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For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Nissan Sentra are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The Chevrolet Cruze doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.
Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Sentra has standard Rear Automatic Braking that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Cruze doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.
The Sentra SR offers an optional Around View® Monitor to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Cruze only offers a rear monitor and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the front or sides.
The Sentra’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Cruze doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.
Both the Sentra and the Cruze have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front and rear side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, rearview cameras and available daytime running lights.
The Sentra’s corrosion warranty is unlimited miles longer than the Cruze’s (unlimited vs. 100,000 miles).
To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the Sentra has a standard 150-amp alternator. The Cruze’s standard 130-amp alternator and largest (Diesel) 140-amp alternator aren’t as powerful.
From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Nissan vehicles are more reliable than Chevrolet vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Nissan 14 places higher in reliability than Chevrolet.
The Sentra has a standard 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 Cruze doesn’t offer a CVT.
For better stopping power the Sentra’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the Cruze:
For better traction, the Sentra has larger standard tires than the Cruze (205/55R16 vs. 195/65R15).
The Sentra S/SV’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Cruze L/LS’ standard 65 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Sentra S/SV has standard 16-inch wheels. Smaller 15-inch wheels are standard on the Cruze L/LS.
The Sentra 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 Cruze doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.
For superior ride and handling, the Nissan Sentra 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 Chevrolet Cruze has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.
The Sentra has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Sentra flat and controlled during cornering. The Cruze’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.
For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Sentra is 1.5 inches wider in the front and 1.1 inches wider in the rear than the track on the Cruze.
For better maneuverability, the Sentra’s turning circle is .6 feet tighter than the Cruze’s (38.1 feet vs. 38.7 feet).
Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Sentra a Mid-size car, while the Cruze is rated a Compact.
The Sentra has 2 inches more front legroom, .3 inches more front hip room, 1.5 inches more front shoulder room, 1.3 inches more rear legroom, 1.4 inches more rear hip room and 1.3 inches more rear shoulder room than the Cruze Sedan.
The Sentra’s standard folding rear seats are split to accommodate bulky cargo. The Cruze L/LS’ standard single piece folding rear seat is not as flexible; long cargo and a passenger can’t share the rear seat.
The Sentra’s driver’s power window opens or closes with one touch of the window control, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths. The Cruze’s power windows’ switch has to be held the entire time to close it fully.
To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the Sentra has standard extendable sun visors. The Cruze doesn’t offer extendable visors.
The Sentra’s optional rear view mirror has an automatic dimming feature. This mirror can be set to automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on it, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Cruze doesn’t offer the luxury of an automatic dimming rear view mirror.
The Sentra SV/SR’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 Cruze doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.
To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Sentra SV/SR has a standard Intelligent Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The Cruze doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.
The Nissan Sentra outsold the Chevrolet Cruze by almost three to one during the 2019 model year.
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