The 2018 Nissan Sentra Is Only Good On Paper

The Nissan Sentra has come a long way. But you wouldn’t necessarily think that when you look at the 2018 model. The 2018 Sentra stands out for being one of the most dependable and affordable versions. But you might want to rethink settling on this Nissan for a cheap used car

Driving the 2018 Nissan Sentra is rather dull

A white 2018 Nissan Sentra on the track.
The 2018 Nissan Sentra in action | Photo via Nissan

As a whole, Nissan doesn’t get credit for providing a consistent lineup of high performers as Mazda does. That said, the 2018 Sentra is incredibly bland, and that’s something numerous critics agreed on when it was new. U.S. News ranked it toward the bottom of the compact car class for its “anemic” engine. Edmunds also took points away for the Sentra’s lack of driving engagement. 

For similar reasons, Consumer Reports said the 2018 Sentra only looks good on paper since it underwhelms in real life. Most 2018 Sentras will have the standard engine, which is a 124-hp, 1.8-liter four-cylinder. It’s also available with a six-speed manual or a continuously variable automatic.

The good news here is that models with the base engine can get up to 32 mpg overall. But its lack of power is evident, especially on the highway. Though, the upper-level SR Turbo and Nismo trims make the Sentra a little more interesting. These variants have the Nissan’s available turbo-four that produces 188-hp. Even with this engine, the Sentra still feels pokey. 

The 2018 Sentra’s interior also garnered mingled reviews 

2017 Nissan Sentra Nismo is on display at the 109th Annual Chicago Auto Show
The Nissan Sentra | Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

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As you do more research, you’ll notice that reviews for the Sentra’s interior offerings are also mixed. Some road testers recognized the Nissan for its impressive outward visibility. U.S. News critics appreciated that the Sentra’s seats were comfortable and that it offers sufficient legroom. The org did note that the available headroom wasn’t as generous, though.

A 2018 Nissan Sentra wih black trim.
2018 Nissan Sentra SR trim | Photo via Nissan

Others felt that the Sentra’s interior looked outdated compared to the competition. Like most of its classmates, the 2018 Sentra came with cloth upholstery. Upgraded versions will have premium cloth or leather. A heated steering wheel and heated front seats were optional too. 

The 2018 Sentra’s tech offerings were also behind for the class. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto weren’t initially available. Some people complained that its 5-inch touchscreen was too tiny. Another disappointment was that advanced safety features, including forward-collision warning and blind-spot monitoring, weren’t standard. 

Should you pass on the Sentra completely? 

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The 2018 Sentra isn’t all bad. It’s just that its classmates were considerably better for this model year. Many critics liked that the Sentra offers adequate passenger and cargo space. And with prices ranging between $11,125 and $16,700, the 2018 Sentra is one of the cheaper, newish used cars. 

If your budget allows it, consider spending a bit more on a used Honda Civic or a used Mazda3. Honda’s Civic provides a more responsive driving experience. The Mazda3 will give you a more upscale feel. You may even want to splurge on the newest Sentra since it’s more well-rounded.