Edmunds Answers



  • morin2 11/23/12 5:05 pm PST

    Have you driven both cars in the trim that you are considering? (you can respond by clicking on the "answer this question" button below to keep the discussion in one thread).

  • igozoomzoom 11/24/12 10:31 pm PST

    The Sentra appears to be significantly improved compared to the outgoing 2012 model, but I would personally recommend the Hyundai Elantra. If I had to pick one of the two for myself, it would definitely be my pick!

    Here’s why-

    The 2013 Sentra is a brand new design while the 2013 Elantra was introduced as a 2011 model and now has an established record of reliability.

    The Elantra is slightly more powerful and, as a result, has better acceleration than the Sentra. It isn’t a huge difference on paper, but in the real world the Elantra definitely feels like the more powerful and quicker of the two.

    The Sentra has a CVT transmission while the Elantra has a conventional 6-speed automatic. If you aren’t yet familiar with how a CVT operates differently than a regular automatic, it would be worth taking 10 minutes to Google ‘CVT’ and check it out. I personally do NOT like CVTs, but that is solely a personal preference. More and more cars (even the new Honda Accord) have CVTs, but knowing the difference between the two and paying attention to the differences in how they drive is important. The more you know, the more of an informed decision you can make!

    The area where these two differ the most is a very important one- WARRANTY!

    Full Warranty- Elantra- 5yrs/60k miles vs. Sentra- 3yrs/36k miles

    Powertrain- Elantra- 10yrs/100k miles vs. Sentra- 5yrs/60k miles

    Rust/corrosion- Elantra- 7yrs vs. Sentra- 5yrs (unlimited miles on both)

    Roadside Assistance- Elantra- 5yrs/unlimited miles vs. Sentra- NONE

    So you get an addition two years or 24k miles of Full Warranty, five years or 40k miles of Powertrain Warranty, two more years of rust/corrosion protection AND five years of Roadside Assistance regardless of mileage on the Elantra.

    The fuel economy ratings are similar both, but in real-world driving and road tests, the Elantra averages about 3mpg more overall than the Sentra.

    Considering that the Elantra and Sentra are so similarly priced with similar levels of features, the Elantra is the better value. If you haven’t considered the 2013 Mazda3 as possibility, I encourage you to at least take a test drive before you make a purchase decision. The Mazda is delivering real-world fuel economy better than the Elantra by another 3mpg (32 mpg overall) according to Consumer Reports.

    The Mazda3 is the sportier car of the three and most consider it the sportiest compact sedan of all. It is fun to drive, has great handling and strong acceleration, and it has the highest quality interior- in terms of materials used and assembly quality. It ‘feels’ like a more expensive car.

    The potential negatives are very few, but significant, depending on person tastes. The Mazda3 handles better than the others, but the tradeoff is in ride quality and road noise. It isn’t as cushy of a ride as the Elantra or Sentra and you hear the engine and tire noise a little more. It’s totally a matter of personal preference and when you drive one, you’ll either love it or know that it isn’t the right car for you.

    The Mazda3 has warranty coverage similar to the Sentra, so it doesn’t have the long warranty coverage of the Elantra. But it has been around for a few years to establish a good reliability record to offer some peace of mind.

    So….I’d say go test drive a Mazda3 and the Elantra back-to-back, then make a decision! You won’t go wrong with either of them!

  • morin2 11/25/12 11:46 am PST

    Before you become too bogged down in the details of research, I think you need some "seat time" in these cars to narrow down your choices. While I love the sky-activ engine of the Mazda 3, I could not get comfortable in the car and I'm average size; same with the Focus and Fiesta. Fit, comfort and claustrophobia are personal things.

    Good point about the auto trans of the Elantra. Some Hyundais also have manuals with slick shifters. I nearly bought an Elantra Touring SE with the manual B&M racing shifter because it was so much more fun to drive than the auto version of that car in GLS trim. Ultimately, I couldn't do it because the shifter was linked to low profile tires on larger alloys - which are not practical for most roads today. Consider the OEM tires and wheels. Usually the lower trim levels have higher profile tires on steel wheels - which are less likely to be damaged by our crumbling roads. As budgets continue to decline, our nation's bridges and roads will continue to receive less maintenance and repairs. Until we have improved this part of our infrastructure, seriously consider tires at or above 60 series.

    If you are in snow country, consider adding the Subaru Impreza to your short list.

  • mbjero 09/02/13 9:39 am PST

    Well i have my experience in driving my 2009 Hyundai Elantra. It was of course a good car to start with and it did not give me any trouble with my commuting as an undergraduate student and a full time worker. Also I had been pre-warned about Hyundai's resale value. I just sold my 2009 Hyundai Elantra and I just bought my brand new 2013 Nissan Sentra. I am very impressed with its driving and turning control, its features and specs in an economic small car. Its back seets reclyning, its compurized Bluetooth, its safety features with curtain airbags and the list is endless. I do not have a sunroof, but that's okay. Oh yes its keyless entry and keyless engine. That will take a long time for me to get use to.

    I have a cousin who has a Nissan Rogue for four years now. And she is still happy with her Nissan. She also has the keyless entry & keyless engine. So that states how advance Nissan has their cars designed. Maybe Hyundia is just now bringing it forward when its old news with the Nissan. From the Nissan its been said and done for years now. My relatives have a long history with Nissan and they know that Nissan lasts a long time and serves its commuters well. I hope this helps you.


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