Small but Mighty – Nissan Sentra vs. Hyundai Elantra

Are you looking for a new four-wheeler and are stuck deciding between these two rides – Nissan Sentra vs. Hyundai Elantra? Let’s settle this long-standing debate once and for all with a comprehensive comparison of these thrilling compact vehicles. I’ll give you an in-depth overview of their features, performance levels, overall design, and other aspects. So, buckle up! This is going to be an interesting ride.

Who Would Win the Battle of Superior Exterior Design?

These four-wheelers are two popular choices in the compact sedan category, but they offer distinctly different exterior features. The Nissan Sentra has a classic design with sharp lines, which gives it a modern and sleek appearance. However, it’s combined with a sportier look due to the angular grill and headlights. 

On the other hand, the Hyundai Elantra is known for its more understated aesthetic, featuring a curved, softer design. It’s the battle of sharpness and smoothness – with the Elantra’s sloping hood and rounded edges giving it an overall smoother look. So, it all comes down to your personal preference – would you like for your next car to have a more sleek appearance or a smoother, rounded look? 

Pros and Cons of the Design Features

As mentioned, which compact sedan comes on top when it comes to exterior design boils down to subjective opinion. While both four-wheelers come with an attractive, albeit very different, design, they may not be distinct enough to stand out from other vehicles on the famous routes in the US. The good news is that this is the only downside when it comes to the exterior design of both cars, and for many, it’s easily overlooked. 

Here are some of the pros of the Sentra’s design features:

  • Large 16×6.5-in alloy wheels,
  • Chrome accents, 
  • Angular headlights and tail lights

Now, let’s take a look at some of the benefits the Elantra’s exterior design brings to the table:

  • 15×6-in alloy wheels, 
  • LED headlights, 
  • Fog lights. 
Cars parked in angled parking spaces
Whether you like a sharp or a smooth design more is a matter of personal preference

Nissan Sentra vs. Hyundai Elantra – Interior Design and Comfort Battle

Regarding interior design and comfort, the Nissan Sentra and the Hyundai Elantra are comparable in dimensions and the overall feel of the cabin. That means we have the same outcome as with exterior design – deciding who takes the top spot again depends on your preference

Here is a comparison of the main dimensions between these compact sedans:

Measurement2023 Nissan Sentra2023 Hyundai Elantra
Length182.7 in184.1 in
Height56.9 in55.7 in
Width71.5 in71.9 in
Cargo Space14.3 cu/ft14.2 cu/ft
Seating Capacity55

*For the metric system, an inch is 2.54 cm

Pros and Cons of the Interior Features 

As you can gather from the table above, the difference in cargo space and dimensions is so minimal that it could be easily overlooked. That means both four-wheelers are comparable in terms of interior design, offering comfortable seating for up to five passengers while still being able to fit tight parking spaces even in the cities with the worst drivers

When it comes to the quality of the cabin space, the Elantra has a slight advantage because it offers optional leather seats and upholstery. However, both four-wheelers come with cloth upholstery as a design, but if you’d like to have the option of choosing, go for the Elantra. It also has ventilated front seats on top of the heated option both vehicles provide.

Interior of the Hyundai car
The size is pretty much the same, but the Elantra brings a bit more class to design

Performance and Capability – What is The Superior Machine?

The similarities between the two vehicles don’t end at their dimensions and interior design – actually, these four-wheelers are quite comparable when it comes to performance as well. Both models offer a 2L inline 4-cylinder engine as a standard, so let’s take a closer look at what kind of specifications this type of engine can get you:

Specification2023 Nissan Sentra2023 Hyundai Elantra
Engine Power149 hp at 6,400 rpm147 hp at 6,200 rpm
Engine Torque146 ft/lbs at 4,400132 ft/lbs at 4,500 rpm
Transmission Continuously variable-speed automaticContinuously variable-speed automatic
DrivetrainFront-wheel drive (FWD)Front-wheel drive (FWD)

Pros and Cons of the Performance Features 

It’s evident in the table above that the Sentra and the Elantra are quite similar when it comes to performance, and the specifications are close to the average for the vehicles in the compact sedan category. However, there’s one important difference between the two – the Sentra has more engine torque, which means the same engine generates much more power and can accelerate more quickly than its counterpart. 

But, there’s one important thing to take into account – if you’re looking for a plug-in hybrid (PHEV), Nissan doesn’t offer it for the Sentra line, while the Hyundai Elantra Hybrid is one of the top contenders in its category. Efficient fuel economy, balanced ride, and comfortable handling are only a few of Elantra’s benefits in its hybrid version. 

ay 30, 2017: Motor car Nissan Sentra in the city street.
While the engine is the same, the Nissan Sentra generates more torque

Safety and Technology – Who is More Trustworthy?

