Nissan Sentra Vs. Chevy Cruze: Huge Space on Small Platforms

By Justin Cupler | March 9th, 2019

Nissan and Chevy each offer great compact sedans in the Sentra and Cruze, respectively. Both models offer surprising roominess for their size and just the right amount of pep and thriftiness. But which of these compact sedans is best for our Bradenton area shoppers? Find out below.

Exterior

The Nissan Sentra is one of the older compact sedans today as it went through it last redesign in 2014. Despite its age, the 2019 Sentra is still a looker with its boomerang-style headlights, V-Motion grille, wheel options, and sporty NISMO trim.

The Chevy Cruze went through its last redesign back in 2016. Though it lacks a sporty trim like the Sentra’s NISMO model, its base design, which features sharper body lines, a wedge-like front end, and more give is a sharper base appearance than the Sentra.

 

The Sentra is 182.1 to 183.6 inches long, 69.3 inches wide, and 58.9 to 59 inches tall. The 2019 Sentra sits atop a 106.3-inch wheelbase, and it weighs 2,851 to 3,090 pounds.

The 2019 Chevy Cruze is longer and wider than the Sentra at 183.7 inches long and 70.5 inches wide, but it is lower at 57.4 inches high. This sedan rides on a 106.3-inch wheelbase and weighs 2,870 to 2,978 pounds.

Advantage: 2019 Nissan Sentra

  • Smaller footprint makes it easier to park
  • Sporty NISMO model

Advantage: 2019 Chevy Cruze

  • Newer design language

Interior

Inside, the 2019 Nissan Sentra is a little older and features a simpler design. No, it’s not ugly or old-looking. Instead, it is just more toned down, which makes it better-suited for buyers looking for a more basic design. That said, the 2019 Sentra isn’t void of any modern features, as it features a standard 7-inch touchscreen and available Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

The 2019 Chevy Cruze’s interior follows its exterior with a more modern design language. It also takes a step closer to a premium sedan with its contrasting colors and leather-wrapped dash. Plus, its standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay cater to the more tech-hungry crowd.

In its front seats, the 2019 Sentra offers 39.4 inches of headroom, 42.5 inches of legroom, 50.9 inches of hip room, and 54.7 inches of shoulder room. The 2019 Chevy Cruze comes up short by 0.5 inches in headroom and legroom, and 1.6 inches in hiproom, but it beats the Sentra by 3.9 inches in shoulder room.

 

The 2019 Nissan Sentra’s rear seats offer 36.7 inches of headroom, 37.4 inches of legroom, 50.1 inches of hip room, and 53.9 inches of shoulder room. The 2019 Cruze beats the Sentra in headroom by 0.6 inches and hip room by 1 inch, but it is tighter in legroom by 1.3 inches and shoulder room by 0.2 inches.

 

In its cargo area, the 2019 Nissan Sentra offers 15.1 cubic feet. The Cruze comes up short with up to 13.9 cubes in the LT and Premier trims, and up to 14.8 L and LS models.

Advantage: 2019 Nissan Sentra

  • Simpler design for less tech-savvy crowd
  • Roomier front seats
  • More luggage space

Advantage: 2019 Chevy Cruze

  • Wider rear seats
  • Newer design
  • Standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

Performance

The 2019 Nissan Sentra comes standard with a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 124 horsepower and 125 pound-feet of torque. This engine pairs with a standard six-speed manual transmission or an optional continuously variable transmission. This adds up to a 9.5-second 0-to-60 time.

SR Turbo and NISMO models swap in a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 188 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque. In the SR Turbo trim, this engine pairs with a standard CVT, but the NISMO model comes with a standard six-speed manual or an optional CVT. This engine adds up to a seven-second 0-to-60 seven seconds.

 

The NISMO and SR Turbo models not only have more power, but they are also better in the corners. The SR Turbo adds a specially tuned suspension and steering systems, and V-rated rubber. The NISMO model adds even tighter suspension and steering systems, and Z-rated Michelin Pilot Sport tires. In independent testing, the SR Turbo held 0.84 Gs on the skid pad to the NISMO’s 0.88 Gs.

 

The 2019 Chevy Cruze comes standard with a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that cranks out 153 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque. This engine pairs exclusively with a six-speed automatic transmission. This base powertrain delivers an 8.4-second 0-to-60 time.

