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There are a lot of great options in the compact car segment. The Nissan Sentra is one that’s, well, just OK. It’s one of the oldest names in its class, and there’s nothing wrong with it, per se, but it’s up against some tough competition. The Nissan Sentra features an underwhelming engine and hasn’t received a significant update in several years, which is a big part of its failure to stand out.

The Nissan Sentra is getting stale

The current-generation Nissan Sentra was redesigned for the 2020 model year and has had minimal changes since. The eighth-generation Sentra was great when it debuted and even won some awards; it made it on the Autotrader Best New Cars for 2020 list.

However, since then, most of the Sentra’s rivals have been either redesigned or refreshed. An all-new Hyundai Elantra with edgy styling and modern tech was introduced for the 2021 model year. For 2022, we saw an all-new Honda Civic and an updated Kia Forte, and the Toyota Corolla got a mid-cycle refresh for the 2023 model year.

The Sentra received some minor updates for its 2021 model. New Sentra features that year included an available Wi-Fi hotspot and standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, but it’s more or less remained unchanged since then. If you’re in the market for a compact car today, there’s not much benefit to buying a new Nissan Sentra compared to a more affordable used option from 2020 or newer.

2023 Nissan Sentra features

According to U.S. News, standard Nissan Sentra features include the Nissan Safety Shield 360 safety tech suite, a 7-inch touchscreen display with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, push-button start, and a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine.

That engine is one of the big weaknesses of the Sentra. It only makes 149 horsepower, and it’s mated to a ho-hum CVT transmission. It gets a combined fuel economy rating of up to 33 mpg. These are mediocre performance and fuel economy specs for a compact car, and no other powertrain options exist.

Additionally, the Nissan Sentra is one of the only compact cars that don’t offer a high-performance variant. There’s the Honda Civic Si and Type R, the Toyota GR Corolla, the Hyundai Elantra N, the Kia Forte GT, the Volkswagen Jetta GLI, and the turbo options for the Mazda3. That leaves the Sentra and Subaru Impreza as the only cars in this class with no sporty powertrain option.

There’s also no hybrid option for the Sentra. The Toyota Corolla and Hyundai Elantra offer hybrid variants if you want hybrid fuel economy at an affordable price in the same class.

Is the Sentra a good value in the compact sedan class?

The point is that nothing makes the Nissan Sentra stand out this year. Its calling card is value, with its low starting price of just over $20k. Even the loaded SR trim starts at just $22,940; that’s a lot of bang for the buck in a new compact car.

The Sentra could continue to hang its hat on value. Still, it could use some extra excitement under the hood or a hybrid/electrified option to give it greater distinction in the competitive compact car class.

Related The 2023 Nissan Sentra S Remains the Cheapest New Compact Sedan After No Annual Price Hike

The 2023 Nissan Sentra S Remains the Cheapest New Compact Sedan After No Annual Price Hike