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!
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
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
Full Warranty- Elantra- 5yrs/60k miles vs. Sentra- 3yrs/36k
Powertrain- Elantra- 10yrs/100k miles vs. Sentra- 5yrs/60k
Rust/corrosion- Elantra- 7yrs vs. Sentra- 5yrs (unlimited
miles on both)
Roadside Assistance- Elantra- 5yrs/unlimited miles vs. Sentra-
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
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
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
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!