2019 Nissan Sentra

Starting Price: $19,375 | Price yours

Above Average: Fuel economy, big trunk, available turbocharged engine, standard automatic emergency braking

Below Average: Acceleration with base engine

Consensus: A sporty small sedan with compelling features, excellent fuel economy and decent resale all at a reasonable price.



2019 Volkswagen Jetta

Starting Price:  $20,240 | Price yours

Above Average: Craftsmanship, interior layout, ride and handling, impressive warranty, high-tech features

Below Average: Automatic emergency braking not offered on base trim, best options bundled by trim

Consensus: A sophisticated European sport sedan with numerous luxury features for the price of standard compact.


The Sentra really can’t compete with the Jetta’s sleek new look, and in certainly has nothing to match the VW’s Audi-derived digital cockpit, ventilated front seats or panoramic sunroof. Both cars offer the option of a manual transmission on their base models, but the Sentra costs a good bit less. The Sentra and Jetta have similar interior dimensions, with the Nissan offering about one cubic-foot more trunk space. Both cars offer turbocharged engines, optional on the Sentra and standard on the Jetta. The Jetta handles better than the Sentra, although tossing the SR and NISMO into the mix somewhat evens things out. VW’s new 6-year/72,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty beats out Nissan’s warranty, but as the Jetta is all-new for 2019, long-term reliability and resale numbers are unknown. The Jetta’s infotainment system and audio options are superior to those of the Sentra, and while both cars offer Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, only the Jetta now offers the option of a navigation radio.

Nissan Sentra Advantages

Price, turning diameter, trunk space, optional equipment packages, standard automatic emergency braking

Volkswagen Jetta Advantages

Fuel economy, horsepower, technology, high-end features, interior design, handling


Manual transmission option, good fuel economy, roomy interior, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, available advanced driver assist systems

Final Recommendation

Although it costs a bit more, the Volkswagen Jetta is the clear choice. From its more powerful standard engine to its elegant interior to its impressive list of available equipment, this is one of the nicest compact sedans you can buy.

  2019 Nissan Sentra 2019 Volkswagen Jetta
Popular Powertrains    
Engine 1.8-liter I4 1.4-liter turbo I4
Horsepower 124 hp @ 6,000 rpm 147 hp @ 5,000 rpm
Torque 125 lb-ft @ 3,600 rpm 184 lb-ft @ 1,400 rpm
Transmission Continously Variable 8-speed automatic
Fuel Economy 32 mpg (29 city, 37 hwy) 34 mpg (30 city, 40 hwy)
Also Available 6-spd manual, 1.6L turbo 6-spd manual
Warranty 3 years or 36,000 miles 6 years or 72,000 miles
NHTSA Overall Safety Rating 5 stars NA
Max Seating Capacity 5 5
Wheelbase 106.3 inches 105.7 inches
Overall Length 182.1 inches 185.1 inches
Width 69.3 inches 70.8 inches
Height 58.9 inches 57.4 inches
Turning Diameter 34.8 feet 36.4 feet
Headroom, Front 39.4 inches 38.5 inches
Headroom, Rear 36.7 inches 37.2 inches
Legroom, Front 42.5 inches 41.1 inches
Legroom, Rear 37.4 inches 37.4 inches
Shoulder Room, Front 54.7 inches 55.9 inches
Shoulder Room, Rear 53.9 inches 54.0 inches
EPA Passenger Volume 95.5 cu. ft. 94.7 cu. ft.
EPA Cargo Volume 15.1 cu. ft. 14.1 cu. ft.
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