2010 Nissan Sentra Review

Sentra

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Trims

2.0
Avg. Price: $11,243
2.0 S
Avg. Price: $11,145
2.0 SL
Avg. Price: $11,993
2.0 SR
Avg. Price: $11,311
SE-R
Avg. Price: $13,541
SE-R Spec V
4 national listings
Avg. Price: $14,326

Nissan Sentra Experts

#1 Doran Harney
Doran Harney
Reputation 600
#2 L_R
L_R
Reputation 470
#3 Tom Demyan
Tom Demyan
Reputation 420
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Average User Score

4.45 stars

Based on 8 reviews

Sentra 2.0sr Is A Great Car For The Payment by voltagefuel
 — I leased the Sentra and rolled in some inequity from my previous loan, and still with nothing down my payment was in the mid $200's. Nothing could come close when I made my rounds and did my shopping.... Read More
Everyone Go Buy A Nissan Sentra by Dan
 — This car is very nice. It has touchscreen nav, integrated bluetooth, integrated i-pod, the smart key system. So far I have had no problems with the car. It is a fun car to drive and handles well. I am... Read More
Love It by Nissanboi
 — The best one in the Sentra Lineup i think and in 2010 the SER's upgrade package is worth the money also get the Interior Illumination is another worthy option. The backup camera and color display is a... Read More

2010 Nissan Sentra Review

The Good

The 2.5-liter engine in SE-R guise offers solid performance with a great transmission for the 2010 Nissan Sentra.

The Bad

Unfortunately, the 2.0-liter engine that comes with most Sentras lacks power, and the six-speed transmission only makes things worse in 2010.

The CarGurus View

The Sentra is an entry-level car, essentially a compact, and as such should be considered with reservations in mind. The displays can wash out, the seats lack support, and the suspension is nothing that will have you raving. However, the combination of a 177-hp, 2.5-liter engine and CVT transmission in the SE-R provides solid performance that borders on fun.

At a Glance

The Nissan Sentra is a confusing entry in the company's model lineup. Originally branded as a subcompact, the Versa has since taken up that mantle for Nissan, pushing the Sentra into the entry-level compact slot. The EPA, however, considers the Sentra a midsize, due to interior volume measurements.

Regardless, this front-wheel-drive (FWD) four-door sees several changes in 2010, including a styling refresh, additional option packages, and a new trim - the 2.0 SR. Available with three engines and two transmissions across six trims, the Sentra hopes to fill niches from economy to sport, with its high-performance minded SE-R Spec V trim.

Changes for 2010 include a new grille, inspired by the Altima's, as well as a revised lower fascia and augmented headlights. Rear taillights are also new, although little changed. Additional chrome trim is now found in the rear and on the sides as well. Inside, an optional new stereo comes with an optional navigation system and now includes an iPod adaptor along with USB inputs. A backup camera is also available on some models, and new red backlighting highlights the speedometer and controls.

Drivetrain

2010 Nissan Sentra

The most prominent engine in the Sentra stable powers the four 2.0 trims - Base 2.0, 2.0 S, 2.0 SR, and 2.0 SL. With 140 hp, the 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine (I4) provides enough power for around town, but falters at speed, leaving the driver begging for more power when attempting to pass or climb. The six-speed manual transmission is a mess, giving no benefit over the available CVT, which operates flawlessly. Indeed, the manual transmission fails to add fun or function, as its imprecise action at shifter and clutch detracts from enjoyment, and EPA estimates put it well below the CVT in mileage with 24/31 mpg, compared to the CVT’s 26/34. Additionally, the engine struggles at load, with a raspy tone that intrudes harshly.

The SE-R is equipped with a 177-hp, 2.5-liter I4 and a CVT, the best combination available without contention. While drivers will have to wait an additional 900 rpm to hit the SE-R’s peak horsepower, its 172 lb-ft of torque come in at a very useful 2,800 rpm - 2,000 below the 2.0 engine.