Buyers who prefer the quick torque and added thrift of a diesel engine can have that with the 2019 Cruze’s optional 1.6-liter turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine that injects 137 horsepower and 240 pound-feet of torque, This oil-burner pairs with a nine-speed automatic transmission.

 

Fuel economy is huge in these family sedans, and it shows with both models’ good ratings. The 2019 Nissan Sentra with the 1.8-liter engine gets up to 29 mpg city, 37 highway, and 32 combined**. Moving into the SR Turbo model nets you up to 25 mpg city, 30 highway, and 27 combined**. The range-topping NISMO model gets up to 25 mpg city, 31 highway, and 27 combined**.

 

The 2019 Chevy Cruze with the 1.4-liter gets up to 30 mpg city, 38 highway, and 32 combined. The Cruze diesel pushes things further with up to 31 mpg city, 48 highway, and 37 combined.

Advantage: 2019 Nissan Sentra

  • Potent turbocharged engine
  • Nice-handling NISMO model

Advantage: 2019 Chevy Cruze

  • Big diesel torque and fuel economy

Pricing and Features

The 2019 Nissan Sentra is available in six trim levels: S, SV, SR, SR Turbo, SL, and NISMO. Their starting prices range from $17,790* to $25,840*.

 

The 2019 Chevy Cruze is available in five trim levels — L, LS, LT, Premier, and Diesel — and their starting prices range from $18,870 to $26,495.

2019 Nissan Sentra Key Features and Pricing by Trim

S: $17,790*

  • 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine
  • Six-speed manual transmission
  • Front-wheel drive
  • Front disc and rear drum brakes
  • Four-wheel anti-lock brakes
  • Speed-sensitive electric power steering
  • 16-inch steel wheels with hubcaps
  • Auto-on/off halogen headlights
  • Power mirrors
  • 7-inch touchscreen
  • Bluetooth connectivity with audio streaming
  • Hands-free text messaging
  • Siri Eyes Free
  • Rearview camera
  • Remote keyless entry
  • Power door locks
  • Air conditioning
  • Cruise control
  • Steering-wheel-mounted controls
  • Tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel
  • Variable-intermittent wipers
  • Cloth seating
  • 60/40 split-folding rear seat
  • Silver interior trim
  • AM/FM audio system with four speakers
  • USB port
  • Auxiliary audio input jack

 

SV: $19,090*

  • All S features, plus
  • CVT
  • Active understeer control
  • 16-inch 10-spoke aluminum-alloy wheels
  • NissanConnect infotainment system
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Fine-vision electroluminescent gauges
  • Nissan Intelligent KEy with keyless ignition
  • Dual-zone automatic climate control
  • Sliding front armrest
  • Rear-seat center armrest
  • Premium cloth seating
  • 370Z-inspired steering wheel
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • Piano-black interior trim
  • Six-speaker audio system
  • Dual-USB rear charging ports
  • SiriusXM radio
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Tire-pressure monitoring system with Easy-Fill Alert
  • Security system

 

SR: $20,590*

  • All SV features, plus
  • Rear disc brakes
  • 17-inch 10-spoke aluminum-alloy wheels
  • LED low-beam projector headlights with LED accents
  • Fog lights
  • Sport rear fascia
  • Lower-body side-sill extension
  • Chrome exhaust finisher
  • Rear spoiler with integrated LED brake lights
  • Heated mirrors with LED turn-signal indicators
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Premium sport cloth seating
  • Heated front seats
  • Sport interior trim

 

SR Turbo: $22,570*

  • All SR features, plus
  • 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine
  • CVT with manual-shift mode
  • Larger disc brakes
  • SR-tuned sport suspension
  • Power sunroof

 

SL: $23,020*

  • All SV features, plus
  • Rear disc brakes
  • 17-inch five-spoke aluminum-alloy wheels
  • LED low-beam headlights with LED accents
  • Fog lights
  • Heated mirrors with LED turn signals
  • Power moonroof
  • HomeLink universal home remote
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Auto-dimming rearview mirror
  • Six-way power driver’s seat
  • Leather seating
  • Heated front seats
  • Eight-speaker Bose premium audio system
  • Blind-spot warning
  • Rear cross-traffic alert

