The smallest of the Nissan sedan triplets, the Sentra already ticked the “ideal compact car” box for many drivers. With the newest version of this responsibly fun four-door, you’ll receive the same updated styling Nissan gifted to the Altima and Maxima in years prior. It just sweetens the deal even more. However, as budgets get smaller and financial decisions carry more weight, is the 2020 Nissan Sentra the right car for you?

We’re here to guide you in that decision. Below, we’ve listed some of the major aspects of the 2020 Sentra you’ll want to ponder as you shop. From fuel efficiency ratings to safety technologies available, this article will steer you in the right direction. Whether the 2020 Nissan Sentra drives that same path is yet to be determined.

Performance Specifications

Capable of seating up to five people, the 2020 Sentra comes solely as a front-wheel drive sedan. The singular powerplant is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder. It’s capable of 149 horsepower and 146 lb-ft of torque. This naturally-aspirated engine is paired to a continuously-variable transmission (CVT).

Available Colors

Nissan offers the 2020 Sentra in the following colors.

  • Scarlet Ember
  • Rosewood Metallic
  • Electric Blue Metallic
  • Super Black
  • Gun Metallic
  • Brilliant Silver
  • Aspen White
  • Fresh Powder

Nissan also offers three two-tone color packages. You can pair Monarch Orange Metallic, Aspen White, and Gun Metallic with a Super Black roof.

Trimlines and Pricing

When it comes to trim levels, Nissan keeps it simple. There are only three options: the S, SV, and SR models.

S Model

The base S model starts at just over $19,000. For roughly $20K, you’ll enjoy cloth seats, a seven-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth, and all the standard safety technology you can read about below. Other basic features include 16-inch wheels and a push-button start.

SV Model

For a bit more when it comes to the features list, choose the SV model. It includes keyless entry, a leather steering wheel, an extra inch when it comes to the infotainment screen, a few more USB ports, and dual-zone climate control. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard equipment on this trim. Remote start will come in handy on those cold days, along with the heated side mirrors. The SV will cost you a minimum of $20,370.

Both the SV and the SR model below are upgradeable to the Premium package. (However, they do differ slightly based on which base trim you choose.) Common upgrades include a moonroof, leather seating, heated front seats, and powered driver’s seat. It’s only on the SR model that you’ll find a heated steering wheel, surround-view parking system, auto-dimming rearview mirror, and eight-speaker Bose sound system.

SR Model

Top-of-the-line SR models feature LED headlights and fog lights, as well as more of a sportier touch inside and out. This top-tier trim level rides on 18-inch wheels and starts at $21,650.


The 2020 Nissan Sentra does well when it comes to safety. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) both gave it top marks.

Naming their safety system the “Nissan Safety Shield 360,” it includes standard safety features like 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. While you get driver attention monitoring, a rear-seat reminder, and a rearview camera free with the purchase of the car, you’ll have to pay extra for adaptive cruise control and the 360-degree parking system.

Fuel Efficiency

The 2020 Sentra is capable of 29 city and 39 highway EPA-estimated miles per gallon on the S and SV models. Numbers drop a bit in the SR model, which achieves only 28 city and 37 highway MPG — despite having the exact same engine.


There’s no question that the new Sentra dons the same outer styling its older siblings have worn for a few years now. Even the Versa is now up to snuff. So how have the changes on the 2020 Sentra resonated with the experts? For starters, there are a number of reasons why you might choose the Sentra over competing models.

“You should buy the Sentra if you want a car that comes loaded with driver assistance features at a class-average price,” recommends U.S. News.

That’s quite a statement, given the winning combination of abundant safety features and reasonable price found in both the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla. Hyundai sedans, such as the Elantra, certainly earn high marks when it comes to styling. However, the brand still has a ways to go when it comes to standard safety tech. This leaves the door open for Nissan to make a statement of sophistication and safety combined.

That jack-of-all-trades mentality continues throughout the car’s features, interior, and exterior. “Crisp and modern,” boasts Nissan about the 2020 Sentra’s versatility. Powered by the same engine found in the Nissan Rogue Sport, the Sentra steps into the new age with “upscale touches” and generous interior space in the “pleasing interior cabin.” Even Forbes commended the Sentra on “the textured plastic on the center console and doors” and the “subtle sporty touch” of the flat-bottomed steering wheel.

Potential Downsides

As much as we’d like to name the 2020 Sentra one of the best buys for a compact sedan, there are a couple downsides you’ll want to consider. Kelley Blue Book warns drivers of the lack of rear visibility. Edmunds’ experts weren’t overly impressed by the transmission. U.S. News writers called it succinctly, noting that “despite Nissan’s best efforts, (…) the redesigned Sentra really doesn’t improve much on the model that it replaces.” Exterior flourishes can’t completely hide what lies beneath the flashy colors and angled body panels.

If you are considering buying a 2020 Nissan Sentra, you’ll want to keep these things in mind. But the real question here is whether or not the whole package of the Sentra fits your lifestyle.

We’re talking every aspect. From the value of a low starting price, safety, technology, and versatility the car offers to the services you’ll receive from Nissan as part of the deal. Take a look at the SUV market and you’ll find pages of cars you’ll need to consider before making a purchase. Look at the compact sedan segment the same way and you’ll find the playing field — and therefore the competition — much tighter. Create an inventory of what you want from your new compact sedan. Then match that up to the models out there. The Sentra will, more likely than not, check a lot of your boxes. Your priorities will lead you in the right direction.

The Last Word

Sporty in a flashy sort of way, the 2020 Nissan Sentra tows the line when it comes to design language and styling. But will it find a place in your garage? Stop by your local Nissan dealership to check out a Sentra model of your choice. Take it for a test drive to truly understand how it feels. Perhaps a Monarch Orange Metallic Sentra with the two-tone Super Black roofline is in your future.


Rebecca Henderson has a Master's in German and a Bachelor's in Creative Writing. She alternates her time between writing and working on a variety of motorized projects. Most recently, she and her boyfriend have been building a custom drift trike. Rebecca believes that language, love, and a life worth living are only the first ingredients to happiness.