eight-speaker Bose stereo, three USB ports, and satellite radio
  • Other available features: dual-zone automatic climate control, push-button start, proximity keyless entry, and a moonroof

See Nissan Sentra specs »

Read more about Sentra interior »

2018 Nissan Sentra Dimensions

Nissan Sentra Cargo Space

This vehicle has a 15.1-cubic-foot trunk. That’s one of the largest trunks in the class, eclipsing the trunks in the sedan versions of the 2018 Ford Focus and 2018 Chevrolet Cruze. The split-folding rear seats add flexibility, and the front passenger seat can fold flat as well to accommodate longer items.

These cargo dimensions are for comparative purposes. There is no substitute for visually examining the storage area in any car you’re considering.

2018 Nissan Sentra Length and Weight
  • Length: 15 feet, 3 inches
  • Curb weight: 2,866 to 2,952 pounds
  • Gross vehicle weight rating: 3,823 to 3,876 pounds

Where Was the 2018 Nissan Sentra Built?

Nissan built the Sentra in Mexico.

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