20 Best & Worst Nissan Sentra Years (With Pictures)

The Nissan Sentra is a popular compact car that started out as a 1990 model year.

It has plenty of standard safety features, comfortable front seats, and is handsome inside and out. 

In this article, we’ll be taking a closer look at the best and worst model years of the Sentra.

2023 Nissan Sentra

Here’s The Short Answer To What The Best And Worst Years For The Nissan Sentra Are:

The best Nissan Sentra model years are 2023, 2022, 2021, 2020, 2018, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2007, and 2006. The worst model years of the Sentra are 2013, 2014, 2001, 2002, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2012, 2000, and 2003. This is based on auto industry reviews, NHTSA stats, reported problems, and consumer feedback.

What Are The Best Years For The Nissan Sentra?

2023 and 2022 Nissan Sentra

The 2023 and 2022 Sentra model years are two of the most recent models offered and are packed with up-to-date safety features and tech.

Both models offer a comfortable ride, improved cabin materials, and lots of driver assist technology.

Either model year comes in 3 trim levels: S, SV, and SR.

Pricing ranges from approximately $21,000 to $24,000.

Interesting optional packages to look at are the Midnight Edition and All-Weather upgrades.

2023 Sentra:

  • Edmunds: 3.7 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.0 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 84 / 100

2022 Sentra:

  • Edmunds: 3.7 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.0 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 84 / 100

2022 Sentra, Edmunds review:

“Spent a lot of time researching cars before I decided the Sentra was the one. Nearly every review mentioned it was “underpowered”. Since I drive to work and back and don’t drive laps at Daytona I have had no issues with power. Merging, passing and regular driving is not a struggle and RPMs stay low during driving which keeps noise down. Car is super comfortable and quiet, the nasa seats are awesome and all of the amenities like heated steering wheel are a class above so it really is extra nice. Love the look of the car, love everything about it. Since I do alot of driving for work when I am looking for a car I am looking for comfort and gas mileage and this fits the bill by a mile!”

2021 Nissan Sentra

The 2021 Sentra comes in strong with excellent ride quality and a modern interior design.

New to this particular model year is the integration of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard features. 

Owners praised the following aspects of this sedan: spaciousness, comfort, driving experience, and value.

Fuel economy is also worth highlighting. According to the EPA, expect 33 MPG for combined driving, 29 MPG for city driving, and 39 MPG for highway driving. 

It also received a perfect 5-star rating from NHTSA based on various crash test scores.

  • Edmunds: 3.5 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.0 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 85 / 100

2021 Sentra, Edmunds review:

“Nice ride and quiet cabin. Beautiful dashboard and instrument cluster at night. Sound system is stunning and the wind noise in the highway at 80 mph is Barely noticeable. I love it!”

2021 Nissan Sentra

2020 Nissan Sentra

The 2020 Sentra is the debut model of the eighth generation.

It is widely considered to be more reliable, sleeker, and more stylish than its predecessors.

Despite major changes, it still remains to be a budget-friendly option in the compact car market.

Our favorite safety features are the Intelligent Forward Collision Warning, Rear Automatic Braking, and Intelligent Cruise Control.

There are 3 trims to choose from: S, SV, and SR. 

  • Edmunds: 3.5 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.0 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 86 / 100

2020 Sentra, Edmunds review:

“We traded in our late model Honda Civic. It was a huge upgrade. Love everything about it. Latest average gas mileage is 39.1 and we really have not put it to the test yet on a long trip. The mileage has amazed us compared to our Civic. It is much more roomy than our Civic was also… We are at 1,500 miles before reviewing because we wanted to be sure of what we were saying had held true. Very little road noise, love the 360 safety. No longer having to readjust the cruise control and love the CarPlay in a very lovely sounding stereo system. The blind spot monitor is a great addition as well. We have already seen the accident prevention in action when a car pulled out in front of us. It reacted in a split second to stop. I just cannot say enough about the 2020 Nissan Sentra.”

2018 Nissan Sentra

The 2018 Sentra is agile, sporty looking, and extremely affordable.

It offers a spacious backseat, a high-capacity trunk, and user-friendly controls.

The model also offers solid handling, confidence-inspiring braking, and excellent fuel economy.

On average, EPA estimates are 30 MPG for combined driving, 27 MPG for city driving, and 35 MPG for highway driving.

The base engine is a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine (124 horsepower) paired to either a 6-speed manual transmission or a CVT.

  • Edmunds: 3.4 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 3.6 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 75 / 100

2018 Sentra, Edmunds review:

“We average 44 mpg on the interstate and 33 around town. Do the math. Bought with a midnight sport package. Wife loves it. As for tall, I am 6’1 with long legs , I can sit in the back seat and not bang my head. Tried Corollas and others…nada. The pump to raise and lower the seat is interesting but it works. We do best eco mode on the interstate. Switch when you need more power. Wife’s iPhone and my iPad connect easily. Don’t get the dinky cheaper radio. We got the full screen with the rear camera. Dealers tried to sell us a makeshift one. Getting used to the CVT. It all comes down to perspective.”

