Comparing two of Nissans best selling models for 2014 could get you a great bargain.
If you are a fan of Nissan, you may find it difficult to choose between your favorite car models. If you're interested in a four-door sedan, both the Altima and the Sentra are good choices. As you consider options in a Nissan Altima vs. Nissan Sentra comparison, it is important to look at factors like fuel economy, power, safety features, comfort, price and overall cost of ownership. Although both cars have numerous elements in common, the small differences you’ll find between the two are likely to be the determining factors in your decision. Here’s an updated comparison for 2014:
2014 Nissan Sentra
Nissan gave this model a full upgrade in 2013. In 2014, it made a few additional tweaks to address issues some drivers had with noise and handling. Nissan also upgraded some tech-related features like adding smartphone app integration with its NissanConnect interface.
Other than those minor tweaks, the 2014 Nissan Sentra is what you’ve come to expect in a reliable, affordable mid-size sedan delivering a nice combination of price and fuel economy. The 2014 line of Sentras includes found main trim/option packages: the S, SV, SR and SL. You can also select two FE+ upgrades in the S and SV lines, upgrades that place more emphasis on fuel economy.
All 2014 Sentras come with its peppy 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine, delivering 130-hp and 128 pound-feet of torque. The entry-level base S model comes with a six-speed standard transmission, though you can pay a little more to get the automatic continuously variable transmission (CVT) that comes standard with all other trim/option packages. This combination delivers nicely on fuel efficiency. The standard-transmission S model is rated at 27-mpg in the city and 36-mpg on the highways. Selecting a model with the CVT auto gets you 30-mpg in the city and 39-mpg on the highways and if you upgrade to any of the FE+ options, that highway rating will top 40-mpg.
All 2014 Nissan Sentras are four-door sedans that seat five passengers. This attraction for families comes with a focus on safety. Antilock brakes, stability control, front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and active head restraints are all standard with any 2014 Sentra. Some packages come with a rearview camera, and the option can be added to trim packages that don’t. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave the 2014 Sentra four of five possible stars for crash test results.
2014 Nissan Altima
The biggest change for the 2014 Nissan Altima is the discontinuation of its coupe option. All 2014 Altimas are now four-door sedans, making a straight on comparison to the Sentra a little easier. Other than discontinuing a 2-door couple, little else was changed for 2014 in the Altima (which makes sense given that the Altima is Nissan’s best-selling model in the U.S.)
The 2014 Nissan Altima comes in seven distinct trim/option packages:
- Altima 2.5
- Altima 2.5 S
- Altima 2.5 SV
- Altima 2.5 SL
- Altima 3.5 S
- Altima 3.5 SV
- Altima 3.5 SL
As you might gather, the number refers to the engine size. The four 2.5 models come with the 2.5-liter, inline four-cylinder engine and the 3.5 models step up with e 3.5-liter V6. The four-cylinder delivers 182-hp and 180 pond-feet of torque. The V6 models deliver 270-hp and 251 pound-feet of torque. Little is sacrificed for extra power in terms of efficiency. The 2.5 models rank well with 27-mpg in city driving and 38-mpg on highways while the 3.5 models give you extra power and still deliver 22-mpg city and 31-mpg highway. All models (four-cylinder and V6) are driven by the automatic CVT transmission.
The four-door, five-passenger Altimas come equipped with antilock brakes, stability and traction control, front side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, and a standard rearview camera (except for the base and S trim packages.) The 2014 Altima earned all five stars from NHTSA’s crash-test ratings and it also received a Top Safety Pick rating in its class from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
Prices and warranties
Price is always a concern for families on a budget and price is one way to make a direct comparison between the 2014 Nissan Sentra vs. Altima. While your actual costs may vary depending on the region where you live and the discounts and promotional packages local dealers may be able to offer you, here are the starting MSRPs for each of the base level 2014 Sentras and Altimas:
2014 Nissan Sentra
- Sentra S (standard transmission) -- $15,990
- Sentra S (CVT) -- $16,840
- Sentra FE+ S -- $17,240
- Sentra SV -- $17.540
- Sentra FE+ SV -- $17,940
- Sentra SR -- $18,740
- Sentra SL -- $19,640
2014 Nissan Altima
- Altima 2.5 -- $22,170
- Altima 2.5 S -- $22,690
- Altima 2.5 SV -- $24,340
- Altima 2.5 SL -- $27,920
- Altima 3.5 S -- $26,320
- Altima 3.5 SV -- $28,520
- Altima 3.5 SL -- $30,820
As for warranties, the 2014 Sentras and Altimas are all covered by the standard Nissan warranty. This warranty gives you:
- 3-year/36,000 mile bumper-to-bumper limited coverage
- 5-year/60,000 mile limited powertrain coverage
- 5-year/unlimited miles corrosion perforation protection
This comparison at-a-glance basically tells you that the Altima is a step up in power, heft and price. There are a number of areas where the Sentra punches over its weight class.
Passengers may be surprised by the room they have in the Sentra when compared to the Altima. There is actually more rear legroom in the Sentra than in the Altima and the configurations of the space (while almost exact in measurement) make both front and back seat passengers feel as though they have more headroom in the Sentra.
Trunk and total interior cargo space is a dead heat between the Sentra and the Altima. Thanks to some adjustments made in 2014, the Sentra now actually has a tighter turning radius (that added handling feel!) than the Altima.
The Sentra also has a few minor standard touches over the comparable Altima including LED brake lights, illuminated entry, fading dome lights and a speed-sensitive adjustment feature on the stereo/sound system.
You won’t go wrong with either of these cars. If it’s in your budget to spring for a few more luxury features and more power, you may lean toward the Altima. If you want more fuel efficiency without feeling like you’re sacrificing power or comfort, the Sentra may be better for your budget. Either way, you’ll be in good company. The Altima is not only Nissan’s best-selling car in the U.S., it’s the sixth or seventh best-selling car in the country (depending on which survey you follow) putting it just ahead of stalwarts like the Honda Civic, the Hyundai Sonata and the Ford Fusion. The Sentra is no slouch for sales either, ranking number 19 overall (these sales figures are through the end of July 2014.)
As you conduct a Nissan Altima vs. Nissan Sentra comparison, visit Reply! to find all of the details you need, including local Nissan dealers who can schedule a test drive.