The Sentra gets top "good" ratings in frontal offset and side tests from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), and 'acceptable' ratings in the IIHS seat-based rear-impact test. Ratings from the federal government, though the new, tougher NHTSA test program, haven't been so positive, though: The agency gave the 2011 Sentra just three stars for frontal and side impact, and four stars overall.
On the other hand, the Sentra did have one very positive indicator: It achieved a top five-star rating in the new NHTSA Side Pole test—that's replicating a sideways crash against a tree or utility pole.
Side and side-curtain airbags are standard, as are active head restraints. In past years, Nissan has been a step behind some other automakers in safety features, but for 2011, a year before it's required by the federal government, the automaker has made electronic stability control standard on all Sentra models, along with anti-lock brakes. Side and side-curtain bags remain standard as well.