2019 Nissan Sentra SR Turbo vs. 2019 Ford Fiesta ST

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Nissan Sentra SR Turbo NISMO has Daytime Running Lights to help keep it more visible under all conditions. Canadian government studies show that driving with lights during the day reduces accidents by 11% by making vehicles more conspicuous. The Fiesta ST doesn’t offer Daytime Running Lights.

To help make backing safer, the Sentra SR Turbo’s optional cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The Fiesta ST doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

Both the Sentra SR Turbo and the Fiesta ST have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, rearview cameras and available blind spot warning systems.

A significantly tougher test than their original offset frontal crash test, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety does 40 MPH small overlap frontal offset crash tests. In this test, where only 25% of the total width of the vehicle is struck, results indicate that the Nissan Sentra SR Turbo is safer than the Fiesta ST:

 

Sentra SR Turbo

Fiesta ST

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

MARGINAL

Restraints

GOOD

POOR

Head Neck Evaluation

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Head injury index

131

509

Peak Head Forces

0 G’s

77 G’s

Steering Column Movement Rearward

0 cm

5 cm

Chest Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Hip & Thigh Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Femur Force R/L

1/.1 kN

2.7/1.8 kN

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L

0%/0%

.86%/.57%

Lower Leg Evaluation

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Tibia index R/L

.66/.53

.86/.57

Tibia forces R/L

1.5/.5 kN

5.7/3.4 kN

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, and with its optional front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Sentra SR Turbo the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 154 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Fiesta ST was not even a “Top Pick” for 2016.

Reliability

A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the Sentra SR Turbo’s engine. A rubber cam drive belt that needs periodic replacement drives the Fiesta ST’s camshafts. If the Fiesta ST’s belt breaks, the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Nissan vehicles are more reliable than Ford vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Nissan 10th in reliability, above the industry average. With 19 more problems per 100 vehicles, Ford is ranked 16th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Nissan vehicles are more reliable than Ford vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Nissan 4 places higher in reliability than Ford.

Transmission

The Sentra SR Turbo offers an optional automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. The Fiesta ST doesn’t offer an automatic transmission.

The Sentra SR Turbo offers an optional continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The Fiesta ST doesn’t offer a CVT.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Sentra SR Turbo’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Fiesta ST:

 

Sentra SR Turbo

Fiesta ST

Front Rotors

11.7 inches

10.95 inches

Rear Rotors

11.5 inches

9.96 inches

The Sentra SR Turbo stops much shorter than the Fiesta ST:

 

Sentra SR Turbo

Fiesta ST

 

70 to 0 MPH

156 feet

172 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Sentra NISMO’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Fiesta ST (215/45R18 vs. 205/40R17).

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Sentra NISMO has standard 18-inch wheels. The Fiesta ST’s largest wheels are only 17-inches.

The Nissan Sentra SR Turbo’s wheels have 5 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Ford Fiesta ST only has 4 wheel lugs per wheel.

The Sentra SR Turbo has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The Fiesta ST doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

The Sentra SR Turbo has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Sentra SR Turbo flat and controlled during cornering. The Fiesta ST’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Sentra SR Turbo’s wheelbase is 8.3 inches longer than on the Fiesta ST (106.3 inches vs. 98 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Sentra SR Turbo is 2.5 inches wider in the front and 3.2 inches wider in the rear than on the Fiesta ST.

The Sentra NISMO handles at .88 G’s, while the Fiesta ST pulls only .87 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the Sentra SR Turbo’s turning circle is .7 feet tighter than the Fiesta ST’s (34.8 feet vs. 35.5 feet).

Passenger Space

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Sentra SR Turbo a Mid-size car, while the Fiesta ST is rated a Compact.

The Sentra SR Turbo has 10.9 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Fiesta ST (96 vs. 85.1).

The Sentra SR Turbo has .3 inches more front headroom, .3 inches more front hip room, 2 inches more front shoulder room, 6.2 inches more rear legroom, .9 inches more rear hip room and 4.9 inches more rear shoulder room than the Fiesta ST.

Cargo Capacity

The Sentra SR Turbo has a much larger trunk than the Fiesta ST with its rear seat up (15.1 vs. 10.1 cubic feet).

A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the Sentra SR Turbo easier. The Sentra SR Turbo’s trunk lift-over height is 27.1 inches, while the Fiesta ST’s liftover is 28.3 inches.

Ergonomics

The Sentra SR Turbo has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The Fiesta ST doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

The Sentra SR Turbo has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The Fiesta ST doesn’t offer automatic headlights.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the Sentra SR Turbo has standard extendable sun visors. The Fiesta ST doesn’t offer extendable visors.

The Sentra SR Turbo’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Ford charges extra for heated mirrors on the Fiesta ST.

The Sentra SR Turbo has a standard center folding armrest for the rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable. The Fiesta ST doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.

The Sentra SR Turbo (except NISMO)’s standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. The Fiesta ST doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

Recommendations

The Nissan Sentra outsold the Ford Fiesta by over four to one during 2018.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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