Road Test: 2020 Nissan Sentra SR

Road Test: 2020 Nissan Sentra SR

Story by Jordan Allan, photos courtesy of Nissan Canada


Price: $23,998 (MSRP)

Engine:2.0L DOHC 16-valve I4

Trans: Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT)

Power: 149 hp@ 6,400 rpm

Torque: 146 lb-ft @ 4,400 rpm

Curb Weight: 3,111 lbs./1,411 kg

Fuel Consumption (L/100km – City/Hwy): 8.2/6.2


New for 2020: The Nissan Sentra has been completely redesigned for 2020 and now rides on an all-new platform which greatly improves its ride quality and handling. The interior has been completely redesigned and under the hood is a larger, more powerful 2.0L inline-4. The exterior looks is significantly improved over the outgoing model and it now much closer resembles the larger Altima and Maxima.

Segment Competitors: Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, Toyota Corolla, Ford Focus, Chevrolet Cruze, Volkswagen Jetta, Kia Forte, Mazda3, Subaru Impreza

The Skinny:  The Nissan Sentra has now entered its eighth generation and although it continues to be Nissan’s best-selling nameplate in Canada, it was in great need of an overhaul. The previous version was still a very good value and got the job done, but there was little to wow you away from some of its very impressive competition. This has all changed now as the Sentra now boasts a much sportier, more upscale look with a completely updated interior that is well laid out, functional and nice to look at.

As mentioned, the Sentra’s new look is very reminiscent of Nissan’s larger sedans and that is not at all a bad thing. The great new look was further accentuated on our SR test model that featured the newly available two-tone paint with a white primary colour used on the lower portion of the body with the roof, pillars and side mirrors all in black. This provided a very nice look that seemed to turn more heads than most of the vehicles I’ve driven lately. Aside from that, sharp body lines, an aggressive stance and 18-in. alloy wheels all lent themselves to provide a look that was a huge improvement over the previous generation.

Inside of the Sentra is worth talking about just as much as the outside as it now features one of, if not the best interiors available in the compact sedan class. The new 8-in. touchscreen display was easy to read and use while the climate controls situated just under it on the centre stack were well laid out, easy-to-use and featured real life knobs which is always something I appreciate. The seats and seating position were very comfortable although the low roofline does cause a slight sightline issue for taller people, but nothing to be alarmed at.

During some research online, post test drive, it would seem that one of the biggest complaints of the new Sentra are the lack of power and acceleration from its all-new 2.0L naturally-aspirated inline 4-cylinder engine. Although I won’t sit here and tell you that it felt fast by any means, it’s lack of power wasn’t something that stuck out to me. It does have a CVT transmission which can slow acceleration down, but I found that it had enough power to make a quick pass or to merge onto the highway. It definitely wouldn’t hurt to have more power, but in my experience it’s lack of isn’t something that greatly compromised its overall drive.

Aside from the power, the new Sentra has a smooth yet firm ride that took high speed corners well and dealt nicely with any bumps in the road.

Pros: The easiest and most honest answer here was the overall looks both inside and out.

Cons: The low, slanted roofline does not leave a ton of headroom for rear seat passengers.

The Verdict: As I mentioned, the Nissan Sentra was in great need of change in order to catch up to it’s already great competition and after spending some time in the latest version, I would definitely say it’s right there. Although it doesn’t boast the performance that some would like, it is a very practical, efficient and great looking compact sedan that is definitely worth some consideration when looking to buy in this segment.

Categories: Driver Plus, Road Tests