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2019 Hyundai Elantra

Starting Price: $17,985 | Price yours

Above Average: Great warranty; lots of luxury; packed with technology; everything from a sport model to the fuel-efficient Eco; Qi wireless phone charging in upper-level trim; great interior room for its class

Below Average: Not as fun to drive as some others in its class; some models lack driver-assist features

Consensus: After a redesign a scant two years ago, the 2019 Hyundai Elantra gets an extensive makeover, and continues to improve. It’s comfortable, luxurious, a great value, and extremely roomy inside, with sophisticated features and lots of tech. The Elantra is offered in a variety of trim levels and packages, from sporty to fuel-efficient Eco, and its legendary 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty remains the standard-bearer in its class.
 

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2019 Nissan Sentra

Starting Price: $18,685 | Price yours

Above Average: Comfortable and spacious interior; lots of models to choose from, from fuel-efficient to more sporty

Below Average: No hatchback option; non-turbo models could use a bit more power; even with the sportiest models, the handling isn’t as good as competitors.

Consensus: The 2019 Nissan Sentra ticks a lot of boxes in the compact sedan class, from a stylish exterior that echoes the design of its older brothers, to good fuel economy, a reasonable price, and lots of options. It’s perfectly adequate as a highway cruiser, but if you’re looking for something sporty, even the sportiest models are bested by other members of the compact class.
 

The compact sedan segment is one of the most competitive, from the classics, the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic, to upstarts such as the Mazda 3, Chevy Cruze, and Kia Forte. In such a tough group, it pays to stand out: The 2019 Hyundai Elantra and Nissan Sentra both differentiate themselves with interiors that are EPA-classified as midsize. Each brings a certain sense of style to the table, decent feature content, and a variety of models, from sporty to fuel-efficient. They’re not the barn-burning canyon-carvers of the segment, but they’re both perfectly comfortable and practical for both city and road trip highway driving.

Similarities

Efficient and substantial interior space; numerous models, from sporty to fuel-efficient; comfortable to drive, with some touches that are unexpected in this class.

Hyundai Elantra Advantages

Warranty, more power with base model, hatchback option

Nissan Sentra Advantages

More standard features on the base models, very comfortable ride

Final Recommendation

The Hyundai Elantra featured a substantial makeover this year, coming shortly after a full redesign, and it shows. It offers a lot in a compact, from luxury and comfort to some nice touches and a variety of engine and transmission choices. It’s not a drag strip champ, but certainly has respectable performance on both the road and highway, and decent handling when the road turns twisty. The Nissan, however, while certainly stylish and fuel-efficient, with ample interior space for four passengers, is a little more tired. Its antiquated rear suspension makes it a less capable performer, even at the upper trim levels. Neither its manual or automatic options is as good as it could be, and while it does everything capably, it doesn’t truly excel at any of them. These are both perfectly sufficient and adequate compacts, but in nearly every metric, Hyundai’s efforts and thought show, and it is just a bit better than the Nissan. Plus, it’s impossible to beat that Hyundai warranty.

  2019 Hyundai Elantra 2019 Nissan Sentra
Popular Powertrains    
Engine 2.0-liter I4 1.8-liter I4
Horsepower 147 hp @ 6,200 rpm 130 hp @ 6,000 rpm
Torque 132 lb-ft @ 4,500 rpm 128 lb-ft @ 3,600 rpm
Transmission Automatic, 6-Spd Manual, 6-Spd
Fuel Economy 29 mpg (26 city, 36 hwy) 30 mpg (27 city, 35 hwy)
Also Available 1.4-liter I4, turbo; 2.0-liter I4 (GT); 1.6-liter I4, turbo, 6-speed automatic, 7-speed automatic CVT, 1.6-liter I4, turbocharged
Specs    
Warranty 5 years/60,000 miles 3 years/36,000 miles
NHTSA Overall Safety Rating 4 Stars 4 Stars
Max Seating Capacity 5 5
Wheelbase 106.3 inches 106.3 inches
Overall Length 181.9 inches 182.1 inches
Width 70.9 inches (w/ mirrors) 69.3 inches (w/ mirrors)
Height 56.5 inches 58.9 inches
Turning Diameter 34.8 feet 34.8 feet
Headroom, Front 38.8 inches 39.4 inches
Headroom, Rear 37.3 inches 36.7 inches
Legroom, Front 42.2 inches 42.5 inches
Legroom, Rear 35.7 inches 37.4 inches
Shoulder Room, Front 56.2 inches 54.7 inches
Shoulder Room, Rear 55.3 inches 53.9 inches
EPA Passenger Volume 95.8 cu. ft. 95.9 cu. ft.
EPA Cargo Volume 14.4 cu. ft. 15.1 cu. ft.
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