2018 Nissan Sentra

2011 and 2010 Nissan Sentra

The 2011 and 2010 Sentra models are respectable entries in this small sedan lineup.

They have an intuitive interface, spacious seating, and ample storage.

Thanks to a few minor updates, fuel economy and safety features have been notably improved.

On average, expect 27 MPG for combined driving, 24 MPG for city driving, and 31 MPG for highway driving.

Owners liked these models for the following aspects: value, spaciousness, driving experience, comfort, minimal road noise, and interior quality. 

2011 Sentra:

  • Edmunds: 3.9 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.3 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 79 / 100

2010 Sentra:

  • Edmunds: 4.4 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.3 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 79 / 100

2011 Sentra, Edmunds review:

“After 20 years owning various Hondas, we test drove nearly everything in this class/price range, and nothing even came close. This has a smoother ride than the Civic, better handling (by far!) than the Corolla, and is roomier than all others. So roomy, in fact, that the EPA classifies it as a mid-size sedan. With the larger tires on the SR model it feels as though you’re driving a much bigger vehicle, and I’ve noticed that I’m sitting ABOVE Altima drivers! The styling is not as frumpy as some reviewers say, it seems to look different from various angles. From the front it’s positively sleek. Next to it, the new Toyotas and Hondas look dull. We have no regrets.”

2011 Nissan Sentra

2009 Nissan Sentra

The 2009 Sentra is a practical sedan that is just as economical as the leading competitors in the compact car segment.

It provides owners with user-friendly controls, a quiet ride on the highway, and added performance through the SE-R Spec V variant.

This model is offered in 5 main trims: 2.0, 2.0 S, 2.0 SL, SE-R, and SE-R Spec V.

For the average driver, we suggest getting the 2.0 S trim. 

This variant includes 16-inch steel wheels, driver seat height adjustment, keyless entry, cruise control, power mirrors, a trip computer, and audio controls mounted on the steering wheel. 

  • Edmunds: 4.3 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.3 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 78 / 100

2009 Sentra, Edmunds review:

“Bought this car with the idea to save money in the future to counter possible rising gas prices, and I was surprised at the design and overall quality. The CVT tranny is a little weird at first, but it’s a great performer. Some may say it’s boring, but if you just want to drive and not worry about shifting or rpm’s then this is the one. Torque right off the bat is good, you can feel it in the seats, once the car is at the speed you want, rpm goes down low, and it’s quiet, surprisingly quiet on the freeway for a small car. Small on the outside, roomy on the inside. Big trunk, good styling, and fairly wide. It’s comfortable enough for my commute, AC kicks butt, a real quality motor, quiet at idle.”

2007 Nissan Sentra

The 2007 Sentra is a completely redesigned model and is the first entry of the sixth generation.

It sports an attractive cabin with high-quality materials, generous interior space, and minimal road noise.

It is an economy sedan through and through and while it may lack in terms of flair and excitement, it is a practical car owner’s dream.

One of the reasons is fuel economy. EPA states that this car provides 27 MPG for combined driving, 24 MPG for city driving, and 31 MPG for highway driving.

The majority of owners loved the following areas of this sedan: appearance, interior, fuel efficiency, spaciousness, comfort, value, reliability, handling, and steering. 

  • Edmunds: 4.4 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.3 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 77 / 100

2007 Sentra, Edmunds review:

“OK, it’s still not the flashiest thing on the highway, but what a GREAT car for the money! The Sentra is so smooth (love that CVT) and quiet (much quieter than the Civic or Mazda 3) and has so many cool features (choose the convenience package for sure) that it is very hard to beat. (Warning: it is easy to exceed the speed limit without knowing it – that’s how smooth and quiet it is.) The interior is very comfortable and above average in looks – controls are well placed and uncomplicated.”

2006 Nissan Sentra

The 2006 Sentra is the final entry of the fifth generation, this model scored impressive reviews from owners and auto-critics alike.

It provides users with nimble handling, numerous standard features, and easy-to-understand controls.

New to this particular model year is the introduction of the upgraded Audio Fanatic package.

This add-on gains a six-disc CD changer, which used to be a gold standard during the mid-2000s.

There are 4 trims available: 1.8, 1.8 S, SE-R, and SE-R Spec V. 

  • Edmunds: 4.2 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.1 / 5.0
  • JD Power: NA

2006 Sentra, Edmunds review:

“I bought this car in July of ’06. I drive 500 miles a week more or less and now have 235,500 miles on it. I think it’s been a great little car. All the interior buttons still work and the air is cold still after 8 1/2 years. If it dies tomorrow, I’d still think it’s a great little car. The most reliable car I’ve ever had.”

