2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI vs. 2019 Nissan Sentra SR Turbo

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI

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The Jetta GLI has standard Autonomous Emergency Braking, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The Sentra SR Turbo doesn't offer collision warning or crash mitigation brakes.

The Jetta GLI has a standard Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Sentra SR Turbo doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Jetta GLI has a standard backup collision prevention system that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Sentra SR Turbo doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The Jetta GLI Autobahn has standard Car-Net, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Sentra SR Turbo doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the Jetta GLI and the Sentra SR Turbo 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 and rearview cameras.


The Jetta GLI comes with a full 6-year/72000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car. The Sentra SR Turbo’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 3 years and 36,000 miles sooner.

The Jetta GLI’s corrosion warranty is 5 years longer than the Sentra SR Turbo’s (10 vs. 5 years).


The Volkswagen Jetta GLI’s engine uses a cast iron block for durability, while the Sentra SR Turbo’s engine uses an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Volkswagen vehicles are more reliable than Nissan vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Volkswagen 12th in reliability, above the industry average. With 6 more problems per 100 vehicles, Nissan is ranked 15th.


The Jetta GLI’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 40 more horsepower (228 vs. 188) and 81 lbs.-ft. more torque (258 vs. 177) than the Sentra SR Turbo’s 1.6 turbo 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Jetta GLI Manual gets better fuel mileage than the Sentra SR Turbo NISMO Manual (25 city/32 hwy vs. 25 city/31 hwy).

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Jetta GLI Auto’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Sentra SR Turbo doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.


The Jetta GLI offers an optional sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is more internally efficient than a CVT but just as easy to drive. The Sentra SR Turbo doesn’t offer an SMG.

Brakes and Stopping

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

Jetta GLI

Sentra SR Turbo

Front Rotors

13.4 inches

11.7 inches

Rear Rotors

11.8 inches

11.5 inches

The Jetta GLI’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Sentra SR Turbo are solid, not vented.

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Jetta GLI has larger tires than the Sentra SR Turbo (225/40R18 vs. 205/50R17). The Jetta GLI’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Sentra SR Turbo (225/40R18 vs. 215/45R18).

The Jetta GLI’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Sentra SR Turbo’s standard 50 series tires. The Jetta GLI’s tires are lower profile than the Sentra NISMO’s 45 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Jetta GLI has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the Sentra SR Turbo.

Suspension and Handling

For superior ride and handling, the Volkswagen Jetta GLI has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Nissan Sentra SR Turbo has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.

The Jetta GLI offers an available driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads. The Sentra SR Turbo’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The Jetta GLI 35th Anniversary Edition handles at .95 G’s, while the Sentra NISMO pulls only .88 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

Passenger Space

The Jetta GLI has 1.2 inches more front shoulder room, .5 inches more rear headroom and .1 inches more rear shoulder room than the Sentra SR Turbo.

Servicing Ease

A maintenance reminder system is standard on the Jetta GLI to save the owner time and money by calculating maintenance intervals for oil changes and vehicle inspection based on odometer mileage. This takes the guesswork out of keeping your vehicle in top condition and helps it last longer. Nissan doesn’t offer a maintenance reminder on the Sentra SR Turbo.


The Jetta GLI Autobahn Auto has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The Sentra SR Turbo doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

When different drivers share the Jetta GLI Autobahn, the memory seats and mirrors make it convenient. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position and outside mirror angle. The Sentra SR Turbo doesn’t offer a memory system.

The power windows standard on both the Jetta GLI and the Sentra SR Turbo have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Jetta GLI is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Sentra SR Turbo prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The Jetta GLI’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Sentra SR Turbo’s passenger windows don’t open or close automatically.

If the windows are left open on the Jetta GLI the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows with the driver’s door power window switch. The driver of the Sentra SR Turbo can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The Jetta GLI’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Sentra SR Turbo’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

The Jetta GLI’s power mirror controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The Sentra SR Turbo’s power mirror controls are on the dash where they are possibly hidden by the steering wheel and are awkward to manipulate.

Standard air-conditioned seats in the Jetta GLI Autobahn keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Sentra SR Turbo doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

The Jetta GLI has a 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. Dual zone air conditioning is not available on the Sentra SR Turbo NISMO.

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

For greater rear passenger comfort, the Jetta GLI has standard rear heat vents to keep rear occupants more comfortable. The Sentra SR Turbo doesn’t offer rear vents.

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

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