It’s tough to beat a stretch of long highway to test drive a car than US 1 through the Florida Keys. This is where Nissan chose to bring a select group of media members to check out the 2020 Sentra, its newest version of the compact sedan. The drive offered experiences similar to everyday driving conditions from highway speeds to fits and starts at traffic signals and stop signs. The ultimate road trip? Perhaps, thanks to the sparkling blue water on both sides of the famous 2-lane road.
First things first, the Sentra offers a quiet ride. A very quiet ride. I could host my radio show from the driver’s seat and my listeners would have no clue I was cruising at 60mph. It’s comfy, too, mostly thanks to the Nissan’s “Zero Gravity” seat cushions which come on all Sentras. The new version is longer and wider than previous models with a more sculpted look. The sleek, black roof contrasts well with the body color, especially the Monarch Orange I drove.
The Sentra fits four adults comfortably and my long legs had no issue sitting in the rear seat. Trunk space capacity is 14.3 cubic feet – large enough for 2-3 suitcases or several bags of kids’ athletic gear.
The 2.0-liter engine makes 149 horsepower and 146 pound-feet of torque which is an upgrade from the 124 hp and 125 lb-ft from the old model’s smaller, 1.8-liter engine. The EPA rates fuel economy at 29/39 mpg which is decent. I did not notice much of a fuel tank drop during my journey through the tropical scenery.
The infotainment package is OK – nothing fancy, just a 7″ (or 8″ depending on the trim) cut-and-dry floating touchscreen within the driver’s reach. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are here which are necessary if you want to see a map as the Sentra does not come with on-board navigation.
I’ve been a fan of Nissan’s safety features and driver-assisted technology for a long time. All of the hyphenated features are standard: rear cross-traffic alert (my #1 safety feature in vehicles), forward-collision warning, blind-spot monitoring, and lane-departure warning.
The sedan handled great but the most impressive takeaway from my time with the Nissan marketers was the price point. The S starts at just over $19,000 (note: those company execs chuckled when I asked if I could pay via Venmo). A fully-loaded SR model with the Premium Package (Bose audio, 360-degree camera, moonroof, LED lights and more) peaks at $24,525. That’s about a $4,000 savings from comparable cars like the Honda Civic. If the look and drive of the 2020 Sentra don’t fully push you over the edge then the cost-benefit equation definitely makes it a winner.
See for yourself: