2018 Nissan Sentra vs 2017 Nissan Sentra: Which Is Better?

Depending on the trim level, you may be paying nearly $2,000 more for the 2018 Nissan Sentra over the 2017—but you may not see much of an upgrade.
Written by Abbey Orzech
The 2018 Nissan Sentra and 2017 Nissan Sentra can have a cost difference of around $170 to $1,940 depending on the trim level you’re looking to get. The 2018 model comes with a few more standard features, but they may not be worth the price increase.
Nissan has been working on and evolving the Sentra since the model’s inception on the market in 1982. The Nissan Sentra aims to work out the marriage of sportiness and refined elegance, so the stylish exterior and upscale interior cabin merge nicely with the peppy engine of higher
trim levels
. But how much has it actually changed over the years, especially when comparing two close model years like 2017 and 2018?
Let’s look at some of the key features between these two Sentra model years like pricing, engine size, fuel economy, and comfort and safety features to determine what you’d be paying more for with the newer vehicle—if anything.
Find out if you can reduce your monthly car payments in minutes
* checking your rate won’t affect your credit score
Check your rate
* checking your rate won’t affect your credit score

2018 Nissan Sentra vs 2017 Nissan Sentra: what’s the difference?

The Nissan Sentra has evolved over seven generations on the market and has seen more than 30 million units sold in that time. While it’s perhaps not as popular nor as highly rated as other compact cars like the
Honda Civic
, Nissan has a loyal base of followers that can be quite happy with all the Sentra has to offer. 
If you identify with that group and/or find yourself with used car prospects of both the 2018 Nissan Sentra and the 2017 Nissan Sentra, you may be wondering if there’s much of a difference between the two. Honestly, not really. Besides a few optional features making the move to standard in several trims, your dollars spent on either will buy you very similar vehicles.
Let’s deep dive into the details so you can see how the 2018 Nissan Sentra and 2017 Nissan Sentra compare—and if the higher price tag of the 2018 is worth it. 


Between the 2018 and 2017 Nissan Sentra base trims, you may not find any price change at all. Move up at all from the most basic option, though, and you could see a price increase between $170 and $1,940. Of course, you could also see a price decrease if you’re set on the sport NISMO trim. Compare the trim level pricing here:
2018 MSRP
2017 MSRP
Nissan Sentra S
Nissan Sentra SV
Nissan Sentra SR
Nissan Sentra SR Turbo
Nissan Sentra SL
Nissan Sentra NISMO

General specs

So there’s a decent price jump between these Sentra model years, but unfortunately, that’s where the differences seem to halt. When it comes to performance and powertrain, the 2018 and 2018 Nissan Sentra have the same offerings. 
While there’s some difference in capabilities between the different trim levels within model years, everything from the engine size and transmission type to the towing capacity is the same across the board between model years. 
2018 Nissan Sentra
2017 Nissan Sentra
Base engine (S, SV, SR, SL)
1.8-liter four-cylinder engine (124-130 hp)
1.8-liter four-cylinder engine (124-130 hp)
Upgrade engine (SR Turbo, NISMO)
1.6-liter four-cylinder engine (188 hp)
1.6-liter four-cylinder engine (188 hp) 
Manual (standard on S, available on SR Turbo and NISMO) or CVT (SV, SR, SL)
Manual (standard on S, available on SR Turbo and NISMO) or CVT (SV, SR, SL)
Front-wheel drive (FWD)
Front-wheel drive (FWD)
Maximum towing capacity
2,000 lbs
2,000 lbs
Find out if you can reduce your monthly car payments in minutes
* checking your rate won’t affect your credit score
Check your rate
* checking your rate won’t affect your credit score

Fuel economy

When you have the same powertrains and overall vehicle build, you’ll have the same fuel economy ratings. The EPA-estimated gas mileage ratings are the same for both years, but they vary between engine capabilities:
  • Base engine (1.8-liter) w/manual: 27 mpg city / 35 mpg highway / 30 mpg combined
  • Base engine (1.8-liter) w/CVT: 29 mpg city / 37 mpg highway / 32 mpg combined 
  • Upgrade engine (1.6-liter) w/manual: 26 mpg city / 32 mpg highway / 28 mpg combined 
  • Upgrade engine (1.6-liter) w/CVT: 27 mpg city / 33 mpg highway / 29 mpg combined 
Keep in mind that these are just estimates, and your actual fuel economy will be affected by things like your driving habits and environment, but these are good starting numbers. If you’re looking for the most fuel-efficient model and you don’t mind giving up some control, opt for the CVT automatic transmission rather than the manual.

Safety ratings

The 2018 and the 2017 Nissan Sentra received four-star safety ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) named both of them as Top Safety Picks for their years. Markdowns happened for both model years in their headlights testing.
The 2018 Nissan Sentra sees just a bit more in the way of standard safety features, adding a standard rearview camera to the base S trim whereas the 2017 lineup didn’t get it until the SV trim. Another addition for the 2018 Sentra year is standard automatic emergency braking on all trim levels except those with manual transmissions and the NISMO model. 
Aside from those upgrades, you’ll find
vehicle anti-theft systems
, adjustable steering wheels with steering wheel controls, intermittent wipers, keyless entry, stability and traction control, and child safety locks standard for both the 2018 and 2017 Sentra S models. Move up the trim ladder to the top-tier SL and you’ll get adaptive cruise control and heated mirrors, too. 

Styling and interior changes

Along with the safety upgrades, the 2018 Nissan Sentra again moves a few more features from optional to standard. The 2018 Sentra S gets Bluetooth audio streaming and Siri Eyes Free standard, and the SV and above get dual-zone automatic climate control. Other than that, the 2018 and 2017 Sentra are on par with each other in styling and interior features, including:
  • 5-inch infotainment touchscreen (5.8-inch upgrade available for SV)
  • Cloth seats
  • AM/FM radio, auxiliary audio input, CD, MP3 connectivity 
  • Keyless entry 
  • Cruise control 
  • Smart automatic headlights 
  • Moonroof (available for SV and above)
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel (standard for SV and above)
  • Leather seats (standard for SL)
  • Heated seats (available for SV, standard for SR and above)
  • Heated side mirrors (standard for SL) 
  • Eight-speaker Bose stereo (available for SR and above)
Ultimately, the higher trim level you go, the more bells and whistles will be available to you. If you lean performance-focused and want that sport-tuned suspension, check out the NISMO trim. If you’re all about comfort and convenience, the top-tier SL trim with an electrochromic rearview mirror, smart device integration, premium sound system, and driver lumbar support may suit you best. 

2018 Nissan Sentra vs 2017 Nissan Sentra: which should you buy?

If you’ve come down to the choice between a 2018 Nissan Sentra and a 2017 Nissan Sentra, you’ll need to decide how much a few additional standard features on the base trim are worth to you. If you don't mind spending a couple hundred dollars more to get a backup camera and Bluetooth audio streaming, you may prefer the 2018 Sentra. 
However, if you’re comparing two SR trims or two NISMOs, the 2018 and 2017 Sentra offer the same goodies in both. Go for the cheaper one. 
“After signing up with
, I went from $199/month to $97/month for my car insurance. My 2019 Subaru Forester now has full coverage for a great price!” —Rhonda H.
Compare auto insurance policies
No spam or unwanted phone calls · No long forms
Find insurance savings
Reduce your monthly car payments in minutes?
Find out if Jerry can reduce your payments by an average of $150/month
Check your rate!

Easiest way to compare and buy car insurance

No long forms
No spam or unwanted phone calls
Quotes from top insurance companies
Find insurance savings