Nissan Sentra Vs. Nissan Altima: Big Bro Gets a Makeover

By Justin Cupler | March 3rd, 2019

With so little separating compact and midsize sedans these days, choosing between them can prove difficult. Here at Garber Nissan, we put you in a really tough spot with two incredible sedans: the 2019 Nissan Sentra and the all-new 2019 Nissan Altima. Relax, we’ll help you figure out which one is better suited for your lifestyle below. Continue reading to learn more.


The 2019 Nissan Altima boasts an all-new look thanks to a complete redesign that delivers a sportier feel than before with its longer hood and coupe-like rear glass. Compared to the last-generation Altima, the 2019 model is 1.1 inches lower in height, 1 inch longer, and 0.9 inches wider. This low-slung silhouette further accentuates this midsize sedan’s already-sporty body lines.  

Despite its all-new look, the Altima boasts all the standard Nissan design cues. These include a “floating” roof, bold V-motion grille, and boomerang-style lighting.

The Nissan Sentra, unlike the Altima, is long in the tooth as its last redesign came in 2013. This look is nowhere near ugly, but it may seem dated next to the sharper Altima. That said, some buyers may find the Altima’s new look a little much with all its angles — those folks will find the simpler Sentra more pleasing. There is another added benefit to the older-looking Sentra, and that’s its $6,110 price advantage.  

As a compact sedan, the 2019 Nissan Sentra measures just 182.1 to 183.6 inches long, 69.3 inches wide, and 58.9 to 59 inches tall. It sits on a 106.3-inch wheelbase and weighs 2,851 to 3,090 pounds.

The midsize 2019 Nissan Altima is larger than the Sentra at 192.9 inches long and 72.9 inches wide, but its low-slung roofline makes it lower at 56.8 to 57.4 inches tall. The Altima rides on a 111.2-inch wheelbase and weighs 3,418 to 3,436 pounds.

Advantage: 2019 Nissan Sentra

  • Smaller footprint
  • Simpler design may appeal to some buyers
  • Significant price advantage

Advantage: 2019 Nissan Altima

  • Latest Nissan design language
  • Sleeker, sportier look


Inside, the 2019 Nissan Sentra’s cabin shows its age with a simple dash design, chunky steering wheel and use of hard plastics. Some buyers, however, may appreciate this simpler look to the more modern Altima. The Sentra has some decent technology, though, including a standard 7-inch touchscreen and Siri Eyes Free, and optional Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and more. Plus, on SV and higher trims, you get a 370Z-inspired steering wheel that adds a touch of sportiness.

Speaking of sportiness, the range-topping NISMO trim adds extra doses of this with its special seats that boast red stitching and NISMO logos. There are also red accents throughout the cabin, special floor mats, and a dark headliner to set the Sentra NISMO apart from the rest of the lineup.

The 2019 Nissan Altima is all-new, and its interior has the latest and greatest the automaker offers. On the styling side of things, this new look includes a flat-bottom steering wheel, a swooping dash accent, a perched touchscreen, higher-quality materials, and much more.

On the tech side of things, the Altima wins again with its standard six-speaker audio system,. NissanConnect infotainment, 8-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. Plus, with its standard forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane-keep assist, and blind-spot warning, you can feel more secure inside the 2019 Altima.

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 Altima has 0.2 inches less headroom, but it offers an extra 1.3 inches of legroom, 3.8 inches of hip room, and 3.5 inches of shoulder room.

In the rear, the 2019 Nissan Sentra offers 36.7 inches of headroom, 37.4 inches of legroom, 50.1 inches of hip room, and 53.9 inches of shoulder room. The Altima’s lower roofline gives it 0.2 inches less headroom, plus it has 2.2 inches less legroom. The Altima comes back to beat the Sentra by 4.4 inches in hip room and 3.2 inches of shoulder room.

In its trunk, the 2019 Sentra offers 15.1 cubic feet of luggage space, while the Altima checks in with 15.4 cubes of space.

Advantage: 2019 Nissan Sentra

  • Lower price without big sacrifice in features
  • Sporty NISMO interior
  • Big advantage in rear legroom

Advantage: 2019 Nissan Altima

  • Sharp interior design
  • Loads of standard safety
  • Standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Wider seating area
  • More luggage room


The 2019 Nissan Sentra has a variety of flavors, but most of its lineup comes with a timid 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.

Moving into the SR Turbo and NISMO models adds 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 Nissan Altima also has a few flavors, starting with a brand-new 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 188 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque. This engine pairs with a standard CVT and front wheel drive. You can choose optional all-wheel drive, but the engine’s output falls to 182 horsepower and 178 pound-feet. This all adds up to a 7.4-second 0-to-60 time.

The 2019 Altima has three hotter trims in the SR VC-Turbo, Platinum VC-Turbo, and Edition One VC-Turbo that add a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that produces up to 248 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque with premium fuel. This engine pairs with a standard CVT and front-wheel drive, but there is no optional all-wheel drive. This powertrain adds up to a 6.1-second 0-to-60 time in independent testing.

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 gity, 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 larger 2019 Altima with the 2.5-liter stacks up well against the base Sentra with up to 28 mpg city, 39 highway, and 32 combined**. Add the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, which delivers up to 25 mpg city, 34 highway, and 29 combined**, and it easily beats the Sentra with the 1.6-liter turbo engine.