When a vehicle comes packed with various safety and infotainment features, they can bring comfort to a whole new level and help you in overcoming driving anxiety, especially when driving at night. Luckily, both of these four-wheelers got really good safety ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA), with the Elantra getting a slightly better score. 

Here are all the standard infotainment and safety features you get with the Nissan Sentra:

  • A 7-inch touchscreen display, 
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto,
  • An audio system with four speakers, 
  • Bluetooth, 
  • USB port,
  • Rearview camera, 
  • Forward collision warning with pedestrian detection, 
  • Automatic emergency braking, 
  • Lane-departure warning, 
  • Blind-spot monitoring.

On the other hand, here are all the infotainment and safety features that come as a standard with the Hyundai Elantra:

  • An 8-inch touchscreen display, 
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, 
  • A stereo with four speakers and an HD radio, 
  • Bluetooth,
  • Two USB ports,
  • Rearview camera, 
  • Forward collision warning with pedestrian detection, 
  • Forward automatic emergency braking, 
  • Lane-departure warning, 
  • Rear-seat alert. 

Pros and Cons of the Safety and Technology Features

While the lists above clearly show that these four-wheelers are quite comparable, it’s also clear that the Hyundai Elantra offers a bit more when it comes to standard infotainment features. You get a bigger touchscreen display, two USB ports, and a more quality stereo system. Add the slightly higher safety scores to the mix, and we have a clear winner in the tech features category, and it’s the Elantra. 

Silver Hyundai Elantra car moving on the street. Editorial
While pretty comparable, the Elantra outwins in the safety and infotainment category

Fuel Efficiency and Maintenance Costs

Fuel efficiency and annual maintenance fees are important factors to take into account when calculating the cost of owning a car. When it comes to fuel economy, the Hyundai Elantra, with 33 mpg in the city and 42 mpg on the highway, has better mileage than its contender. However, it’s not that big of a difference – the Nissan Sentra gets 29 mpg in urban areas and 39 mpg on the open road. 

When it comes to average annual maintenance and repair costs, there’s a much greater difference between the two. The Nissan Sentra might cost you around $4,000 annually to keep it running properly, while the Hyundai Elantra might take just around $2,000 out of your pocket per year. It seems like Hyundai takes the top spot once again, now in regard to the overall costs of owning this vehicle. 

Hyundai Elantra on the road
The Elantra is much more affordable in yearly costs compared to the Sentra

Price vs. Value – Which Car Offers Better Value for Your Money?

Aside from performance, fuel economy, and yearly maintenance costs, it’s important to take into account the price you’re getting all of it for. Luckily, these compact sedans are quite affordable options for anyone looking for their next reliable city car, no matter if they’re planning to get a brand-new vehicle, a used car, or even one with a salvage title

The starting price of the 2023 Nissan Sentra and the 2023 Hyundai Elantra is between $20,000 and $21,000, depending on where you get it from. The Sentra is the more affordable option for all trim levels in most cases. However, the difference is so small that it could be easily overlooked, especially when considering the bigger difference in annual maintenance costs. 

Speaking of trim levels, the Nissan Sentra offers the entry-level S trim, mid-tier SV trim, and top-of-the-batch SR trim with an MSRP of 23,000$. On the other hand, the Elantra offers more trim level options – SE, SEL, Limited, N Line, and Standard, with the highest being available for a starting price of about $33,000. 

When it comes to resale value and depreciation, there’s also a slight difference. The Elantra depreciates slower, but only by 1%, and you can expect a resale value of about $19,800 after 5 years. In comparison, the Nissan Sentra will depreciate quicker, but you might be able to resell it for a couple hundred dollars more. 

Close-up Of A Small Blue Car On Laptop Keypad
The price can be a determining factor – luckily, both models are pretty affordable

Driving Experience and Comfort – Evaluating Ride Quality and Passenger Ease

Owning a vehicle that you feel comfortable in and that’s easy to handle is very important. Luckily, both the Nissan Sentra and the Hyundai Elantra offer their version of a continuously variable-speed automatic transmission (CVT), which provides a smooth ride and betters the fuel economy. 

While both models are not exactly thrilling when it comes to performance, they will get you where you need to be without much issue. Handling is comfortable when it comes to both cars, but the Elantra might have a slight advantage due to its suspension system, which is better at soaking up the bumps on the road. 

Woman's hand give the car key and blurred background.
It’s important to assess the handling of your future car – take it for a test drive

In the Battle of Hyundai Elantra vs. Nissan Sentra, You’ll Decide the Winner

To conclude this thrilling ride – while it seems like the Hyundai Elantra outperforms its counterpart in most categories, both four-wheelers are attractive and dependable options. They have their own unique characteristics. It’s clear that the final choice should come down to your personal preference and the vehicle that best suits your needs. So, why not take both for a fun test drive to help you decide on the final winner?