Consumer Scores For Best Nissan Sentra Years

Model YearEdmunds
Consumer Rating
Kelley Blue Book
Consumer Rating
JD Power
Consumer Rating
2023 Nissan Sentra3.7 / 5.04.0 / 5.084 / 100
2022 Nissan Sentra3.7 / 5.04.0 / 5.084 / 100
2021 Nissan Sentra3.5 / 5.04.0 / 5.085 / 100
2020 Nissan Sentra3.5 / 5.04.0 / 5.086 / 100
2018 Nissan Sentra3.4 / 5.03.6 / 5.075 / 100
2011 Nissan Sentra3.9 / 5.04.3 / 5.079 / 100
2010 Nissan Sentra4.4 / 5.04.3 / 5.079 / 100
2009 Nissan Sentra4.3 / 5.04.3 / 5.078 / 100
2007 Nissan Sentra4.4 / 5.04.3 / 5.077 / 100
2006 Nissan Sentra4.2 / 5.04.1 / 5.0NA

Related: How Long Do Nissan Sentras Last? (Solved & Explained)

What Are The Worst Years For The Nissan Sentra?

2013 and 2014 Nissan Sentra

The 2013 and 2014 Sentra model years are the most problematic models ever produced, according to NHTSA data.

In fact, CarComplaints.com gave both models the demerit of “Avoid Like the Plague,” due to numerous instances of transmission failure and transmission-related issues.

Owners widely reported loss of acceleration, vehicle stalling, gear shifting issues, gear slippage and complete failure of the transmission.

Here’s what owners had to say:

“Car has 79000 miles and is dangerous to drive the transmission lunges in and out of gear and it seems to be a common problem with this cvt transmission.”

“The car shudders, makes a whining sound while driving seems to be transmission related.”

“The CVT transmission failed at 83,011 miles. My symptoms included whining and gurgling noises and bucking. Symptoms occurred at all speeds.”

  • The 2013 Sentra had a total of 814 problems according to CarProblemZoo.com and 209 complaints at CarComplaints.com.
  • The 2014 Sentra had a total of 468 problems according to CarProblemZoo.com and 144 complaints at CarComplaints.com.

Common problems:

  • Revving and jerking
  • Transmission failure
  • CVT failure
  • Slipping, clunking
  • Loss of acceleration

2001 and 2002 Nissan Sentra

The 2001 and 2002 model years are a close second in terms of total complaints and problems reported.

Unlike the previous pair of models, these two model years suffered from several engine-related issues.

The most prominently reported issue is loss of engine power, especially when the vehicle is idling.

Take a look at the report below for a better understanding of this issue:

“The car engine stops when at the traffic light and every time that I stop. I have to restart it to proceed and this happens very often and is very frustrating. Thank God that I haven’t had anyone rear-end me so far.”

  • The 2001 Sentra had a total of 304 problems according to CarProblemZoo.com and 20 complaints at CarComplaints.com.
  • The 2002 Sentra had a total of 384 problems according to CarProblemZoo.com and 28 complaints at CarComplaints.com.

Common problems:

  • Blown head gasket
  • Car jerking
  • Vehicle stalling
  • Mass air flow system failed
  • Service engine light on
  • Engine failure
2002 Nissan Sentra

2015, 2016, and 2017 Nissan Sentra

Just like their earlier predecessors (2013 and 2014 models), the 2015, 2016, and 2017 models were known for their problematic CVT transmissions.

CarComplaints.com gave all these model years the label “Avoid Like the Plague” for that very reason.

Owners reported acceleration issues, jerking, hesitation, rough shifting and complete failure of the transmission.

  • The 2015 Sentra had a total of 380 problems according to CarProblemZoo.com and 66 complaints at CarComplaints.com.
  • The 2016 Sentra had a total of 298 problems according to CarProblemZoo.com and 30 complaints at CarComplaints.com.
  • The 2017 Sentra had a total of 239 problems according to CarProblemZoo.com and 16 complaints at CarComplaints.com.

Common problems:

  • Transmission failure
  • Clunking noise
  • Transmission surging
  • Excessive wind noise
  • Wire shorted out resulting in brake light malfunction
  • Repeated transmission issues
  • Hesitates while accelerating
  • Loud thump over speed bumps
2015 Nissan Sentra

2012 Nissan Sentra

The 2012 Sentra seems to be the origin point for all the transmission-related issues experienced by succeeding model years.

While transmission defects were the predominant problem area according to statistics, this model also had a fair share of engine-related problems.

Loss of power, unresponsive accelerator pedal, and gear shifting issues were the most frequently reported symptoms of the underlying problems. 

