Improved headlights boost Nissan Sentra to Top Safety Pick

December 8, 2020

The 2021 Nissan Sentra, a small car, earns a 2020 Top Safety Pick award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, thanks to improved headlights.

To qualify for a Top Safety Pick award, a vehicle must earn good ratings in six crashworthiness evaluations, including the driver-side small overlap front, passenger-side small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests. It also needs advanced or superior ratings for both vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention and must offer acceptable- or good-rated headlights on at least one trim level.

Redesigned for model year 2020, the Sentra initially missed out on an award due to inferior headlights. However, in September, Nissan made improvements to the optional LED projectors offered with the Premium package on the SR and SV trims to earn an acceptable headlight rating. Both 2020 models built after the upgrade and 2021 models now qualify for Top Safety Pick when equipped with those headlights.

The redesigned Sentra also comes with a standard front crash prevention system that earns a superior rating in the Institute’s vehicle-to-vehicle evaluation and an advanced rating in the vehicle-to-pedestrian test.

The system avoided collisions in the vehicle-to-vehicle tests and in most of the pedestrian test scenarios. However, in the higher-speed “crossing child” pedestrian test, which simulates a child stepping out into the road in front of the vehicle as it travels at 25 mph, the system only managed to slow the car by an average of 8 mph before it struck the pedestrian dummy.

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