 

NISMO: $25,840*

  • All SR Turbo features, plus
  • Six-speed manual transmission
  • NISMO-tuned suspension and steering
  • 18-inch NISMO 10-spoke aluminum-alloy wheels
  • Michelin Pilot Sport all-season tires
  • LED daytime running lights
  • NISMO body kit
  • NISMO chrome exhaust tips
  • NISMO black outside mirrors
  • NISMO badging
  • NISMO tachometer
  • NISMO sport front seats with additional bolstering
  • NISMO synthetic suede seat trim
  • NISMO signature red stitching
  • NISMO Alcantara-and-leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • NISMO leather-wrapped shift knob
  • Carbon-fiber-look interior trim
  • Black headliner
  • Bose premium audio system with eight speakers

2019 Chevy Cruze Key Features and Pricing by Trim

L: $18,870

  • 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine
  • Six-speed automatic transmission
  • Four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes
  • 15-inch steel wheels with hubcaps
  • Automatic engine stop/start
  • Electric power steering
  • Daytime running lights
  • Body-color door handles
  • Halogen headlights with auto on/off
  • Power mirrors
  • Black belt-line moldings
  • Variable-intermittent front wipers
  • Single-zone electronic climate control
  • Chevrolet Infotainment System 3
  • 7-inch touchscreen
  • Bluetooth connectivity with audio streaming
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Four-speaker AM/FM audio system
  • Two front USB ports
  • Power door locks
  • Power windows with one-touch up/down
  • Monochromatic driver-information center
  • OnStar and Chevrolet connected services
  • 4G LTE Wi-Fi
  • Chevrolet Connected Access
  • Remote keyless entry
  • Tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel
  • Rearview camera
  • Teen Driver

 

LS: $19,995

  • All L features, plus
  • Front floor mats
  • Deluxe steering wheel

 

LT: $22,595

  • All LS features, plus
  • Reduced-travel electric power steering
  • LED daytime running lights
  • Dual-projector halogen headlights with LED signatures
  • Bright belt-line moldings
  • Compact spare tires
  • 16-inch aluminum wheels
  • Single-zone automatic climate control
  • Rear fold-down armrest
  • Six-speaker audio system
  • Two rear USB charging ports
  • SiriusXM
  • Cruise control
  • Rear floor mats
  • Remote vehicle ignition
  • 60/40 split-folding rear seats
  • Steering-wheel-mounted controls

 

Premier: $24,395

  • All LT features, plus
  • 17-inch aluminum wheels
  • Z-link rear suspension
  • Heated mirrors
  • LED taillight accents
  • Keyless ignition
  • Eight-way power driver’s seat
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • Heated steering wheel

 

Diesel: $26,495

  • All LT features, plus
  • 1.6-liter turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine
  • Nine-speed automatic transmission
  • Heated mirrors
  • Single-zone electronic climate control
  • Auxiliary cabin heater
  • Keyless ignition
  • Keyless open
  • Heated front seats
  • Eight-way power driver’s seat
  • Rear Park Assist
  • Lane-change alert
  • Blind-zone monitoring
  • Rear cross-traffic alert

Who Should Buy the 2019 Nissan Sentra?

With a starting price more than $1,000 cheaper than the 2019 Cruze, the 2019 Nissan Sentra is the perfect pick for anyone on a tight budget. Plus. it more timid appearance will appeal to buyers looking for something simpler.

Who Should Buy the 2019 Chevy Cruze?

Buyers looking for outstanding fuel economy and will pay more to get it will appreciate the 2019 Cruze Diesel. Sure, its price is up there, but at up to 48 mpg highway, it may pay off for some buyers.

 

Tackle your daily commute to Midland in the thrifty but sporty 2019 Nissan Sentra or take the Sentra NISMO and tear up the back roads of Bay City.  No matter which fits your need better, head down to Garber Nissan to test drive your preferred version of the 2019 Sentra today. Check out our online inventory to pick a few Sentra models you like, then call our Saginaw new-car dealership to schedule a test drive.

 

* All prices are Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP). MSRP excludes destination and handling charges, tax, title, license, and options. Dealer sets actual price.