Advantage: 2019 Nissan Sentra

  • NISMO model delivers good agility

Advantage: 2019 Nissan Altima

  • Big-time power advantage
  • Significantly quicker to 60 mph
  • Better 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 Nissan Altima has eight trim levels — S, SR, SR VC-Turbo, SV, SL, Platinum, Platinum VC-Turbo, and Edition One VC-Turbo — and their starting prices range from $23,900* to $35,750*.

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 Nissan Altima Key Features and Pricing by Trim

S: $23,900*

  • 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine
  • CVT
  • Front-wheel drive
  • Four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes
  • Electric power steering
  • 16-inch steel wheels with hub caps
  • Active grille shutters
  • Auto-on/off projector halogen headlights
  • Power mirrors
  • Chrome V-motion grille
  • Chrome door handles
  • Body-color mirrors
  • Body-color rear diffuser
  • Air conditioning
  • Power windows with one-touch up/down driver’s window
  • Power door locks
  • Nissan intelligent control with keyless ignition
  • Remote engine start
  • Tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel
  • Variable-intermittent wipers
  • Eight-way power driver’s seat
  • 60/40 split-folding rear seats
  • Cloth seating
  • Matte-chrome trim
  • Advance Drive-Assist Display
  • NissanConnect 8-inch infotainment system
  • Apple CarPlay
  • Android Auto
  • Siri Eyes Free
  • Hands-free text messaging
  • Bluetooth connectivity with streaming  audio
  • Six-speaker AM/FM audio system
  • Steering-wheel-mounted controls
  • Two USB ports
  • Two USB-C ports
  • Forward collision warning
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Lane-keep assist
  • Blind-spot warning
  • Rearview camera
  • Hill-start assist
  • Automatic high-beam headlights
  • Traffic-sign recognition
  • Driver-awareness alert
  • Vehicle security system


SR: $25,250*

  • All S features, plus
  • 19-inch aluminum wheels
  • Paddle shifters
  • Sport-tuned suspension
  • LED headlights with signatures
  • Dark-chrome V-motion grille
  • Body-color door handles
  • Black mirrors
  • Charcoal rear diffuser
  • Dual chrome exhaust finishers
  • Sport cloth seat trim
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • Leather-wrapped shift knob
  • Carbon-fiber-look trim
  • Blind-spot warning
  • Rear cross-traffic alert


SV: $28,080*

  • All S features, plus
  • Electronic parking brake
  • 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels
  • LED headlights with signature lighting
  • LED fog lights
  • Heated mirrors with LED turn-signal indicators
  • Power moonroof
  • Acoustic windshield
  • Dual chrome exhaust finishers
  • Dual-zone automatic climate control
  • Rear heating and cooling vents
  • One-touch-up/down passenger window
  • Remote ignition with intelligent climate control
  • Auto-dimming rearview mirror
  • HomeLink universal remote
  • Power driver’s seat lumbar
  • Heated front seats
  • Heated steering wheel
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • Leather-wrapped shift knob
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection
  • Lane-keep assist
  • Blind-spot warning
  • Rear cross-traffic alert
  • Rear parking sensors
  • Rear automatic emergency braking
  • Automatic brake hold
  • Automatic high-beam headlights
  • ProPilot Assist one-lane semi-autonomous driving


SR VC-Turbo: $29,300*

  • All SR features, plus
  • 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine
  • Heated outside mirrors with LED turn signal indicators
  • Power moonroof
  • Heated front seats


SL: $29,990*

  • All SV features, plus
  • Four-way power passenger’s seat
  • Leather seating
  • Wood-tone trim
  • Navigation with premium traffic
  • SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link
  • NissanConnect
  • Nissan voice recognition
  • Bose nine-speaker audio system
  • Active noise cancellation
  • HD Radio
  • Traffic-sign recognition


Platinum: $31,930*

  • All SL features, plus
  • 19-inch aluminum wheels
  • Ambient interior lighting
  • Driver’s seat memory
  • 360-degree camera


Platinum VC-Turbo: $34,930*

  • All Platinum features, plus
  • 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine


Edition One VC-Turbo: $35,750*

  • All Platinum VC-Turbo features, plus
  • 19-inch dark-gray aluminum wheels
  • External ground lighting
  • Rear spoiler
  • Illuminated kick plates
  • Edition One carpeted floor mats
  • Carpeted trunk mat
  • Hideaway trunk net
  • Nissan Concierge service

Who Should Buy the 2019 Nissan Sentra?

The 2019 Nissan Sentra is, no doubt, an economy car with its lower starting price. This opens it to buyers with tighter budgets, but its range-topping NISMO trim also opens the door to those who want a little extra performance. Also, with its significant rear legroom advantage, the Sentra is a better buy for families with taller children or college students who’ll haul around classmates.

Who Should Buy the 2019 Nissan Altima?

The all-new 2019 Nissan Altima is for buyers who don’t want to drop a boatload of cash but have slightly deeper pockets for added creature comforts. It is still quite affordable at $23,900, but its list of standard features is quite impressive. Plus, its optional all-wheel drive adds an extra wrinkle for cooler climates that deal with snow.

Not sure if you prefer the 2019 Nissan Altima or the smaller 2019 Nissan Sentra? Head down to Garber Nissan for a test drive today. Whether you have a daily commute to Saginaw or are heading off to classes at Northwood University, these sedans will fit your lifestyle nicely. Check out our online inventory to pick a few Altima and Sentra models that suit your needs, then head to our Bradenton new-car dealership for 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.

** Actual mileage may vary