2018 Nissan Sentra Review

Type:

Pros & Cons

  • Spacious backseat and trunk for the class
  • Priced lower than many rivals
  • User-friendly control layout
  • Slow acceleration on most models
  • Seats aren't particularly suitable for taller drivers
  • Less engaging driving experience than many competitors
List Price Range
$9,900 - $18,999

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Which Sentra does Edmunds recommend?

Unless you're willing to opt for a manual transmission, the price difference between the automatic-equipped S and SV is so minor that we'd recommend going with the Sentra SV. It adds nicer upholstery and interior trimmings, a better stereo, dual-zone climate control, and a few other appealing upgrades without adding too much to the price. Though we're not fond of the sluggish base engine, the upgraded turbo engine is a pricey addition that lessens the Sentra's value proposition, especially compared to competitive cars.

Edmunds' Expert Review

Overall rating

6.9 / 10

The Nissan Sentra offers straightforward practicality and an appealing price. There's plenty of cargo space and lots of room for passengers. It's also an easy car to live with thanks to simple controls and a smooth driving experience.

That said, nothing about the Sentra stands out in the class. Its base engine is one of the slowest available, and even the optional turbocharged engine lags behind some competitors in terms of outright performance. There are also rival sedans that offer nicer interiors and greater degrees of comfort and technology.

A good example is the Kia Forte, which has an extensive list of optional features for a reasonable price. There's also the all-wheel-drive Subaru Impreza that has many excellent active safety features and driver aids available. Finally, the Honda Civic, when equipped with its available turbocharged 1.5-liter engine, is our overall favorite vehicle in the class.

2018 Nissan Sentra models

The 2018 Nissan Sentra sedan is offered in S, SV, SR, SR Turbo, Nismo, and SL trim levels. A 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 124 horsepower and 125 pound-feet of torque (130 horsepower and 128 lb-ft of torque with the S trim's manual transmission) is standard on the S, SV, SR and SL models. A six-speed manual transmission is standard on the S, and a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) is optional on that model and standard on all other Sentras.

The base Sentra S comes with 16-inch steel wheels, automatic headlights, remote keyless entry, air conditioning, a height-adjustable driver seat, 60/40-split folding rear seatbacks, a tilt-and-telescoping steering column, cruise control, trip computer, a 5-inch central touchscreen, a rearview camera and Bluetooth audio connectivity. Automatic emergency braking for imminent front collisions is now also standard on all CVT-equipped Sentra trim levels, except the Nismo.

Stepping up to the SV gets you 16-inch alloy wheels, keyless entry and ignition, upgraded cloth upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, a six-speaker sound system and satellite radio.

The SR gets 17-inch alloy wheels, rear disc brakes, a sport body kit including a rear spoiler, LED headlights (low beams), foglights, adaptive cruise control, heated mirrors, unique cloth upholstery and heated front seats.

For both the SV and SR, heated front seats and side mirrors, a sunroof and a 5.8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with navigation are optional.

The SR Turbo takes the SR trim and adds a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder (188 hp and 177 lb-ft), mated to a choice of a six-speed manual or a specially calibrated CVT with a manual-shift mode. Nissan also adds a sport-tuned suspension, recalibrated steering, upgraded front brakes and a sunroof.

Optional upgrades for the SR and SR Turbo include leather upholstery, a power driver seat, an auto-dimming mirror, a power sunroof, the bigger touchscreen with navigation, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and an eight-speaker Bose audio system with  NissanConnect app connectivity.

The Sentra Nismo comes with the SR Turbo's features and adds a lot of Nismo-branded trim pieces such as a spoiler, 18-inch wheels, exhaust, grille and badges, along with a unique interior appearance package. It also comes standard with NissanConnect and the larger touchscreen, as well as the eight-speaker Bose stereo system.

The top-of-the-line SL loses the SR's sport-themed flourishes, keeps the 1.8-liter engine, and adds unique 17-inch alloy wheels plus the rear disc brakes, leather upholstery, a six-way power driver seat (with power lumbar adjustment), an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a moonroof, a larger 5.8-inch touchscreen with navigation and voice controls, NissanConnect, and the premium eight-speaker Bose stereo system. A blind-spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert is also standard.

Trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2016 Nissan Sentra SL (1.8L inline-4 | CVT automatic | FWD).

NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the current Nissan Sentra has received some revisions, including a more powerful, optional turbocharged engine and some trim-level and package feature adjustments. Our findings remain broadly applicable to this year's Nissan Sentra.

Driving

6.0
Performance is not a Sentra strong suit — far from it. Acceleration is among the worst in the class, and braking and handling are simply acceptable. But it is free of overtly bad habits, so while unremarkable to drive, it isn't irritating during A-to-B transport either.

