The 2009 Nissan Sentra has a very conventional sedan layout with, from some angles, scaled-down attributes from Nissan’s larger Altima.
Motor Trend thinks it’s “like an IKEA appliance, attractive, modern, and perhaps just the furniture for your life”—then adds, “The new Sentra copies some of big-brother Altima's styling, especially its roofline/greenhouse, but by now it also looks like a Saturn Ion or Mazda3.” Cars.com says, “The Sentra is a nice-looking car — young but not especially daring.” They note the sporty Sentra SE-R Spec V has "some very handsome exterior trim that says, but doesn't shout, performance."
Edmunds says the 2009 Nissan Sentra’s "uninspired but modern exterior design" is matched by its "functional interior." Inside, Edmunds adds, “The Nissan Sentra's cabin offers a modern design, well-organized controls and generally agreeable materials quality.”
TheCarConnection.com’s editors have driven the Sentra and the sporty SE-R versions—and found the styling attractive and the interior quality up to par for this segment. Where the Nissan 2009 Sentra suffers is in having one body style. While the Sentra is four-door only, the competition—the Honda Civic, Ford Focus, and Saturn Astra—all are available with fewer doors. The lack of a two-door version may make the Sentra seem less sporty to some reviewers and younger customers.