The SE-R Spec V tries hard but ultimately fails. Its 2.5-liter I4 is good for 200 hp, but it’s not available until 6,600 rpm, and its 180 lb-ft of torque don’t show up until 5,200 rpm, making it very rev-happy. Couple this with the six-speed manual being the only available transmission, and it’s simply not a very enjoyable ride. It’s also not particularly efficient, delivering an EPA-estimated 21/28 as opposed to the SE-R’s 24/30, with Nissan recommending premium fuel for both.

Ride & Handling

2010 Nissan Sentra

The Sentra’s solid structure means there is little shake or shimmy when traversing treacherous terrain, and a competent suspension provides adequate feedback with slight control of lean and roll, but nothing to impress. The same can be said of brakes and steering, as both are handled tolerably, but certainly nowhere near setting the standard for the class.

Cabin & Comfort

2010 Nissan Sentra

As would be expected for the class, hard plastic surfaces are the dominant factor, adding little to an atmosphere that is already geared toward “economy.” While the 2.0 SL adds leather upholstery, it seems out of place, rather than adding anything, and the interior upgrades of the Spec V are so minimal as to almost be missed.

Room is ample for a compact, but lacking for a midsize, with room enough up front for larger occupants, but cramping even those under 6 feet in the back. Seats are comfortable, but lack the support needed for long trips, front and back.

While controls are well-placed and easy to operate, testers and owners alike have complained of difficulty reading certain displays in bright light. New red backlighting graces the speedometer and certain controls.

Safety

2010 Nissan Sentra

The Nissan Sentra scored five stars in the NHTSA’s frontal crash and side crash tests involving the driver. Four stars were awarded for side crashes involving rear passengers and in the rollover test. The Base 2.0 trim gets dual front, front-side, and curtain-side airbags, as well as a tire-pressure monitor. The 2.0 S and SR additionally receive antilock brakes, while the 2.0 SL gets traction control and an anti-skid system. Final safety upgrades come in the SE-R, which gets four-wheel antilock disc brakes.

What Owners Think

Owners have been relatively pleased with the evolution of the Sentra, and the mid-model refresh has been similarly well-received. The lack of power in the 2.0 is frustrating for some, but expected for the class, while the sub-par manual transmission is simply a disappointment. Overall, the Sentra represents a solid entry for a car that can be had for $15,000.

Updated

A CarGurus contributor since 2008, Michael started his career writing about cars with the SCCA - winning awards during his time as editor of Top End magazine. Since then, his journalistic travels have taken him from NY to Boston to CA, completing a cross-country tour on a restored vintage Suzuki. While his preference is for fine German automobiles - and the extra leg room they so often afford - his first automobile memories center around impromptu Mustang vs. Corvette races down the local highway, in the backseat of his father's latest acquisition.

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Sentra
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Nissan Sentra Questions

Tammy Harrison
10

2010 Sentra Burning Oil

Hi there I purchased a used 2010 Sentra almost 3 years ago. I do a lot of driving and in the last 3 months have had to add at least 2 liters of oil before the scheduled oil change. The mechanics that ...

49 views with 2 answers (last answer 3 months ago)
rob8219
0

I Have A 2010 Nissan Sentra Ser And The Ac Pulley Is Going Just Wondering I...

the bearings are going in the pulley and needs to be replaced just dont have the money for it was wondering if it can be turned off until i can get it fixed

31 views with 1 answer (last answer 5 months ago)
Lauracar
0

Just Had Oil Changes In My 2010 Nissan Sentra And It Is Black Already. It'...

70 views with 2 answers (last answer 7 months ago)
azimm
0

2010 Nissan Sentra Will Not Completely Turn Over.

I have a 2010 Nissan Sentra that is having occasional problems turning over. It is just not catching somehow. We have a new battery and last year had a timing device replaced. When we cannot get it ...

50 views with 2 answers (last answer 10 months ago)
tmarie430
10

2010 Nissan Sentra Sr Keyless Remote

Both keyless remotes bring no response. I replaced the batteries and still the same problem. Does anyone know the location of the sensors or antennas and if there is a procedure to ascertain if they a...

377 views with 8 answers (last answer about a year ago)