Car shoppers looking for a compact sedan that packs a lot of value for the price will be pleased to hear that the all-new 2020 Nissan Sentra will hit dealerships in the coming weeks. It has been redesigned from the ground up for improved styling, driving experience, and technology. The only thing carried over from the last generation Sentra is the model's name. We joined the Midwest Automotive Media Association and Nissan USA for a first look and quick test drive of the 2020 Sentra. Here are the top 5 improvements you need to know about the new small sedan.

1. Bolder Exterior 

2020 Nissan Sentra

The Nissan team brought along the 2020 Nissan Sentra in the sportiest SR trim decked in the attention-grabbing two-tone Monarch Orange/Super Black paint job. We were surprised to see how much the exterior has been transformed from the last generation. As we walked around the vehicle, we noticed that the Sentra has a more muscular stance than the previous model. The new platform is to thank for this upgrade. We learned that the new platform makes the Sentra's body two inches lower and two inches wider than the previous generation, resulting in a more powerful exterior appearance.

2020 Nissan Sentra platform

The Nissan V-Motion grille, sharp creases, and thin LED headlamps create a more dramatic front fascia than the rather bland face of the last generation. The rear gets a lower roofline and wider shoulders, with sport alloy wheels that are flush to the body. SR specific features include a sport-style rear spoiler, black-painted side mirrors with integrated turn signals, lower body side sill extensions, 18-inch diamond-cut aluminum-alloy wheels, dark chrome grille, and chrome exhaust finisher.

2. More Premium Interior

2020 Nissan Sentra Technology

The cabin of the 2020 Nissan Sentra is redesigned to provide a level of refinement that is unexpected in a non-luxury compact car. Satin chrome aluminum accents, contrasting seat stitching, and a D-shaped steering wheel give the Sentra some unique character inside. Nissan's Zero Gravity front seats come standard and provide proper posture to maintain comfort, even on long drives. We took the Sentra on a very short test drive around the neighboorhood and found the seats to be comfortable and supportive (we can't vouch for their comfort on a long trip). We found the improved door, window, and body sealing helped keep the cabin quiet, without excessive road and wind noise. A dual-zone climate control system is available to ensure both drivers and passengers stay comfortable.

nissan sentra backseat

At first glance, the rear seat space appeared tight, but as we climbed in, we were surprised by the generous legroom and headroom in the 60/40 split fold-down backseat. Based on the trim level, the seating materials include cloth, Prima-Tex leatherette, and sport cloth with orange stitching for SR. Premium quilted leather-can be had on the SV grades as part of the SV Premium Package.

3. New Technology 

2020 nissan sentra infotainment

Just like the exterior and interior styling, the tech in the 2020 Sentra gets a revamp with an all-new infotainment system, available 8.0-inch floating touchscreen, advanced 4.2-inch digital multi-information display, and up to 3 USB ports. Available Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in the SV trim or higher keep drivers connected.  We only spent a few minutes testing out the infotainment system in the Sentra SR, but our first impressions were that the touchscreen was intuitive and responsive and the physical buttons for volume, audio and climate control complemented the touchscreen nicely.

2020 Nissan Sentra driver display

The entire Sentra lineup becomes safer thanks to Nissan's Safety Shield 360 suite of safety tech which comes standard regardless of which trim you go with. Safety Shield 360 includes Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Blind Spot Warning, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, Lane Departure Warning, High Beam Assist and Rear Automatic Braking.

4. More Powerful Engine

Nissan powertrain

Under the hood of the last generation Sentra, you'd find a base 4-cylinder 1.8-liter engine good for 124 horsepower and 125 lb-ft of torque for an mpg of 29/37 (city/highway) or a 1.6-liter turbocharged engine in the SR trim for 188 horsepower, 177 lb-ft of torque and an mpg of 27/33 (city/highway). For 2020, the engine gets larger and more powerful in the form of a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine for 149 horsepower, and 146 lb.-ft of torque. This is a 20% increase in horsepower and 17% more torque. Fuel economy is 29 city/39 highway/33 combined mpg for the S and SV trims and 28 city/37 highway/ 32 combined mpg for the SR. The turbocharged engine is no longer available. 

5. Enhanced Driving Experience

2020 sentra driving

In order to improve the driving experience of the 2020 Nissan Sentra, it gets new rack electric power steering, Active Ride Control, intelligent trace control, and Vehicle Dynamics Control. As a result, the driving experience becomes more agile and exciting. While covering these updates in their presentation, Nissan's team stressed the fact that the 2020 Sentra is not meant to be a sports car, but it is designed to keep up with the larger sedans in Nissan's lineup. With the enhanced driving experience, all-new tech, interior, and exterior style, Nissan's Keith St. Clair says the Sentra has become a "mid-size car masquerading as a compact." This redesign certainly packs a lot more value into this compact sedan.

Trims and Pricing 

Trim

Powertrain

MSRP

Sentra S

2.0 Liter I4 Xtronic

$19,090

Sentra SV

2.0 Liter I4 Xtronic

$20,270

Sentra SR

2.0 Liter I4 Xtronic

$21,430

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