2020 Nissan Sentra banishes boring styling, as well as its turbocharged engine

The Nissan Sentra has always struggled to pry customers away from the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla, but now Nissan’s task is even harder. Buyers are moving away from sedans in general and flocking to crossovers. So Nissan gave the eighth-generation 2020 Sentra a major dose of style and tech. The redesigned sedan debuts at this week’s 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show, and goes on sale in late January 2020.

The Sentra sits between the Versa and Altima in Nissan’s lineup, and the 2020 model borrows styling features from those cars. As with the Versa and Altima, the 2020 Sentra’s styling is a major improvement mostly because the previous version was so forgettable. The 2020 Sentra is about 2 inches lower and 2 inches wider than its predecessor, according to Nissan, giving it better proportions. Thinner headlights and taillights lend the car a more streamlined look, although Nissan’s massive “V-Motion” grille may be a bit much.

Nissan previously offered a mildly sporty Sentra NISMO model with a turbocharged engine, but that isn’t on the menu this time. The only available engine is now a 2.0-liter four-cylinder making 149 horsepower and 146 pound-feet of torque. Those are improvements of 25 hp and 21 lb.-ft. over the outgoing base 1.8-liter engine, at least. Despite the increase in power, Nissan expects the new engine to get better gas mileage. Nissan also eliminated the manual transmission option, so a continuously variable transmission (CVT) is now mandatory.

A 7.0-inch touchscreen is standard on the base Sentra S trim level. SV and SR models get an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.  The Sentra also gets Nissan’s ubiquitous “NASA-inspired” Zero Gravity seats, which are designed using the space agency’s research on the human body.

The 2020 Sentra gets a decent array of standard driver-assist tech under the Nissan Safety Shield 360 banner, including autonomous emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning, and automatic high beams. A rear-seat occupant reminder, driver-attention monitor, and 360-degree camera system are also available. Adaptive cruise control is standard on the SV and SR trim levels, but not the base S model.

Pricing for the 2020 Nissan Sentra will be revealed closer to the car’s launch at the end of January 2020.

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