2022 Nissan Sentra: The Forgotten Compact Sedan

Published on June 3, 2022 in Test Drives by Dominic Boucher

The Nissan Sentra is two years removed from a complete redesign that gave it much sharper looks in a bid to stand out from the more popular Hyundai Elantra, Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic and Mazda3.

While compact sedans are no longer the major players they once were, they still remain important products, especially in Canada.

So, how does the Nissan Sentra fare against tough competition? We recently put a 2022 Sentra Midnight Edition to the test to find out.

Photo: Dominic Boucher

Pleasant Cabin

The interior of the Sentra is a nice place to spend time in, particularly with contrast stitching on the centre console and seats. The latter could use a bit more adjustability and larger seatbacks, though. The front passenger’s seat isn’t even height-adjustable.  

Powering an eight-inch touchscreen, the infotainment system proves easy to use. If you prefer, you can switch to Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. Base models have four speakers, SV and SR add two more, and the SR Prime gets an eight-speaker Bose stereo.

Fit and finish could be improved both inside and out. Some of the body panels are spaced far apart, including the hood. Still, the Sentra feels solid.

Photo: Dominic Boucher

Proper Handling

Nissan has worked to bring a bit of fun to the driving experience. The steering wheel offers a nice grip, and steering itself is precise. The instruments are clear and incorporate a 4.2- or 7-inch display (depending on the model) between the analogue gauges.

As for the suspension, the Sentra delivers a good mix of comfort and agility. Visibility is adequate except when it comes to the rear window.

It’s too bad the powertrain lacks gusto. We’re talking about a naturally aspirated 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine that produces a modest 149 horsepower and 146 pound-feet of torque. For daily commutes, you will be fine—and pleased by fuel economy. But since our tester was a more upscale SR model, we would have liked a few extra horses.

Photo: Dominic Boucher

By the way, only the Sentra S and SR can be equipped with the six-speed manual gearbox. All the others rely on a continuously variable transmission, and it’s one that simulates gear shifts to prevent the usual CVT droning effect.

At the end of the week, we recorded an average fuel consumption of 6.5 L/100 km, which is significantly better than the official rating of 7.1 L/100 km posted by Natural Resources Canada. Curiously, the Sentra lacks auto Start/Stop technology, which could make it even more efficient around town.

Photo: Dominic Boucher

Two Special Editions

The 2022 Nissan Sentra comes in eight trim levels: S, S Plus, SV, SR (manual), SV Special Edition, SR, SR Midnight Edition and SR Prime. Pricing ranges from $19,598-$27,098 plus freight and PDI, undercutting the competition by a good margin.

The new SV Special Edition features a sunroof, 17-inch wheels and rear spoiler, while the SR Midnight Edition sports a black finish on the front grille, rear diffuser, spoiler, badges and 18-inch, five-spoke wheels.

Our tester also had this cool two-tone look with a Gun Metallic body and Super Black roof, a $630 option. Including freight and PDI, it cost $27,898.  

Photo: Dominic Boucher

Host of Technologies

All 2022 Nissan Sentra models come standard with the Nissan Safety Shield 360, a bundle of active safety and driver assistance features including Blind Spot Warning, Lane Departure Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Rear Automatic Braking, High Beam Assist and Intelligent Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection. Also available are Intelligent Driver Alertness, Traffic Sign Recognition and more.

The Midnight Edition adds Intelligent Cruise Control, while the SR Prime is the only one to get Nissan’s Intelligent Around View Monitor instead of the conventional back-up camera.

Ultimately, the 2022 Nissan Sentra is a competitively priced offering in the compact car segment. Other than that, it doesn’t really stand out from the more established rivals. Consider it a sensible purchase, nonetheless.

Test drive report
Test model 2022 Nissan Sentra
Trim level SR Édition Minuit
Price range $19,598 – $27,098
Price as tested CA$25,598
Warranty (basic) 3 years/60,000 km
Warranty (powertrain) 5 years/100,000 km
Fuel economy (city/highway/observed) 8.2 / 6.2 / 6.5 L/100km
Options Gun Metallic/Super Black exterior ($630)
Competitive models 2022 Honda Civic, 2022 Hyundai Elantra, 2022 Kia Forte, 2022 Mazda Mazda3, 2022 Subaru Impreza, 2022 Toyota Corolla, 2022 Volkswagen Jetta
Strong points
  • Proper Handling
  • Competitive Price
  • Sharp looks
  • Great fuel economy
Weak points
  • Weak engine
  • Fit and finish could be better
  • No start/stop system
Editor's rating
Fuel economy 4.0/5 Our tester achieved 6.5 L/100 km, which is quite efficient even by compact car standards.
Comfort 3.5/5 The suspension is nicely calibrated. The front buckets, while comfortable, could use larger seatbacks.
Performance 3.5/5 The engine is underpowered and paired with a CVT. Enough said.
Infotainment 4.0/5 The infotainment system proves easy to use. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard.
Driving 3.5/5 The powertrain notwithstanding, the Sentra is a fairly decent driver.
Overall 3.5/5 The Nissan Sentra is an A-to-B car with an affordable price and great fuel economy.
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