2012 Nissan Sentra vs. 2012 Nissan Altima: Which One Should I Buy?

When you consider the Nissan Sentra versus the Nissan Altima, you need to realize that you’re crossing between two different classes of vehicle: the Altima is a mid-size sedan while the Sentra is a compact sedan. The differences between the two, even though they come from the same manufacturer, are significant and include a nearly $5,000 difference in base price. Sedans in general are great family cars, built to provide good gas mileage and economy of use and some sense of style while also giving you a little zip in the handling and drive.

Nissans specifically are known for their superior handling, tight design looks, and strong safety ratings and neither of these two vehicles disappoint. Compact cars are much more likely to be chosen by commuters or a college-bound teenager while a mid-size is more family-oriented.

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Nissan Altima 2012

Interior Design

The Sentra has an older design language, which is immediately obvious. The Altima brings a curvaceous new form that doesn’t scream “economy” and feels more like a sports car. The Sentra is more attractive as a commuter car as it offers a nice leather wrapped steering wheel, center armrest and plenty of silver plastic trim for a significantly lower (23%) price point than the Altima. The interior of the Altima is what you would expect from the higher class of cars.

Fuel Efficiency

The gas mileage between the two vehicles is nearly the same, even though the Altima is a fair bit larger overall. The combo gas mileage comes out to 27 mpg for each offering, while the city gas mileage is 24 mpg for the Altima and 23 for the Sentra. The Altima is right on the industry average for mid-size sedans while the Sentra is inexplicably lower by 2.5 points than the average for compact sedans. The Altima far outlasts the Sentra when it comes to driving as it offers a significantly larger fuel tank – giving it 112 miles more range than the Sentra for city driving and a whopping 190 miles further for interstate driving!

Driving Feel

The Altima wins again with a 12% higher power-to-weight ratio which gives it better get up and go than the Sentra can offer. Both vehicles have a four wheel drive system, providing excellent startup traction when accelerating from a standstill. Crash test ratings for both vehicles are excellent; these two are great examples of both a mid-size and compact sedan that offer style and value.


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Attila

19 years of experience
906 reviews
Attila
19 years of experience
Cadillac SRX V6-3.6L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Edison, New Jersey
Attila was great! Very knowledgeable and actually detected a fault during a pre-purchase inspection that would have cost me later.
Lexus ES350 - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Fords, New Jersey
He is very good—offered all the significant details we needed from the inspection. Helped us figure out what needed to be fixed.

Shawn

12 years of experience
285 reviews
Shawn
12 years of experience
Chevrolet Impala V6-3.6L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Lansdale, Pennsylvania
Shawn was prompt, professional, and delivered the promised service as expected. This was a used vehicle pre-purchase inspection. Shawn also had to drive to multiple locations to perform the inspection, as the address listed that I provided him with was not accurate, but he still made it to the correct location within his time window and completed the inspection.
Toyota Sequoia - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Akron, Pennsylvania
Shawn was very prompt in communicating with me and was good at helping me decide whether to purchase a used car. He help me avoid a car with a repaired rusted frame that could be a danger to my family's safety since we were planning on using the car to tow a travel trailer!

Luis

18 years of experience
320 reviews
Luis
18 years of experience
Honda HR-V L4-1.8L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Warren, New Jersey
Luis was great. He showed up on time, acted professionally, and gave me confidence with a pre-purchase car inspection.
Acura RDX - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - South Hackensack, New Jersey
Luis did a thorough pre-purchase inspection for me, and found several major issues that made me pass on buying the car. Had I purchased the car, I almost certainly would have ended up paying thousands in repairs down the road. Thanks Luis!

Robert

20 years of experience
1089 reviews
Robert
20 years of experience
Hyundai Elantra L4-2.0L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Englewood, Colorado
He did a pre-purchase inspection for me. He was knowledgeable and fast, and knew what he was looking for. I really appreciate all the pictures and documentation he took of the state of the car before purchase. He noted potential issues with the car that I wouldn't have been able to notice. Would recommend.
GMC Savana 1500 - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Golden, Colorado
I trust Robert. He gave me a list and we will take care of it the week of June 29. I will know then that my vehicle is ready for the winter and is safe to drive. I look forward to getting things ready for another winter of careful driving.

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