The Nissan brand has a long history of producing cars that provide comfort, reliability, efficiency, and style. The Nissan Altima and the Nissan Sentra loom large in the sedan market as two of the world’s most popular and successful cars. They are very similar, yet provide distinct, innovative features that might be a better fit for you depending on your driving needs, budget, and preferences. In this article, we’ll compare the 2021 Nissan Sentra vs Altima by MPG ratings, price levels, and interior features. View our full sedan inventory online and schedule a test drive to compare the Sentra vs Altima in person to make your choice.
The 2021 Nissan Sentra is powered by a 2.0-liter 16-valve four-cylinder engine that revs to 149 horsepower and produces 146 pound-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm. Each of the three Sentra trim levels — the S, SV, and SR — are front-wheel drive models with continuously variable transmissions. The base Sentra S starts at $19,460, with the top-of-the-line Sentra SR priced at $21,800.*
If this comparison of the Nissan Altima vs. Sentra were about engine size alone, the 2021 Altima comes out the winner. This midsize sedan offers a 2.5-liter 16-valve four-cylinder engine that puts out up to 188 horsepower and 182 pound-feet of torque at 6,000 rpm. The Altima offers your choice of six trims: S, SV, SR, SL, SR-VC Turbo, and Platinum. Depending on the trim, the cars provide either front-wheel or all-wheel drive, with MSRPs ranging from the Altima S at $24,450 to $32,450 before adding options.*
Fuel efficiency is important to understand when buying a new vehicle, and Nissan’s numbers are always impressive. The Nissan Sentra trims get very similar EPA estimated fuel efficiency ratings of 28 or 29 mpg city and 37 or 39 mpg highway.¹
By contrast, the Nissan Altima’s fuel efficiency ratings vary more widely across the various trims. The cars get 25 mpg city and 35 mpg highway at the lower end, stretching to 28 mpg city and 39 mpg highway, according to the EPA estimates.¹ Fuel efficiency results vary depending on driving style and the weight of the load you are carrying.
The 2021 Nissan Sentra comes with standard seating options across the trims for driver and passenger comfort. The Sentra interior features include a six-way power-adjustable driver’s seat and four-way adjustable passenger seats, along with 60/40 split fold-down rear seatbacks to provide extra room for cargo.
Technology packages also vary across trims, such as the in-dash infotainment screen. The Sentra line offers either 7-inch or 8-inch diagonal touch screens for information and entertainment display, along with easy integration with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for mobile phone connections. The system works off voice recognition. Sentra drivers also get separate driver information displays to receive updates on the car’s data, including speed and range.
Inside the Nissan Altima, you will also have a range of choices across the various trims. The 2021 Altima offers six- or eight-way power-adjustable driver seats; the Altima Platinum, for instance, also provides lumbar support on the driver’s side. The top Platinum trim offers extreme comfort features such as heated front seats and a heated steering wheel. Look for cloth seating at the lower end of the line and leather-appointed seats at the higher end.
Technology plays a big role in the 2021 Altima, as well. The infotainment system is built around a 7-inch or an 8-inch diagonal display screen. The Altima Platinum includes door-to-door navigation with five-year trial access to Nissan’s premium traffic services. Busy drivers will love the hands-free text messaging assistant and Bluetooth hands-free phone system, which keeps you connected and safe on the road.
The 2021 Nissan Sentra trims offer a consistent overall length of 183 inches, end to end. By comparison, the Nissan Altima runs about 10 inches longer at 193 inches — extra space you’ll feel in leg and cargo room. Both models have the same width at about 72 inches.
The Sentra provides a spacious amount at 44 inches for front driver and passenger, consistent in each configuration across the line. Rear legroom comes in at about 35 inches. Those dimensions are the same in the Nissan Altima across all configurations. The Sentra’s cargo capacity is about 14 cubic feet; the Altima has the Sentra slightly beat at 15 cubic feet.
Nissan Sentra and Altima drivers can rest easy, as both vehicles are outfitted with a full portfolio of the latest Nissan safety technologies. These include the Nissan Advanced AirBag System with dual-stage supplemental front air bags, along with seat belt and occupant-classification sensors. The cars also offer front and rear seat belts with pretensioners and load limiters and the LATCH System (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) for car seat installation and an energy-absorbing steering wheel.
Electronic warning systems include intelligent forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning, rear automatic braking, blind-spot warnings, and rear cross-traffic alerts.
Nissan of Streetsboro offers a wide inventory representing the lineup of Nissan models, including sedans and compacts and regular and crossover SUVs. Our sales teams will guide you to the car that best fits your needs. Make sure you first check out potential deals on our incentives page. Our dealership maintains a large combined inventory of used cars from Nissan and other manufacturers. Visit our finance center for information on financing, and know that whatever car you buy, you can depend on us for top-notch auto repair and maintenance. Call for an appointment for a test drive or with questions at 330-422-7300, or contact us online.
* Price is Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP). MSRP excludes tax, title, license, and option. Dealer sets actual price.
¹ 2021 EPA-Fuel Economy Estimates. Actual mileage may vary with driving conditions. Use for comparison only.
Nissan of Streetsboro, Classic Drive, Streetsboro, OH, USA