The 2022 Nissan Sentra is a stylish entry in the compact-car segment, but it’s devoid of any driving verve. Anyone seeking some excitement behind the wheel should look elsewhere. Anyone searching for an array of standard active safety features and comfortable passenger accommodations all in an affordable sedan that doesn’t look like it belongs in a rental fleet should give the Sentra a closer look. But unlike many competitors that offer turbocharged engines or hybrid powertrains, the Nissan only comes with an underpowered four-cylinder. There’s also no manual-transmission option or available all-wheel-drive system. There is an SR model with a sportier suspension and 18-inch wheels, but they do more to ruin the ride quality than improve the driving experience. Still, the 2022 Sentra is attractive and well equipped—qualities a lot of shoppers appreciate.
What’s New for 2022?
For 2022, the Sentra lineup adds a couple new option packages. The SV trim can now be equipped with an All-Weather package that adds heated elements to the steering wheel, front seats, and exterior mirrors. The SR trim can now be paired with a Midnight Edition package, which adds black exterior bits and unique interior appointments.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
We’d go with the mid-level SV trim that’s only about $1000 more than the base model. It adds a larger 8.0-inch touchscreen, adaptive cruise control, and dual-zone automatic climate control. We’d also upgrade it further with the SV Premium package that adds 17-inch aluminum wheels, heated front seats, quilted leather upholstery, a leather shift knob, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, and a sunroof.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Every Sentra is powered by a 149-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that pairs with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) and front-wheel drive. While the gearless automatic simulates traditional gearchanges, it doesn’t alter the fact that the Sentra we tested was noisy and slow, especially when trying to pass at highway speeds. There’s not a lot of entertainment behind the wheel, either. Steering effort is weighty and predictable, but it’s nowhere near as communicative as in rivals such as the Honda Civic and Mazda 3. The Nissan features an independent rear suspension and wheel sizes that range from 16 to 18 inches. The version we drove rolled on the largest set, which contributed to a firm ride quality and excessive road noise. Still, the Sentra is comfortable and compliant for daily commutes and weekend trips. We were especially impressed with its braking system. It delivered reassuring pedal feel and solid stopping power from 70 mph, coming to a halt in a class-competitive 170 feet.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The Sentra is estimated to earn up to 29 mpg in the city and 39 mpg on the highway. Those figures drop to 28 mpg city and 37 highway on the sporty SR trim. Still, the Nissan is just as efficient as some competitors that also are powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder and CVT, but the Toyota Corolla tops the list with 31 mpg city and 40 highway. The Sentra SR that we ran on our 75-mph highway fuel-economy route—part of our extensive testing regimen—matched its government highway rating at 37 mpg. However, the Corolla XSE sedan we tested returned 41 mpg. For more information about the Sentra’s fuel economy, visit the EPA’s website.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Inside, the Sentra has one of the prettier designs in this segment. The driver faces a set of simple analog gauges that sandwich a 7.0-inch display on all but the base model. The center of the dashboard hosts a trio of circular air vents above sturdy climate controls. The interior materials are a mix of soft and hard plastics, but the former cover the surfaces that count and help mask the rest. Models appointed with the quilted leather upholstery look especially upscale, even though they’re at odds with the sporty-car, flat-bottom steering wheel. Nissan also coddles passengers in the front with its extra-comfy Zero Gravity seats, which are spacious, pliant, and supportive. Opting for the available sunroof cuts into the cabin’s headroom but otherwise, adults have ample space in the front and back. We also managed to fit seven carry-on suitcases in the Sentra’s 14-cubic-foot trunk; that’s one more than the Corolla sedan held.
Infotainment and Connectivity
A touchscreen sprouts from the middle of every Sentra’s dashboard, and it’s supplemented by physical volume and tuning knobs. While the base model features a 7.0-inch display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, the rest have an 8.0-inch unit as well as USB access in the front and back seats. The latter system is also compatible with better options such as SiriusXM satellite radio, an eight-speaker Bose stereo, and a Wi-Fi hotspot.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
Nissan packs its compact sedan with a load of standard driver-assistance technology. Shoppers can also get adaptive cruise control and a 360-degree camera system on all but the base model. For more information about the Sentra’s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:
- Standard forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking
- Standard blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert
- Standard rear automated emergency braking
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Nissan offers a competitive, albeit unremarkable, limited and powertrain warranty. However, compact rivals from Kia and Hyundai have much better coverage. Likewise, both Toyota and Volkswagen come with complimentary maintenance.
- Limited warranty covers three years or 36,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers five years or 60,000 miles
- No complimentary scheduled maintenance