2019 Nissan Sentra - Review | CarBuzz (2024)

2019 Nissan Sentra Review

The Nissan Sentra is a compact sedan, but don't let its smaller size fool you; it's surprisingly spacious on the inside. With a reputation for reliability, an award for safety from the IIHS in 2018, and a competitive price tag starting at $17,790, this little car is still selling well. But that's where the Sentra's strength peaks, and it's all downhill from there. Although well-designed, the Sentra is simply not as stylish as its competitors. Coupled with its slightly dated infotainment and driver safety features, this sedan just doesn't stand out. With the base 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine paired with a continuously variable transmission producing a measly 124 horsepower and 125 lb-ft of torque, the Sentra struggles to deliver comparable performance to rivals like the Toyota Corolla or Honda Civic.

What's the Price of the 2019 Nissan Sentra?

The base Sentra S trim starts at a low $17,890 for the manual transmission. However, it lacks some of the basic safety features that the CVT model offers at a slightly higher $18,580. The mid-range SV and SR go for $19,190 and $20,590, respectively. The SR can be upgraded to a Turbo trim, raising the price to $22,670. The premium-level SL costs a heftier $23,120. These prices exclude tax, licensing and registration. Nissan adds a destination charge of $895.

Handling and Driving Impressions

The Nissan Sentra provides the minimum requirements for town driving, but that's about all. Its acceleration is OK, its brakes are OK, and its handling is… you guessed it, OK. It will get you from A to B, but don't expect to have a lot of fun getting there. On the other hand, it won't be unpleasant either.

The Sentra handles adequately at both low and high speeds, although feedback from the steering is limited and the weaker 1.8-liter engine runs loud when pressed. Class-leading competitors perform significantly better. Although the compact sedan is a bit on the soft side, it handles body roll quite well. It does handle windy conditions worse than rivals though. The SR Turbo handles better thanks to stiffer springs, but even they can't match top contenders in the segment.

The brakes are equally middling. While the pedal functions just fine, it can feel soft and unresponsive. The suspension also follows the trend of mediocrity, handling minor abrasions well but failing to stop larger ones from jarring the cabin. While the Sentra is a quiet and comfortable sedan when driven with care at regular speeds, so are all its competitors. And they allow for a bit more adventurous driving without sacrificing these qualities.

Think of the Sentra as an appliance, an A-to-B commuter with a job to do, much like a tumble dryer, but at least the tumble dryer leaves something feeling warm and fuzzy when it's done.

Verdict: Is the 2019 Nissan Sentra A Good car?

The Nissan Sentra certainly has some good selling points. It has excellent cargo capacity, which complements its appeal as a reliable day-to-day vehicle. It is also spacious inside, comfortably seating four people of almost any size. But these high points are undermined by almost every other aspect of the vehicle. Although the cabin is spacious, the seats are not overly comfortable, which is only made worse by the car's performance.

It handles well at average speeds, but go any faster and the ride becomes choppy. The tires and engine produce an unwelcome amount of noise that the cabin fails to deaden. The suspension also can't handle more than minor abrasions without jarring the cabin.

The majority of rivals, such as the Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla, have better all-round performance that doesn't compromise on comfort. They also offer more than the bare minimum of safety and infotainment features that come with the Sentra. All this they manage to do this while looking better, inside and out, with stylish modern designs that the older Sentra lacks.

The low starting price of the Sentra may make it seem like a good buy, but when you consider that you need to go up a few trim levels just to start competing with the performance and features that rivals offer, the cost starts looking a lot less appealing.

What Nissan Sentra Model Should I Buy?

The base Sentra S has a great price tag, but it is sorely lacking in features across the board. If you want a compact sedan that is at least in the same ballpark as the segment leaders, then you will want to go for the SV or possibly SR trims. These trims offer most of the features that are standard on the market these days, such as smartphone integration and basics comforts like heated seats or climate control. At around $20,000, they won't break the bank either, although you will probably want to add the Special Edition or Premium packages to make the most of these trims.

2019 Nissan Sentra Comparisons

2019 Nissan Sentra vs Nissan Altima

The Nissan Altima has been an unremarkable model for many years, not managing to stand out from its competitors. However, it has been fully redesigned for 2019, with sleeker lines and a suite of modern driver-assistance features. Like the Sentra, the Altima offers a choice between two engines. The 2.0-liter turbocharged engine produces an impressive 248 hp and 280 lb-ft, allowing the midsize vehicle to offer a lively driving experience. The addition of four-wheel drive also gives it better handling than the Sentra. The spacious interior and quality materials set it a step above the Sentra. While the $24,000 starting price tag is quite a bit higher than the base Sentra, the Altima makes good use of the investment with state-of-the-art tech, a larger eight-inch infotainment display, four USB ports, and smartphone integration as standard. Overall, the Altima is a better buy than the Sentra when you compare it to the SV or SR, which have similar prices but far fewer features.

2019 Nissan Sentra vs Nissan Versa Sedan

Being a subcompact, the Nissan Versa has a lower price than the Sentra. Even so, the starting price tag of $12,460 makes it one of the cheapest options in the segment. You might not get much in the way of features for this price, with no smartphone integration and only minimal safety and comfort features, but if all you're looking for is an economical vehicle, it's a great choice. Although not designed with quality materials, the cabin's interior is spacious and the large trunk complements it. You can opt to upgrade to the Versa SV, but you won't be doing yourself any favors as fuel economy is all it has going for it at this price level. The Sentra has more features and more modern design for the same price, and while the base engine on the Versa is stronger than the Sentra's, the latter's turbocharged engine flips the tables. If you need a reliable car in a hurry and don't care about all the little add-ons, the Versa is a good pick.

2019 Nissan Sentra vs Toyota Corolla Sedan

The Toyota Corolla falls into the same class as the Sentra and has a similar price tag, at $18,700. The Corolla is a bit dated for the segment, but the Sentra hasn't been making many improvements either. Neither car is particularly fun to drive, but the Sentra has the optional turbocharged engine that offers a bit more power. The Corolla has a more spacious cabin and very comfortable seats, while the Sentra has a larger trunk and better fuel economy. Even though the Toyota has a better infotainment setup, it only offers smartphone integration on its much higher trim levels. It's a case of picking the best of an incredibly insipid pair of cars, and if you're going to buy an appliance, it may as well be the Corolla.

2019 Nissan Sentra - Review | CarBuzz (2024)
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