Here is one owner’s accounting of the problems mentioned above:

“Driving down the freeway then all of a sudden my car lost 90% of power and could only go about 25 mph. There was no warning. Car jerks violently, steering becomes harder. You try to punch down on the gas and nothing happens. Also was forced to take city streets due to not being able to go a safe speed to stay on freeway/highway.”

The 2012 Sentra had a total of 240 problems according to CarProblemZoo.com and 72 complaints at CarComplaints.com.

Common problems:

  • Transmission failure
  • Vehicle clunking
  • Sunroof exploded
2012 Nissan Sentra

2000 Nissan Sentra

The 2000 Sentra had fewer complaints reported online, but this does not mean that it should be excluded from this list.

Numerous owners reported vehicle jerking, stalling, and another peculiar issue: oil dipstick damage.

While seemingly minor, a broken or fragile dipstick may lead to complications down the road.

Here is one owner had to say in his report below:

“The top piece of my dipstick shattered, leaving the rest of my dipstick inside of my car. The more I attempt to pull it out, the closer it comes to my crankshaft. This is definitely not safe!”

The 2000 Sentra had a total of 233 problems according to CarProblemZoo.com and 10 complaints at CarComplaints.com.

Common problems:

  • Stalls when stopping
  • Engine light on
  • Power adapters do not work

2003 Nissan Sentra

The 2003 Sentra suffered from several engine-related flaws, as evidenced by the constant check engine light indicator coming on.

Other symptoms included vehicle hesitation, reduction of power, and complete engine shutdown.

According to independent and authorized dealership assessments, the issues seemed to have originated from communications failure between different computerized components and modules, including the ECM, OBD, and PCM. 

The 2003 Sentra had a total of 232 problems according to CarProblemZoo.com and 26 complaints at CarComplaints.com.

Common problems:

  • Broken head gasket
  • No heat
  • Difficulty starting

Related: Nissan Sentra Beeping? (9 Common Causes)

What Years Have The Most Complaints?

Model YearComplaints
2023 Nissan Sentra00
2022 Nissan Sentra0490
2021 Nissan Sentra5691
2020 Nissan Sentra101202
2019 Nissan Sentra192192
2018 Nissan Sentra222052
2017 Nissan Sentra162393
2016 Nissan Sentra302986
2015 Nissan Sentra663803
2014 Nissan Sentra1444685
2013 Nissan Sentra2098145
2012 Nissan Sentra722400
2011 Nissan Sentra371902
2010 Nissan Sentra381943
2009 Nissan Sentra20782
2008 Nissan Sentra572282
2007 Nissan Sentra452151
2006 Nissan Sentra291537
2005 Nissan Sentra1572166
2004 Nissan Sentra582314
2003 Nissan Sentra262325
2002 Nissan Sentra283844
2001 Nissan Sentra203044
2000 Nissan Sentra102330
1999 Nissan Sentra4740
1998 Nissan Sentra3750
1997 Nissan Sentra31350
1996 Nissan Sentra31760

What Problems Do Nissan Sentra’s Have?

  • Transmission failure
  • Blown head gasket
  • Revving and jerking
  • CVT issues
  • Slipping, clunking
  • Loss of acceleration
  • Clunking noise
  • Transmission surging
  • Blown head gasket
  • Misfiring
  • Overheating
  • Butterfly screw came loose
  • Engine requires multiple cranks to start

What Are The Best Alternatives To The Nissan Sentra?

Make & ModelScoreMSRPFuel Economy (MPG)
Honda Civic8.7$25,050 – $43,295City: 22 – 33 /Highway: 28 – 42
Mazda38.6$22,550 – $35,300City: 23 – 28 /Highway: 31 – 37
Volkswagen GTI8.3$30,530 – $39,870City: 23 – 24 /Highway: 32 – 34
Toyota Corolla8.0$21,550 – $26,700City: 30 – 32 /Highway: 38 – 41
Hyundai Elantra7.9$20,500 – $34,150City: 20 – 33 /Highway: 30 – 42
Kia Forte7.8$19,490 – $24,890City: 22 – 28 /Highway: 31 – 39
Subaru Impreza7.7$22,995 – $27,885City: 26 – 27 /Highway: 33 – 34
Volkswagen Jetta7.7$20,655 – $32,385City: 26 – 31 /Highway: 36 – 42
Nissan Sentra7.6$19,950 – $22,840City: 28 – 29 /Highway: 37 – 39
Subaru WRX7.4$30,605 – $43,395City: 19 /Highway: 25 – 26

Source: cars.usnews.com, edmunds.com

Related: 11 Compact Cars With the Most Interior Room (With Pictures)











  • Ian Sawyer

    Growing up with a father who was a mechanic I had an appreciation for cars and motorcycles from an early age. I shared my first bike with my brother that had little more than a 40cc engine but it opened up a world of excitement for me, I was hooked. As I grew older I progressed onto bigger bikes and...

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