2019 Nissan Sentra SR Turbo vs. 2019 Volkswagen Golf

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests front crash prevention systems. With a score of 5 points, IIHS rates the Forward Emergency Braking optional in the Sentra SR Turbo as “Superior.” The Golf scores only 3 points and is rated only “Advanced.”

Both the Sentra SR Turbo and the Golf 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, available daytime running lights, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Nissan Sentra SR Turbo is safer than the Volkswagen Golf:

 

Sentra SR Turbo

Golf

 

Driver

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

293

454

Neck Stress

305 lbs.

352 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Nissan Sentra SR Turbo is safer than the Volkswagen Golf:

 

Sentra SR Turbo

Golf

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

202

247

Spine Acceleration

42 G’s

45 G’s

Hip Force

515 lbs.

834 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

Warranty

The Sentra SR Turbo comes with free roadside assistance for 3 years 36,000 miles. Nissan will send help if you run out of gas, need a jump-start, lock your keys in or need any assistance on the road. Volkswagen doesn’t give free roadside assistance for the Golf.

There are over 66 percent more Nissan dealers than there are Volkswagen dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Sentra SR Turbo’s warranty.

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 Golf’s camshafts. If the Golf’s belt breaks, the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Nissan vehicles are better in initial quality than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Nissan 10th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 18 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 24th, below the industry average.

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 Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Nissan 10th in reliability, above the industry average. With 24 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 19th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Nissan vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Nissan 2 places higher in reliability than Volkswagen.

Engine

The Sentra SR Turbo’s 1.6 turbo 4 cyl. produces 41 more horsepower (188 vs. 147) than the Golf’s 1.4 turbo 4 cyl.

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 Golf 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 Golf:

 

Sentra SR Turbo

Golf

Front Rotors

11.7 inches

11.3 inches

Rear Rotors

11.5 inches

10.7 inches

The Sentra SR Turbo stops much shorter than the Golf:

 

Sentra SR Turbo

Golf

 

70 to 0 MPH

156 feet

175 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Sentra SR Turbo has larger standard tires than the Golf (205/50R17 vs. 195/65R15).

The Sentra SR Turbo’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Golf S’ standard 65 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Sentra SR Turbo has standard 17-inch wheels. Smaller 15-inch wheels are standard on the Golf S. The Sentra NISMO’s 18-inch wheels are larger than the 17-inch wheels optional on the Golf SE.

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 Golf doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Sentra SR Turbo’s wheelbase is 2.5 inches longer than on the Golf (106.3 inches vs. 103.8 inches).

The Sentra NISMO handles at .88 G’s, while the Golf S pulls only .84 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the Sentra SR Turbo’s turning circle is 1 foot tighter than the Golf’s (34.8 feet vs. 35.8 feet).

Passenger Space

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

The Sentra SR Turbo has 2.5 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Golf (96 vs. 93.5).

The Sentra SR Turbo has 1 inch more front headroom, 1.3 inches more front legroom and 1.8 inches more rear legroom than the Golf.

Ergonomics

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 Golf doesn’t offer extendable visors.

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 Golf doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

The Sentra SR Turbo (except NISMO)’s standard automatic temperature control maintains the temperature you set, automatically controlling fan speed, vents and temperature to maintain a consistent, comfortable environment. The Golf doesn’t offer automatic air conditioning.

Recommendations

The Nissan Sentra outsold the Volkswagen Golf/GTI by over five to one during 2018.

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

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