Both the Sentra and the Jetta have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front-wheel drive, height-adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, rearview cameras, available crash mitigating brakes, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.
For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, and with its optional front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Sentra the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 140 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Jetta has not been tested, yet.
The Sentra comes with free roadside assistance for 3 years 36,000 miles. Nissan will send help if you run out of gas, need a jump-start, lock your keys in or need any assistance on the road. Volkswagen doesn’t give free roadside assistance for the Jetta.
There are over 66 percent more Nissan dealers than there are Volkswagen dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Sentra’s warranty.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Nissan vehicles are better in initial quality than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Nissan 10th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 18 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 24th, below the industry average.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Nissan vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Nissan 10th in reliability, above the industry average. With 24 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 19th.
From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ April 2018 Auto Issue reports that Nissan vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Nissan 5 places higher in reliability than Volkswagen.
The Sentra S/SV’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Jetta’s standard 60 series tires. The Sentra SR/SL’s tires have a lower 50 series profile than the Jetta R-Line/SEL Premium’s 55 series tires.
The Sentra SV/SR/SL has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The Jetta doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.
The Sentra has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Sentra flat and controlled during cornering. The Jetta’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.
The Sentra SL handles at .84 G’s, while the Jetta R-Line pulls only .83 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.
For better maneuverability, the Sentra’s turning circle is 1.6 feet tighter than the Jetta’s (34.8 feet vs. 36.4 feet).
The Sentra is 3 inches shorter than the Jetta, making the Sentra easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.
Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Sentra a Mid-size car, while the Jetta is rated a Compact.
The Sentra has .9 inches more front headroom and 1.4 inches more front legroom than the Jetta.
The Sentra has a larger trunk than the Jetta (15.1 vs. 14.1 cubic feet).
The Nissan Sentra outsold the Volkswagen Jetta by 89% during 2017.