This year, Nissan has come out with an all-new Sentra, redesigned from the ground up. To this point, after our week with the new Sentra, we were completely impressed with the design and all the features that were included in the compact sedan.

As many automakers have moved completely away from the sedan market, our hats are off to Nissan for not only staying in the market but also for adding technology and features that we would have never expected from an entry-level vehicle.

Nissan calls the new Sentra a breakthrough, giving the popular sedan a boost of confidence along with setting new design standards and taking many cues from its brothers, the Altima and Maxima.

The eighth-generation Sentra now comes standard with Nissan’s Safety Shield 360. This system includes Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Blind Spot Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Departure Warning, High Beam Assist and Rear Automatic Braking.

These are all great additions that we love and would highly recommend on any new car purchase, and it’s awesome to see them coming standard, especially on a new Sentra.

Also included on the SR test ride we had for the week was Adaptive Cruise Control, which was a great addition for all of the longer trips we had to make. On Sunday, we took a true Sunday drive, navigating throughout Utah County both on the freeway and through many city streets.

This, along with a trip to Ogden that Craig had to make on Tuesday, made the included cruise control indispensable. The Sentra handled every situation with ease, even coming to a complete stop in traffic and navigating the condensed version of I-15 near Lehi with no problems.

The exterior of the new Sentra is like a work of art and something we would never have expected from an entry-level vehicle, especially under $26,000. The metal is bent in all the right places, and the front end looks more like something we would have expected on the Nissan GTR, not a Sentra.

The designers have included a floating roof similar to what is on the new Nissan Kicks, and it really works to add a unique style to the Sentra and defiantly sets a mark for others to follow in the compact sedan market.

Along with its striking features, the Sentra also has been lowered by 2.2 inches and widened by 2.4 inches to give it a very athletic style as well as a larger look. We felt that this new, larger look gave it a more upscale appearance compared to previous generations of the Sentra.

LED lights were the norm on the SR version with awesome-looking daytime running lights that perfectly accentuate the Nissan V Motion grill.

Under the hood, the Sentra now sports a new 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine that is up from the previous generation’s 1.8-liter power plant. It comes in at 149 horsepower and 146 foot-pounds of torque, representing a 17% increase. This is tied to a new version of the Nissan continuously variable transmission or Xtronic transmission.

We really liked this new transmission as it now simulates real shift points in a better way, not seeming to hold the RPMs as high as others that we have driven. Sometimes the new CVT transmissions seem to have a “growl” that comes with them, however, the new Sentra seemed much more like a regular tranny without the “growl.”

During our week with the new Sentra, the EPA said we should be sitting at 32 miles per gallon. However, we actually came in at 34 mpg, with a pretty good split between freeway and city driving.

Inside, the Sentra continued to impress us with not only the overall design but also the premium materials that were used to create the interior. The seats had been upgraded through the addition of a Premium Package and were of a Prime-Tex Leatherette material with a classy orange stitching that was continued on the dashboard, center console and door panels.

The cost of the package was minimal at just $2,170 and included some of our other favorite items, like heated front seats and even a heated steering wheel. Both came in handy when the weather went from the high 90s to low 50s overnight.

Also included was a premium Bose eight-speaker audio system, a glass moon roof, eight-way powered driver’s seat and Nissan’s all around view monitor when backing up. Again, all of this awesomeness was added for a very small price!

The SR trim also came standard with a dual zone temperature control and a really cool rear door motor, so if the door was opened it would remind us to check on the back seat before exiting the Sentra.

Our test ride came with the upgraded 8-inch floating infotainment screen that was the heart and soul of the interior as we used it continually with our phones. Apple CarPlay also is included, along with two USB ports up front and one in the rear for tethering to the infotainment and charging.

For the money, the new Sentra is a great choice coming with all the technology and luxury we never would have expected at this price point. This along with its great new looks will make the Sentra a sedan to be reckoned with in this field.

Base price: $21,430

Price as driven: $25,825

Craig and Deanne Conover have been test-driving vehicles for over eight years and have had the opportunity to drive many makes and models. They receive a new car each week for a weeklong test drive and adventure. They both love having the unique opportunity of trying out new cars. They reside in Springville, Utah.

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