By on April 16, 2019

Image: Nissan

As journos pack themselves into cramped regional airliners headed for New York, Auto Shanghai 2019 is already delivering the goods, providing a taste of global-market vehicles to come. We showed you a brace of Buick Encores yesterday, but Tuesday brings another model destined to arrive on your doorstep, albeit with another name: the 2020 Nissan Sentra.

It’s not called that in China and other Asian markets. There, the compact Nissan sedan bears the name Sylphy. Meet Sylphy.

As the photos show, the next-gen Sylphy adopts every contemporary Nissan passenger car styling cue in the book, from the floating roof to upward-sweeping beltline to corporate V-motion grille — all traits that appeared on the recently unveiled 2020 Nissan Versa.

Like the previous-gen (B17) Sylphy, it’s widely assumed that this vehicle will become the North American-market Sentra — a model introduced for 2013 that finds itself in dire need of some excitement (sorry, NISMO fans).

Image: Nissan

In debuting the new Sylphy, Nissan boasted of better fuel efficiency, a wider stance, lower center of gravity, and a heavily upgraded interior. It’s slipperier, too, with a drag coefficient of 0.26.

Powering the revamped sedan is a third-generation version of the 1.6-liter HR16DE four-cylinder found in today’s Sylphy/Sentra, though Nissan neglected to offer power figures. An Xtronic continuously variable automatic returns in the transmission role.

Image: Nissan

Nissan designers aimed to make this generation a touch more engaging to drive, recalibrating the steering, upgrading the suspension, and boosting chassis stiffness. Suffice it to say the sumptuous interior seen here won’t greet you at the rental lot, but will be available for buyers who tick the box for a top-level trim. Three-outlet A/C allows occupants to determine who gets the cold blast, while an 8-inch infotainment screen now protrudes from the top of the dash, freeing up center stack space for other controls. Manly controls. Just look at that setup. Ahead of the driver, a 7-inch information display keeps tabs on the car’s many sensor readings.

Image: Nissan

Among other tech must-haves, Nissan promises smartphone connectivity and intelligent voice command, as well as Integrated Dynamic Control Module, which applies various brakes to level the car’s body following road surface upsets.

While some changes might accompany the car to North American production, what you see here is probably pretty close to what you’ll get. Expect news of a new Sentra later this year.

[Images: Nissan]

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38 Comments on “A Sentra by Another Name Appears in China...”


  • avatar
    quaquaqua

    The Sentra has been such a butt-ugly POS for years now that I’m surprised they actually designed one that looks nice. It’ll still be underpowered and offer the worst driving experience in its class because, ya know, Nissan, but at least I won’t roll my eyes when I see someone driving one of these (with a damaged bumper within weeks of purchase, also a Nissan driver hallmark).

  • avatar

    That interior color is ghastly and nobody should select it.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    It’s definitely a step up, but given how bad the current model is, that’s faint praise.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    When they buy one of these, is it called taking a Sylphy?

  • avatar
    make_light

    I didn’t MIND the current Sentra. Way too slow, but at least it resisted the urge to get lower and lower like the Honda Civic. At 6’2, I prefer not to crawl out of my cars and feel my hair brush against the roof when driving.
    This new version actually looks pretty clean and well-sorted, I might even prefer it to most in the class except maybe Mazda. Hopefully drives well.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    Are Nissan’s CVTs getting any better? I’m in the middle of The Used Car Search From Hell (for a 17-yo daughter, first car), and I’m avoiding pretty much any Nissan (Versa/Sentra/Altima) because of the reputation of their CVTs.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Find one cheap enough with low enough miles and buy an extended warranty if you’re that worried.

      On a related note I saw an Altima SV 4-cyl in traffic this AM, last of the previous generation cars shinning like a new penny. I laughed when I saw the “Special Edition” badge on the trunk. The same one Nissan has been using for the last 20 years.

      • 0 avatar
        dukeisduke

        Thanks. We passed on a 2010 Versa hatchback with 50,000 miles a couple of weeks ago (literally an old lady’s car). I’m basically avoiding all Nissans.

        And those “Special Edition” badges? Yeah, they make me laugh. I think they should have put “Edición Especial Extra” (yeah, I cheated and used Google Translate) badges on the Nissan Tsurus down in Mexico.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Duke, how much are you looking to spend?

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    So happy that Nissan decided that its cars needn’t be horribly ugly anymore.

    • 0 avatar

      PS. I don’t mind the exterior styling at all. It’s simple, and should age well.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        Agreed.

        In other news, I’m going to look at the Bravada tomorrow. Yes, I know what I’d be getting into, lol. I should have checked out that Focus for a work car, but it sold within a day. The Bravada wont be for work once the GMC is going, but that seems to be taking forever.

        If the Bravada isnt trashed inside and it runs/drives okay, I think I’ll take a chance on it.

        • 0 avatar

          From the time when I looked at Bravada (I know you’re in the south), check around the tailgate, especially the CHMSL area for rust!

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            Will do.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            You know, Ive about talked myself out of the Bravada. Just don’t want to open that can of worms.

            I’m just so sick of driving the Taurus on these jobs. It gets exposed to salt and lime dust from the paper mills and it gets trashed in the horrible contractor’s parking lots, not to mention how filthy I am after work.

            I just ordered a new molded dash cap for it, along with new drilled/slotted rotors and ceramic pads. No, I have no delusions of it being a track monster, lol, I just hate warped rotors.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            Re: Bravada – reminds me of the a joke FourWheel & OffRoad magazine like to occasionally insert in to an article…

            “Fighting harder than a stock Bravada in a mud bog.”

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Interior is impressive, but the auto industry seems to have come to a consensus on how to design a center console. Toyota, Honda, Nissan, BMW, Mazda, Chevy all have a variation of this theme. I guess if it works it works… and this is light years better than the previous one, and better than some of its current competitors…. but I’m surprised at the complete lack of originality.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      The reach for the knobs on the side looks a bit long, not to mention that it appears to be a touch screen, since there doesn’t appear to be a control knob anywhere.

  • avatar
    conundrum

    What a sad-looking little plodder. Every styling geegaw ever known has been ladled onto the basic uninspiring shape. There are more folds and creases than great granny’s neck. Lost. Completely lost this thing is.

    The interior somehow gives off the vibe of an era past even though the iPad is velcroed to the dash.

    Sentra. The car for those who’ve given up completely.

  • avatar
    MKizzy

    Oh look! Another car with a grill that doubles as a front bumper. And this one’s cheap enough for GEIGO to declare totaled if a shopping cart slams into it at just the right angle.


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