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2020 Nissan Sentra SR. Photo: Nissan

I drove the 2020 Nissan Sentra SR, a car that actually made me do a double-take.

My thought bubble: The Sentra is the kind of value-priced econobox you'd rent in Omaha — or so I thought — until a sporty-looking orange-and-black number showed up in my driveway. That's a Sentra?

  • It looks like a miniature Nissan Maxima, with an athletic stance and tastefully appealing interior.

The big picture: It's hard to compete with the Honda Civic, which has long dominated the compact sedan market and is due to be updated next year. Even the Toyota Corolla, also redesigned for 2020, has struggled to keep up.

  • Nissan upped its game with the 2020 Sentra and it shows.

Details: The Sentra's attractive makeover is attributed to a new platform that allows better proportions; it's about two inches lower and two inches wider than its predecessor.

  • It gets a new 149-hp 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine, and a new independent rear suspension, which gives the Sentra a smoother ride.

Driver assistance features are standard, a trend that is becoming more common in lower priced cars.

  • Nissan's technologies are packaged together in what it calls Safety Shield 360.
  • It includes both forward and reverse automatic braking, rear cross traffic alert, blind spot warning, lane departure warning and automatic high beams.
  • It doesn't help steer; it just warns you if you're drifting out of the lane.
  • Higher-priced version like the SV and SR trims add adaptive cruise control, which helps you maintain a safe distance from the car in front.

The value is hard to beat: Starting at $19,090, the Sentra is cheaper than the Civic. The SR I drove, with an extra premium package, topped out at $25,825.

Go deeper

Scoop: Biden briefing calls for 20,000 child migrant beds

President Biden, during a virtual meeting with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Photo: Anna Moneymaker-Pool/Getty Images

A briefing scheduled for President Biden this afternoon outlines the need for 20,000 beds to shelter an expected crush of child migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: The rapid influx of unaccompanied children is building into the administration's first new crisis. A presentation created by the Domestic Policy Council spells out the dimensions with nearly 40 slides full of charts and details.

FBI director: Jan. 6 Capitol attack was domestic terrorism

The FBI views the Jan. 6 Capitol siege as an act of domestic terrorism, director Christopher Wray testified in his opening statement Tuesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Why it matters: The FBI's designation of the attack as domestic terrorism puts the perpetrators "on the same level with ISIS and homegrown violent extremists," Wray said.

Sen. Martin Heinrich to introduce plan for Puerto Rico statehood

U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) at a hearing on Feb. 23, 2021 in Washington, D.C. PHOTO: Jim Watson-Pool/Getty Images

U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Rep. Darren Soto (D-Fla.) announced Tuesday they would introduce legislation to start the motions for Puerto Rico statehood.

Why it matters: More than 52% of Puerto Ricans voted last November in favor of statehood, three years after Hurricane Maria struck the island and caused one of the worst natural disasters in recorded history. It exposed the island's vulnerable position as a U.S. territory and its lack of resources to battle poverty.