Both the Sentra and the Elantra have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts and available four wheel antilock brakes.
There are over 86 percent more Nissan dealers than there are Hyundai dealers, which makes it much easier to get service under the Sentra’s warranty.
The camshafts in the Sentra’s engine are driven by a hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs. The Elantra’s camshafts are driven by a rubber belt which eventually needs to be replaced. If the Elantra’s cam drive belt breaks the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.
J.D. Power and Associates’ surveys of the owners of three-year-old cars provide the long-term dependability statistics which show that Nissan vehicles are more reliable than Hyundai vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Nissan 19th in reliability, above the industry average. With 11 more problems per 100 vehicles, Hyundai is ranked 22nd.
The Sentra’s 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 2 more horsepower (140 vs. 138) and 11 lbs.-ft. more torque (147 vs. 136) than the Elantra’s 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.
For more instantaneous acceleration and better engine flexibility in any gear, the Sentra’s engine produces its peak horsepower at lower RPM’s than the Elantra (5100 vs. 6000).
On the EPA test cycle the Sentra CVT gets better fuel mileage than the Elantra Auto (29 city/36 hwy vs. 28 city/36 hwy).
For better stopping power the Sentra’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the Elantra:
For better traction, the Sentra has larger tires than the Elantra (205/60R15 vs. 195/65R15).
The Sentra 2.0’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 60 series profile (height to width ratio) which provides a stiffer sidewall than the Elantra GLS’ standard 65 series tires.
The Sentra has a standard tire pressure monitoring system, which will alert the driver to a drop in tire pressure before damage to the tire or an accident might occur. The Elantra doesn’t offer a low tire pressure warning system.
The Sentra 2.0 S handles at .79 G’s, while the Elantra SE pulls only .78 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.
As tested by Car and Driver while under full throttle, the interior of the Sentra 2.0 S is quieter than the Elantra SE (75 vs. 76 dB).
The Sentra has .6 inches more front headroom and 1.3 inches more front shoulder room than the Elantra.
To allow full utilization of available cargo room, the Sentra’s trunk lid uses gas strut supported hinges that don’t intrude into the trunk. The Elantra’s useful trunk space is reduced by its intrusive beam hinge.
A standard locking glovebox keeps your small valuables safer in the Sentra. The Elantra doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.
The Sentra’s standard power locks allow the driver or passenger to lock or unlock all the doors at a touch without leaning over, or reaching to the back seat. Power locks cost extra on the Elantra.
The Sentra has standard power remote mirrors. The Elantra only comes with remote mirrors at extra cost. Without them the driver will have to roll down the windows and reach across the car to adjust the mirrors.