Buyer's Guide

2021 Nissan Sentra
Select a Different Model (3 Available): S Sedan
Fuel Economy $ 29 / 39 mpg
Safety (IIHS) Best Pick
Horsepower 149@6,400
Torque 146@4,400
See All Specs
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2021 Nissan Sentra MODEL OVERVIEW


  • Good fuel economy
  • Well-built interior
  • Compliant ride


  • Engine could use more power
  • Clunky CVT at low speeds
  • Poor long-term value

Once associated with rental fleets and basic transportation, the Nissan Sentra has evolved into a stylish daily driver packed with technology. Last year's extensive redesign made plenty of changes under the skin, too. The Sentra now has an independent rear suspension that promises better ride and handling. Think of the new compact sedan as a more refined Sentra instead of a sporty model trying to evoke fun-to-drive predecessors like the Sentra SE-R and the outgoing Sentra NISMO. Available in S, SV, and SR trims, the Nissan Sentra carries over to 2021 unchanged.

What We Think

Under the Sentra's sleek looks is a solid compact sedan that does many things well. Good body control and stable handling give the Sentra confident road manners. Although the ride is on the firm side, it's still plenty compliant enough for daily driving. The powertrain, while much improved, won't rock your socks off because the 2.0-liter I-4 only has adequate power. Nissan's CVT does its best to eke the most out of the little mill, but its tuning causes it to surge at low speeds, making it difficult to stop smoothly.

The Sentra's interior is one of the highlights. Nice materials and unexpected touches like the SV's available quilted leather upholstery give the cabin an upscale atmosphere. Even models without all the fancy options have good build quality thanks to generous amounts of soft-touch materials in areas where your arms would fall. In typical Nissan fashion, the front seats are comfortable. The upscale cabin proved roomy and comfortable when we took our long-term Sentra on an Arizona road trip. Nissan's infotainment system gets a lot of points for user-friendliness thanks to clean, uncluttered knobs and buttons that work in tandem with the main 7.0- or 8.0-inch touchscreen.

In short, the Sentra has matured into a value compact sedan that's competitive and worthy of consideration. You're no longer getting the Sentra for the low price, because you get a lot of features for the money. So if the comparatively low resale value (compared to the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla) isn't a deal-breaker, add the pleasant-driving Sentra to your list.

Performance and Fuel Economy

The 2021 Nissan Sentra uses a 2.0-liter I-4 with 149 hp and 146 lb-ft of torque. EPA fuel economy ratings are 29/39 mpg city/highway for the S and SV grades or 28/37 mpg on the range-topping SR model with the standard CVT automatic.


NHTSA: 5 stars (out of a possible five stars)

IIHS: The Sentra receives a Good score on all crashworthiness tests except headlights where it got a Poor rating (Good is the highest score). In the front crash prevention evaluations, the Sentra earns a Superior rating in the vehicle-to-vehicle test and Advanced on the vehicle-to-pedestrian test (Superior is the highest rating).

Nissan's Safety Shield 360 suite of active safety features is standard on all Sentra models. That includes forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, front and rear automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, automatic high-beams, and driver attention alert. Adaptive cruise control is standard on the SV and SR grades but not available on the base S trim.


The standard infotainment system features a 7.0-inch touchscreen, one USB port and a four-speaker audio system. Moving up to the SV and SR trims add a larger 8.0-inch touchscreen, a 7.0-inch instrument cluster display, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, two extra USB ports (including one USB-C), and a six-speaker audio system. The range-topping SR grade is available with an eight-speaker Bose audio system via the Premium package.

Recommended Trim

Due to the Sentra's strong features-per-dollar value proposition across the board, we'd skip the base S grade and get the SV or SR. From there, you can go for a classy or sporty look. The SV trim with the SV Premium package offers quilted leather upholstery and a cool Rosewood metallic exterior, both of which aren't available on the SR.

However, if you're after a more athletic look, the SR offers 18-inch alloy wheels shod in wider tires, black leatherette upholstery with orange contrast stitching, black side mirrors, and a rear lip spoiler. Those who want every option should also go for the SR because it's the only one available with a 360-degree view parking camera system, an eight-speaker Bose audio system, a heated steering wheel, and LED foglights.

Key Competitors:

Engine Name
Engine: 4-Cyl 2.0 Liter
Transmission Name
Transmission, Xtronic Continuously Variable Automatic Mode Select
S Sedan
Compact Passenger Car
Standard MPG
Body Style
Fuel Type
Unleaded Regular
Seating Capacity
Package Invoice Retail
Show Full Specs
Corrosion Warranty Miles
Maintenance Warranty Months
Corrosion Warranty Months
Powertrain Warranty Miles
Full Warranty Miles
Powertrain Warranty Months
Full Warranty Months
Roadside Assistance Miles
Maintenance Warranty Miles
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IIHS Best Pick
NHTSA Rating Front Driver
Not Rated
IIHS Front Moderate Overlap
NHTSA Rating Front Passenger
Not Rated
IIHS Front Small Overlap
NHTSA Rating Front Side
Not Rated
IIHS Overall Side Crash
NHTSA Rating Overall
Not Rated
IIHS Rear Crash
NHTSA Rating Rear Side
Not Rated
IIHS Roof Strength
NHTSA Rating Rollover
Not Rated
Amount Description Expiry Date
$500 Nissan announces a Customer Conquest offer towards the purchase or lease of an eligible Nissan to qualifying customers that trade in a Honda vehicle. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.] 06-30-2021
$500 Nissan announces a Conquest offer towards the purchase or lease of an eligible Nissan to qualifying customers. 07-06-2021
$0 0% Financing for a maximum term of 36 Months - Nissan announces special APR rates on select models. 07-06-2021
$0 0.9% Financing available for varying term lengths : 48, 60 Months - Nissan announces special APR rates on select models. 07-06-2021
$1200 Nissan announces a NMAC Lease Cash offer on select models when financed with NMAC. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.] 07-06-2021