After a complete revamping for 2020, the Nissan Sentra compact sedan is augmented for 2021 by the inclusion of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration as standard equipment on all models. Both were previously optional, and available only on the higher trim levels.
NissanConnect remote access vehicle function and a Wi-Fi hotspot are now available on the top-tier SR model, which also offers a new two-tone paint combination of Electric Blue Metallic with a black roof.
A comfortable cabin, excellent styling, and generous supply of driver-assistance technologies are among Sentra’s attractions. Its 149-horsepower four-cylinder engine is ideally suited to commuting and other daily driving activities rather than inducing acceleration excitement. Sentra also makes a pleasant traveling companion on longer trips, and its continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) is praiseworthy.
The 2021 Sentra has three trim levels: S, SV, and SR. Pricing starts at $20,410 including a $950 destination charge.
Standard features on the S model include 16-inch steel wheels, halogen headlights, cloth seats, cruise control, variable intermittent wipers, a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system with four-speaker audio, and Nissan Safety Shield 360, the group of driver-assistance technologies mentioned above. They are automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning, high beam assist, and rear automatic braking.
For another $1,060 the SV model beckons with heated outside mirrors, upgraded cloth seats, dual-zone climate control, intelligent cruise control, an 8-inch infotainment system with satellite radio and six speakers, and the option of a power moonroof. The SV has 16-inch alloy wheels and the option of 17-inchers. Its base price is $21,470.
The SR model weighs in at $22,750 with the option of a heated steering wheel, 18-inch spoked alloy wheels, LED headlights and fog lights, sport cloth seats with orange stitching, the option of leatherette seats, and sporty exterior add-ons including lower body side sill extensions, rear spoiler, and chrome exhaust tip.
Note that all three trims come standard with a six-way manually adjustable driver’s seat. SV and SR offer the options of six-way power and two-way power lumbar.
Fuel economy ratings for the S and SV models are 29 mpg city, 39 mpg highway, and 33 mpg combined. The numbers drop a bit for the SR model: 28/37/32 mpg.
My tester was a Sentra SV with a Premium Package ($2,270) that includes 17-inch wheels, a moonroof, the power driver’s seat options, heated front seats, quilted leather seat trim and a leather-wrapped shift knob.
The remaining $1,895 in options leading up to the test car’s $25,560 grand total were Lighting and Electronics packages, premium paint (an admittedly beautiful Scarlet Ember Tintcoat), a rear spoiler, and of course the floor mats.
Sentra’s spacious interior provides ample room for front row as well as back row passengers, though very tall people might be shortchanged on headroom in the back row due to the car’s sloping roof.
The infotainment system’s touchscreen is eye-catching but moody, sometimes responding quickly to touches and other times not, so I mostly circumvented it, using controls on the steering wheel and physical dials for volume adjustment and tuning.
True to form, my Sentra delivered a week of relaxed driving, with Nissan’s signature Zero Gravity seats providing overarching comfort. Attractiveness of the new exterior styling was confirmed by many heads turning toward the car all week – a new experience for the Sentra, I’m pretty sure.
2021 NISSAN SENTRA SV
Base price, including destination charge: $21,470
Price as driven: $25,560
Mary Lowry is an independent automotive writer who lives in Snohomish County. She is a member of the Motor Press Guild, and a member and past president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturers as a one-week loan for review purposes only. In no way do the manufacturers control the content of the reviews.