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2018 Nissan Sentra Overview

Few nameplates have withstood the test of time. One exception is the Nissan Sentra. The nameplate has been in Nissan’s lineup for over 35 years and is a staple in the compact car marketplace. As the Sentra enters the 2018 model year, Nissan makes minor changes.

The Sentra shares a lot in common with the midsize Altima in terms of design. The overall shape features flowing front fenders and chrome trim. Last year, Nissan updated the Sentra’s front end with a new grille, headlights, and bumper. Those wanting their Sentra to stand out need to look at the SR or NISMO models which add a sporty body kit, larger wheels, and a rear spoiler.

A key strength of the Sentra is the interior space. The back seat is the largest in the class offering impressive head and legroom for most passengers. Trunk space is best in class with 15.1 cubic feet of space. Standard 60/40 split folding rear seats only add to the Sentra’s practicality. The control console is within easy reach for driver and passenger. The base S will now come with a 5-inch color touchscreen display with reversing camera. Higher trims get the option of a 5.8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with NissanConnect and Navigation. The previously optional SL Premium Tech Package—adding a Bose audio system, moonroof, and NissanConnect services—is now standard for the SL.

Nissan offers two engines for the Sentra. The base is a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder that offers 130 horsepower and 128 pound-feet when equipped with the 6-speed manual transmission. When equipped with the xTronic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), power figures drop to 125 hp and 124 lb-ft. The SR Turbo and NISMO feature a turbocharged 1.6-liter 4-cylinder producing 188 hp and 177 lb-ft. A 6-speed manual or xTronic CVT are the available transmission choices. The turbo engine feels more powerful than the 1.8-liter engine, but reviewers note the CVT can cause it to lag. EPA fuel economy figures range from 25 city mpg, 30 highway, and 27 combined for the NISMO with CVT, to 29, 37, and 32 for the 1.8-liter with CVT.

The Sentra’s ride is considered to be one of the best in the class,smoothing over most bumps and road imperfections. The stiffer suspension tuning in the SR Turbo and NISMO means a speedy but slightly bumpier ride. The Sentra’s light steering and maneuverability makes it a good choice for a city-dwellers. Around corners, the Sentra feels composed with a minor amount of body roll.

For safety, most 2018 Sentras equipped with the CVT get automatic emergency braking as standard equipment. Other standard safety features include a full complement of airbags, traction and stability control, anti-lock brakes, and tire pressure monitoring. SV and above come with Nissan’s Easy Fill Tire Alert system that honks the horn when the proper tire pressure has been reached. Adaptive cruise control comes standard on the SR and SL. Blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and NissanConnect emergency services are standard on SL. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) awarded the Sentra their highest rating of ‘Good’ in their tests. The Sentra has a 4-star overall rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The 2018 Nissan Sentra begins at $16,990 for the base S with a 6-speed manual.


Ask William Maley how he started as an automotive writer and he would say he just fell into it. Based in Michigan, William has driven vehicles of all sizes and shapes. His work has appeared on Autobytel, CARFAX, Cheers & Gears, and U.S. News Best Cars.

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Nissan Sentra Questions

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