A Sentra by Another Name Appears in China

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

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).

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.

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.

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]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Conundrum Conundrum on Apr 16, 2019

    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.

  • MKizzy MKizzy on Apr 16, 2019

    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.

  • IBx1 Never got the appeal of these; it looks like there was a Soviet mandate to create a car with two doors and a roof that could be configured in different ways.
  • CAMeyer Considering how many voters will be voting for Trump because they remember that gas prices were low in 2020–never mind the pandemic—this seems like a wise move.
  • The Oracle Been out on the boat on Lake James (NC) and cooking up some hella good food here with friends at the lake place.
  • ToolGuy Also on to-do list: Read the latest Steve S. fiction work on TTAC (May 20 Junkyard Find)
  • 1995 SC I'm likely in the minority, but I really liked the last Eldorado best. That and the STS.