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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Michael

21 years of experience
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21 years of experience
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BMW 320i - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Reseda, California
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27 years of experience
808 reviews
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27 years of experience
Honda Element - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Webster, Texas
John completed a pre-purchase car inspection for me. I was feeling a bit nervous about purchasing a car from out of state, but after seeing John's inspection notes and then talking with him over the phone about the few issues he found, I feel confident in his knowledge, honesty, and professionalism, and I feel very comfortable about my upcoming purchase.
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13 years of experience
339 reviews
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13 years of experience
Toyota Camry - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Marietta, Georgia
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