LOS ANGELES – Describing the redesigned ’20 Nissan Sentra as “a true breakthrough in compact sedans,” the automaker introduces the latest edition of its best-selling sedan at the 2019 Los Angeles auto show.
When it goes on sale in January, consumers can choose between S, SV and SR trim levels.
A new 2.0L 4-cyl. powers the eighth-generation Sentra, and the latest version of Nissan’s Xtronic CVT delivers power to the car’s front wheels. The engine produces 149 hp and 145 lb.-ft. (197 Nm) of torque, increases over the old 1.8L 4-cyl. of 20% and 16%, respectively.
The ’20 Sentra is built on a new platform. The car is 2 ins. (51 mm) wider and 2.2 ins. (56 mm) lower, giving it both a sportier look and a lower center of gravity. New rack-mounted, dual-pinion electric steering promises improved road feel and response, while a MacPherson strut front and independent rear suspension aim to deliver better ride and handling qualities.
The SV and SR trim levels include rear discs rather than the standard rear drum brakes.
Looking back at the Sentra’s history, genuinely attractive examples of the compact car are in scant supply. That changes with the all-new ’20 model. Styling takes its cues from the existing Versa, Altima and Maxima. New 2-tone color combinations add pizzazz by pairing a black roof with white, gray or orange body paint.
With the discontinuation of the NISMO trim, the ’20 Sentra SR serves as the sportiest version of the new car. It includes 18-in. aluminum wheels, LED headlights and daytime running lights, LED fog lights, a dark chrome grille surround, body sill extensions and a rear spoiler. The black side mirrors feature integrated turn-signal indicators, and the interior is dressed in black cloth with contrast stitching.
Nissan aims to elevate the ’20 Sentra’s cabin (below, left). Higher-quality materials, better construction, improved sealing for reduced noise and refined control operation are intended to make the Sentra feel more sophisticated. Satin chrome detailing, bold round air vents and a flat-bottom steering wheel give the car’s interior a more stylish appearance.
Dual-zone automatic climate control is standard, and Nissan’s NASA-inspired Zero Gravity seat designs promise superior comfort. Optional quilted leather seats add an upscale ambiance to the Sentra’s cabin, while available remote engine start, heated side mirrors and heated front seats could make this car a better cold-weather conveyance.
With S trim, the ’20 Sentra includes a 7-in. (18-cm) touchscreen infotainment system with Bluetooth connectivity, hands-free text messaging support and voice assistance via Siri Eyes Free and Google Assistant.
Upgrades to SV and SR trim feature an 8-in. (20-cm) touchscreen display and NissanConnect with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. An embedded navigation system will not be offered; Nissan says people will prefer to use their smartphone apps instead.
Ten airbags stand at the ready to protect occupants, and the ’20 Sentra includes Nissan’s Rear Door Alert system, which is designed to prevent owners from accidentally leaving a child or a pet in the car. A drowsy and distracted driver monitoring system also is standard.
Nissan makes its Safety Shield 360 collection of advanced driver assistance systems standard on all ’20 Sentras. This includes automatic front emergency braking with pedestrian detection, rear automatic braking, blindspot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning and automatic high-beam headlight operation.
Safety-related upgrades include Intelligent Cruise Control (adaptive cruise), Intelligent Forward Collision Warning that can see two cars ahead and Intelligent Around View Monitor with a moving object detection system.