Ace of Base: 2019 Nissan Sentra S

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
ace of base 2019 nissan sentra s

It has come to your author’s attention that this series has not paid one iota of consideration to the Nissan Sentra. Plenty of other cars from the Yokohama-based brand have passed through these cheap seats, but not the Sentra. Let’s correct that oversight right now.

While other brands are scuttling away from small sedans like cockroaches scattering when the lights are turned on, Nissan soldiers on with the segment. This compact car competes with Civic and Corollas but, unlike those models, no hatchback variant is offered here.

The penultimate Sentra wore some strange styling choices, trying to walk the line between its new lot in life as (technically, by interior volume) a midsize sedan and its history as a foil to the Civic Si in its tasty SE-R form. For the current car, introduced back in 2013, its visage is much more in line with big bros Altima and Maxima.

Unlike some of its competition, who reserve a stick shift for expensive trims, Nissan makes the six-speed manual transmission available on the cheapest Sentra. Its 1.8-liter four-banger makes 130 horsepower and a roughly like amount of torque, average for entry-level cars in this segment. Note: those are indeed drum brakes out back, hiding behind 16-inch rubber.

Those sideview mirrors are of the power variety, as one would expect these days, as are the car’s locks and windows. Air conditioning is also standard, along with the likes of cruise control and a tilt/telescope wheel. Your chairs are cloth covered and manually adjusted at this price. The rear bench does fold in a 60/40 split, expanding on the already large 15.1 cubic feet of space.

Infotainment wasn’t Nissan’s banner feature when this car appeared five years ago and it continues to show its age. Bluetooth is present and accounted for in that 7-inch touchscreen, however, plus alleged hands-free text messaging. I say “alleged” because a good friend has a Sentra much like this one and cannot command her car to transcribe text messages for love nor money. Carplay doesn’t appear until zootier trims.

Sitting on dealer lots with a sticker of just $17,890, the Sentra represents a solid but often overlooked value, especially considering its competition routinely trades for thousands more. Given that price differential, one could jazz up their Sentra with $145 dual USB ports for rear seat passengers and a $365 decklid spoiler while remaining money-in-the-bank compared to others in its class.

[Images: Nissan]

Not every base model has aced it. The ones which have? They help make the automotive landscape a lot better. Any others you can think of, B&B? Let us know in the comments and feel free to eviscerate our selections.

The model above is shown with American options and priced in American Dollars. Your dealer may sell for less.

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2 of 40 comments
  • Fuzzbutt61 Fuzzbutt61 on Sep 26, 2019

    After reading many of the Nissan Sentra comments I am surprised by the degree of negativity. I purchased a 2017 Sentra S, 6 MT in April of 2017 and it just rolled over the 150,000 km mark. It consistently gets 650 km on 40 litres of fuel and has not had a single mechanical issue. I bought the car as a commuter and it does what it is suppose to do and with a much lower purchase price, mine was under 16,000 CDN. It is not a sports car or a luxury car so don't expect it to be. The one issue, and this may be a Canadian issue, you cannot get A/C with a manual transmission. In closing, I would gladly replace my Sentra for another one in about 30,000 more kms.

  • Akear Akear on Sep 28, 2019

    It is better than any compact car GM has produced in the America.

  • Zipper69 The Bronco is a soft option and has the style that the Jeep lacks. The actual ability of the respective vehicles is irrelevant, they "compete" on image alone. The Bronco is new and trendy and production can't keep pace with demand
  • MaintenanceCosts Will the Bronco have a four-motor configuration a la Rivian? That seems to me like the right approach for an EV off-roader. Enables lots of neat tricks.
  • Lou_BC ERay? A southern model will be the BillyRay.
  • Lou_BC I've never used a car buying plan service. My Costco membership did get me 1,000 cash back on my last truck.
  • Jeff S I can understand 8 cars is a bit much unless you are a serious collector. I always loved the Challenger when it first came out and now. I don't need a car like this but I am glad it exists at least for 1 more year. If I had a choice between a Mustang, a Camaro, and a Challenger I would opt for a Challenger but probably with a V-6 since it has more than enough power for most and I don't need to be burning rubber. Challenger has the classic muscle car looks, more cabin room, and a decent size trunk which makes it very livable for day to day driving and for traveling. The base models of the Dodge Challenger has a 3.6-liter V6 engine that gives you 305 horsepower with 268 lb-ft torque. The car attains 60 mph from a standstill within just 6 seconds, which is quite fast. Even with their base engines, the Challenger and Camaro are lightning-fast. The Camaro reaches 165 mph, while the Challenger can go up to 11 mph faster!