2020 vs 2021: What's the Difference?
Not many changes were made as the Nissan Sentra moved from 2020 to 2021. There are a few significant additions, however, such as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay on the entry-level model. Those who choose the SR trim now have a two-tone paint option that consists of an Electric Blue on the body and a black roof. This trim is also now available with a Wi-Fi hotspot.
What Do the Various Trim Levels Offer?
The 2021 Nissan Sentra has the same three trim options as the year before. The entry-level S model sticks with steel wheels and a four-speaker audio system. It is not all unimpressive, however, with the standard equipment list including smartphone integration and driver aids such as lane departure warning and forward collision mitigation.
For the mid-level SV model, the Sentra sits on alloy wheels instead. It gains heated mirrors, keyless entry, and rear disc brakes. On the inside, the SV jumps up to an 8-inch touchscreen rather than the 7-inches found in the S model. This model also gains two extra speakers, along with dual-zone automatic climate control and adaptive cruise control.
As far as standard features go, the SR does not add much. It does get a rear spoiler for a slightly more athletic look, along with LED fog and headlights and 18-inch wheels. An SR Premium package is optional and adds things like a heated steering-wheel, power-adjustment for the driver's seat, a premium audio system, and a sunroof.
Which Trim is Right for Me?
The vast majority of drivers will be best served by the midlevel SV option. It gains a significant amount of upgrades that increase safety, comfort, and even performance. Those who are after a sportier Sentra may decide the SR is worth it for the spoiler and larger wheels.
What Kind of Technology Does it Have?
Starting in 2021, all three Sentra trim levels have smartphone integration capabilities through Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Only the entry-level S has a 7-inch touchscreen. Both the SV and SR go with an 8-inch option instead. The number of speakers found inside the Sentra varies by trim level, with the S getting four, the SV getting six, and the SR available with eight when the Premium Package is added on.
How Does It Perform?
With just three trim levels, it is not surprising that the Sentra has only one engine option. A 2.0L four-cylinder engine making 149-horsepower underwhelms in all models. While this gets the job done just fine in the city, it gets quite loud on the highway, particularly when going to pass.
A continuously variable transmission is also standard. Many feel that it is slow to respond, further adding to the lethargic feel of the Sentra. On the bright side, the CVT does help the 2021 Sentra get decently impressive fuel economy numbers.
Is it Safe and Reliable?
The 2021 Sentra received five out of five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, including five stars for side collisions and rollovers. As for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, it awarded the Sentra with a "Good" score in all six categories. Any model with LED projector headlights is also considered a Top Safety Pick by the IIHS.
A respectable number of driver aids come standard for the vehicle. The list includes blind-spot monitoring, driver attention monitoring, and pedestrian detection. There are only two optional driver assistance features - adaptive cruise control and a surround-view camera system.
J.D. Power gives the 2021 Nissan Sentra 2.5 out of five stars. Despite this number sitting in the middle of the range, it is considered below average for the vehicle class.
What's the Interior Like?
It is a mixed bag when it comes to the cabin of the Nissan Sentra. On the one hand, the seats are supportive and reasonably spacious. On the other, there are a lot of hard plastics to be found. Cloth upholstery and manually-adjustable seats are standard, but a variety of upgrades are available. Highlights include leather upholstery, heated front seats, and a heated steering wheel when buyers go with the top trim and optional package.
What are the Alternatives to this Model?
The 2021 Nissan Sentra has a lot of heavy hitters to contend with. Toyota offers the Corolla, which offers a hybrid powertrain and more efficiency with its gas-powered engine. The Corolla also has a higher predictability rating.
There is also the iconic Honda Civic, which gives drivers a more exhilarating performance and is considered to be the most well-rounded option out there. Plus, it is available as a hatchback. Another option is the Hyundai Elantra, which comes with a long list of standard equipment and is coming out with a hybrid powertrain of its own.
Note: All Nissan Sentra lease prices and dollar figures above are approximate amounts. Prices are subject to change without notice.