Acceleration

5.0
The base 1.8-liter engine offers poor acceleration whether from a standstill or when passing, with a 0-60-mph time of 10 seconds that makes the Sentra one of the slowest cars in the class. The significantly stronger turbocharged 1.6-liter should deliver a much better experience.

Braking

6.0
The Sentra's overall performance inspires confidence, although the brakes require a light foot in traffic, where inputs can be sensitive. In our simulated-panic stop from 60 mph, the Sentra posted average performance for the class.

Steering

7.0
The Sentra thankfully lacks the heavy at low speeds, light at high speeds steering effort of some other Nissan products. Effort is appropriate for easy commuting and maneuvering around parking lots. There's sufficient feedback, but class leaders do better.

Handling

6.5
Body roll is largely managed, and overall handling is adequate although rivals provide a greater sense of control. The Sentra is just generally outmatched by most competitors on a windy road, though the stiffer-sprung SR Turbo and Nismo trims should fare better.

Drivability

7.5
The Sentra gets under way smoothly and humbly goes about its business in traffic or when running errands. This is an easy car to drive as long as you aren't in a hurry.

Comfort

7.5
The Sentra can be a quiet, comfortable-riding compact sedan. The trouble is that many rivals are as well, and they also provide superior marks in most other areas. The oddly high-mounted seats were an annoyance for several taller editors.

Seat comfort

6.5
The seats are mounted high. This might give a slightly more commanding view of the road, but it cuts into the available headroom, especially for drivers of above-average height. The front seats are also quite flat yet simultaneously feel overstuffed with seat material.

Ride comfort

7.5
Ride comfort is a strong suit for the Sentra. Small-but-sharp bumps in city driving are felt in the cabin, but not unbearably so, and the highway ride is smooth and composed.

Noise & vibration

7.5
The Sentra can be impressively quiet for a small sedan as long as you go easy on the gas pedal. If you don't, the underpowered engine and CVT conspire to produce loud droning noises a bit reminiscent of an enormous blender.

Interior

8.0
The Sentra is straightforward and user-friendly, with controls that don't require navigating any high-tech interface. Visibility is also quite good, and the trunk is large. It's one of the more sensible compact cars.

Ease of use

8.5
The infotainment screen is small but refreshingly easy to use with straightforward, easy-to-read virtual buttons. Everything important is within reach from the driver's seat including the logical, albeit small, steering wheel controls.

Getting in/getting out

8.5
Getting in and out of both the front and back seat is a breeze (the oddly high seats help in this way at least). Large door openings and high windows make for easy entry into this tall-roofed sedan.

Roominess

7.0
The Sentra has a large back seat with plenty of space for adults. The seats, especially the front passenger one, are mounted noticeably high. People of above-average height reported feeling out of place. Shorter drivers may appreciate the view.

Visibility

8.0
Large windows and mirrors provide good all-around visibility, and the standard rearview camera is a nice addition.

Quality

7.5
The Sentra lacks the polish of a Honda Civic or VW Golf but is nevertheless good for the segment. Frequently touched surfaces (like the center console and elbow rests) are well-padded and made from quality materials. The plastic switchgear doesn't feel cheap or fragile.

Utility

8.0
The 15.1-cubic-foot trunk is large for the class the class, and the Sentra's 60/40-split-folding seat adds some versatility. Center console storage and cupholders are sufficient, but nothing clever. The rear seat has clearly marked LATCH anchors.

Technology

The infotainment system is easy to use, but Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are missing. Automatic emergency braking is now standard on all trims, and a full suite of active safety technologies and driver aids are available on higher trim levels.

EdmundsScorecard

Overall6.9 / 10
Driving6.0
Comfort7.5
Interior8.0
Utility8.0

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2018 Nissan Sentra.

