Sentra: No Longer an Entry-Level Sedan

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CHATHAM, Mass. – There is nothing about the 2022 Nissan Sentra SR which belies its entry-level sedan roots. Sure, it still offers excellent fuel economy and solid value, but the look, the feel and the amenities indicate a sedan of much higher pedigree.

Underneath the sleek fastback shape is a fully equipped, comfortable four-door sedan which can accommodate five reasonably sized passengers in a cozy cabin filled with technology. This includes technology aimed at enhancing the driving safety through the comprehensive suite of advanced driver-assist systems (ADAS) and features.

Nissan Safety Shield® 360 at the heart of the ADAS

The company boasts of having the most standard safety features in its class, but rather than nitpick on numbers of systems, let us just say the 2022 Sentra 2.0 SR provides elements equal to many premium models.

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The Nissan Safety Shield® 360 consists of six ADAS:  Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection and Intelligent Forward Collision Warning, Blind Spot Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Departure Warning with haptic steering-wheel (the wheel vibrates when you cross a lane marker), High Beam Assist and Rear Automatic Braking.

In addition, the optional SR Premium package in my review car brought Nissan’s Intelligent Around View® Monitor, an aerial view of the vehicle and its immediate surroundings (a system Nissan pioneered.

Enhancing safe operations are several electronic driving aids integral with the Sentra’s powertrain, braking and chassis components including anti-lock brakes (ABS), electronic brake-force distribution, vehicle dynamic control system (VDC) and traction control system (TCS).

The VDC provides the technological foundation for Nissan’s Intelligent Trace Control which uses intelligent control logic and high-response brake actuators to lightly brake the inside front wheels during cornering (as required) to increase yawmoment. The cumulative of all these changes is enhanced handling, stability and ride comfort, providing a greater sense of driver confidence and control.

Rounding out the safety features is the Nissan Advanced Air Bag System with dual-stage supplemental front air bags with seat belt and occupant classification sensors; roof-mounted curtain side impact supplemental air bags with rollover sensor for front and rear-seat outboard occupant head protection; driver and front passenger seat-mounted side-impact supplemental air bags; rear passenger seat-mounted side-impact supplemental air bags; and driver and front passenger knee supplemental air bags.

Proven driving foundation delivers

Nissan says the Sentra provides a “confident driving experience” which I found to be a perfect summation during my time in the car. The cabin provides a comfortable place for a quick run to the store in town or a highway trip across the bridge, off Cape Cod for the day.

Performance from the 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine was more than adequate throughout my varied drives, never leaving me desperate for more power. The engine’s fuel efficiency was first rate, producing 32 miles per gallon, right on the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s rating (also 28 city, 37 highway).

The well sorted and responsive suspension system featured MacPherson-type struts up front, multi-link independent setup in the rear, with tube shocks and stabilizer bars at both ends.

The brakes are vented discs all around, 11 inches in the front, 10.2 inches in the rear.

The 18-inch alloy wheels are shod with 215/45R18 all season tires.

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Technology rules the cabin

The interior materials are well done, harmonious and inviting, producing the look and feel of a much-more expensive car. The six-way power adjusted seat (heated as is the front passenger’s) and tilt/telescoping steering wheel (leather wrapped and heated) allows the driver to find the perfect driving position.

An automatic, dual-zone climate-control system helps keep the environment within the cabin just right.

In front of the driver is a seven-inch customizable electronic cluster with an eight-inch color touch screen dominating the center top of the dash and serving as the heart of the infotainment system.

The usual source material is part of the infotainment system – AM/FM/SiriusXM satellite radio/Bluetooth streaming audio/Apple CarPlay/Android Auto – and plays through an eight-speaker Bose premium audio system (again, part of the Premium Package). And USB ports appear front (two) and rear (one) to keep mobile devices fully charged and to tap into the infotainment system as source material.

The Premium Package also brought a power sliding/tilting moonroof, thin-type LED headlights, the heated front seats and steering wheel, and a variety of smartphone-enabled features through Nissan Connect® Services powered by SiriusXM and Nissan Connect® with WiFi hotspot.

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Summing up the Sentra range

There was a lot to like about the 2022 Nissan Sentra SR with SR Premium Package – the comfortable ride; comfortable cabin filled with amenities; the outstanding fuel economy; the room – including the value proposition.

There are four members of the Nissan Sentra family for 2022, ranging from the Sentra S with a base price of $19,500 through the Midnight Edition (new for 2022 at $22,950) which adds unique styling touches to the comprehensively equipped SR version ($22,100).

The model we drove, SR with Premium Package and 18-inch black alloy wheels, came to $27,270 (including $975 destination charges), a solid value in today’s automotive marketplace. This price brings an attractive, fun, practical, well-thought-out sedan with modern features and amenities. There is nothing entry-level about this Nissan Sentra.

Next week TBR Drives the updated Toyota 4Runner.

Mike Geylin
Mike Geylin

Mike Geylin is the Editor-in-Chief at Hagman Media. Geylin has been in automotive communications for five decades working in all aspects of the industry from OEM to supplier to motorsports as well as reporting for both newspapers and magazines on the industry.