Trending topics in reviews

Most helpful consumer reviews

Fun, fuel efficient, sporty. Sentra S Midnight pkg
Jeff,04/10/2019
S 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl CVT)
Forget the previous review on size of tank. It is 13 gallons. We average 44 mpg on interstate and 33 around town. Do the math. Bought with midnight sport package. Wife loves it. As for tall I am 6’1 with long legs , I can sit in back seat and not bang my head. Tried Corollas and others...nada. The pump to raise and lower seat is interesting but it works. We do best eco mode on interstate. Switch when you need more power. Wife’s iPhone and my iPad connects easily. Don’t get the dinky cheaper radio. We got the full screen with rear camera. Dealers tried to sell us a makeshift one on others. Getting used to the cvt. It all comes down to perspective.
Not a bad car
Robert,03/15/2019
SV 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl CVT)
We bought this car cause we were in a bind and needed a second vehicle. Makes sure you have decent credit or you be stuck with the car value is only 13k on the car and we owe 21k we purchased this in May of 2018. There decent cars but not made for tall people at all and the paint is chipping in several places.
Cures most of the ills of the non-turbo Sentra
Mitch,07/31/2018
SR TURBO 4dr Sedan (1.6L 4cyl Turbo CVT)
About 8 years ago I leased a 2010 Sentra at the request of my wife, who was in love with the basketball color leather seats. It was the lamest car I ever owned (slow, no style, low tech even for then). Forward to 2018, when it came time to turn in my leased 2016 Jetta Sport for a new compact car. We tested the usual suspects: 2018 Honda Civic Turbo, 2018 Mazda3, 2019 Jetta. The Civic was by far the best car, but Honda dealers believe that their cars are made of gold, with diamond accents (first quote for basic turbo sedan, no money down, was $580.00 per month!) so the Honda was eliminated. The Mazda3 was a nice car (I had previously leased THIRTEEN Mazdas over 20 years, so I'm a fan) but didn't really feel impressed. The 2019 Jetta was nicely done, but the weak engine was a turn off. Finally, we went to our local Nissan dealer where we leased a 2017 Maxima (great car) at a fantastic price. My wife again suggested a Sentra, except this time the SR Turbo. A winner! Fast, comfortable, good looking, handles well, fully loaded (premium package with CVT) and much less expensive than all the others.
Engine died while driving
KeithW,09/09/2019
SV 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl CVT)
I was driving a 2018 Sentra with 18,190 miles on it when this happened. I was driving on the downtown main street going at 10~20mph with frequent stops due to heavy traffic. The engine decided to shut down while I'm still driving, of which I'm so glad of the speed I was driving at that time, otherwise, it would be a lot worse than just honk from the cars behind, I could be in a fatal accident. Having to rush to the court, I had to drive an hour to the court with this known issue with lots of anxiety. I got the car exchanged at the rental car company after attending the court and was talking to an old lady who had five Sentra in her life. She was complaining about newer Sentra (after 2012 or so), she also mentioned her daughter's Sentra wheel was locked while driving on the freeway and had to spend three thousand dollars to fix it. I am seriously playing safe to avoid Sentra at all cost. I'm surprised that there aren't that many complaints about this car as well.

Features & Specs

See all Used 2018 Nissan Sentra features & specs

Safety

Our experts like the Sentra models:

Automatic Emergency Braking
Applies the brakes to avoid low-speed collisions when forward-facing sensors detect an obstacle.
Intelligent Cruise Control
Adjusts the speed of the car automatically to maintain a constant distance from the vehicle in front.
Rear Cross-Traffic Alert
Alerts the driver to traffic moving behind the vehicle when in reverse.

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    Overall4 / 5
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    Overall5 / 5
  • Side Barrier Rating
    Overall5 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front Seat5 / 5
    Back Seat5 / 5
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover11.8%
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Good
  • Roof Strength Test
    Good
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Good
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2018 Nissan Sentra

Used 2018 Nissan Sentra Overview

The Used 2018 Nissan Sentra is offered in the following submodels: Sentra Sedan, Sentra NISMO. Available styles include SV 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl CVT), S 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl CVT), SR 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl CVT), S 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 6M), SL 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl CVT), NISMO 4dr Sedan (1.6L 4cyl Turbo 6M), SR TURBO 4dr Sedan (1.6L 4cyl Turbo CVT), NISMO 4dr Sedan (1.6L 4cyl Turbo CVT), and SR TURBO 4dr Sedan (1.6L 4cyl Turbo 6M).

What's a good price on a Used 2018 Nissan Sentra?

Price comparisons for Used 2018 Nissan Sentra trim styles:

  • The Used 2018 Nissan Sentra SV is priced between $10,688 and$18,999 with odometer readings between 1481 and80818 miles.
  • The Used 2018 Nissan Sentra S is priced between $9,900 and$18,000 with odometer readings between 5705 and88983 miles.
  • The Used 2018 Nissan Sentra SR is priced between $12,958 and$16,888 with odometer readings between 7589 and57967 miles.
  • The Used 2018 Nissan Sentra SL is priced between $14,995 and$17,750 with odometer readings between 21249 and45021 miles.
  • The Used 2018 Nissan Sentra SR TURBO is priced between $15,490 and$15,700 with odometer readings between 1321 and45447 miles.

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Which used 2018 Nissan Sentras are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2018 Nissan Sentra for sale near. There are currently 95 used and CPO 2018 Sentras listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $9,900 and mileage as low as 1321 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2018 Nissan Sentra.

Can't find a used 2018 Nissan Sentras you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Nissan Sentra for sale - 11 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $17,419.

Find a used Nissan for sale - 1 great deals out of 13 listings starting at $7,825.

Find a used certified pre-owned Nissan Sentra for sale - 12 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $10,327.

Find a used certified pre-owned Nissan for sale - 8 great deals out of 23 listings starting at $16,581.

Should I lease or buy a 2018 Nissan Sentra?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Nissan lease specials
Check out Nissan Sentra lease specials