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For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Nissan Sentra have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Kia Rio doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.
In the past twenty years hundreds of infants and young children have died after being left in vehicles, usually by accident. When turning the vehicle off, drivers of the Sentra are reminded to check the back seat if they opened the rear door before starting out. The Rio doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.
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 Rio doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.
The Sentra’s lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane. The Rio doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.
The Sentra SR offers an optional Around View® Monitor to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Rio only offers a rear monitor.
The Sentra’s blind spot warning system uses digital cameras monitored by computer to alert the driver to moving objects in the vehicle’s blind spots where the side view mirrors don’t reveal them. The Rio doesn’t offer a system to reveal objects in the driver’s blind spots.
To help make backing safer, the Sentra’s 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 Rio doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.
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 Rio doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.
The Sentra SV/SR has standard GPS Response System, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Rio doesn’t offer a GPS response system, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.
Both the Sentra and the Rio have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, rearview cameras and available daytime running lights.
The Sentra’s 5 year corrosion warranty has no mileage limitations, but the corrosion warranty on the Rio runs out after 100,000 miles.
There are over 41 percent more Nissan dealers than there are Kia dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the Sentra’s warranty.
To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the Sentra has a standard 150-amp alternator. The Rio’s 130-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.
The Sentra’s 2.0 DOHC 4-cylinder produces 29 more horsepower (149 vs. 120) and 34 lbs.-ft. more torque (146 vs. 112) than the Rio’s 1.6 DOHC 4-cylinder.
The Sentra SV/SR has standard antilock four-wheel disc brakes for better stopping power and improved directional control in poor weather. Only rear drums come on the Rio. Drums can heat up and make stops longer, especially with antilock brakes that work much harder than conventional brakes.
For better traction, the Sentra has larger standard tires than the Rio (205/55R16 vs. 185/65R15). The Sentra SR’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Rio (215/45R18 vs. 185/65R15).
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 Rio’s standard 65 series tires. The Sentra SR’s tires have a lower 45 series profile than the Rio’s 65 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Sentra S/SV has standard 16-inch wheels. Only 15-inch wheels are available on the Rio. The Sentra SR has standard 18-inch wheels.
The Nissan Sentra’s wheels have 5 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Kia Rio only has 4 wheel lugs per wheel.
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 Rio 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 Kia Rio 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 Rio’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Sentra’s wheelbase is 5.2 inches longer than on the Rio (106.8 inches vs. 101.6 inches).
For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Sentra is 2.3 inches wider in the front and 2.2 inches wider in the rear than the track on the Rio.
The front grille of the Sentra uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Rio doesn’t offer active grille shutters.
Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Sentra a Mid-size car, while the Rio Sedan is rated a Compact.
The Sentra has 6.1 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Rio Sedan (96 vs. 89.9).
The Sentra has 1.9 inches more front legroom, .6 inches more front hip room, 2.3 inches more front shoulder room, 3.9 inches more rear legroom, .9 inches more rear hip room and 1.2 inches more rear shoulder room than the Rio Sedan.
The Sentra has a larger trunk than the Rio Sedan (14.3 vs. 13.7 cubic feet).
The Sentra’s standard rear seats fold to accommodate long and bulky cargo. The Rio LX doesn’t offer folding rear seats.
To help each driver find a more comfortable driving position, the Sentra has a telescoping steering wheel. Much better than just a tilt steering wheel or adjustable seat, this allows a short driver to sit further from the steering wheel while maintaining contact with the pedals. The Rio doesn’t offer a telescoping steering wheel.
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 Rio’s power windows’ switch has to be held the entire time to close it fully.
The Push Button Start standard on the Sentra allows you to start the engine without removing a key from pocket or purse (available Intelligent Key will also allow unlocking the driver’s door and trunk without taking your keys out). The Kia Rio doesn’t offer an advanced key system.
The Sentra’s speed-sensitive wipers speed up when the vehicle does, so that the driver doesn’t have to continually adjust the speed of the wipers. The Rio’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.
While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the Sentra detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Rio doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.
The Sentra SV/SR offers optional heated front seats, which keep the driver and front passenger extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated seats aren’t available in the Rio.
On extremely cold winter days, the Sentra SR’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The Rio doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.
The Sentra SV/SR has a standard center folding armrest for the rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable and it can provide a boundary between children. The Rio doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.
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 Rio doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.
The Sentra SV/SR’s standard automatic temperature control maintains the temperature you set, automatically controlling fan speed, vents and temperature to maintain a consistent, comfortable environment. The Rio doesn’t offer automatic air conditioning.
For greater rear passenger comfort, the Sentra has standard rear heat vents to keep rear occupants more comfortable. The Rio doesn’t offer rear vents.
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 Rio doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.
With standard voice command, the Sentra offers the driver hands free control of the radio by simply speaking. The Rio doesn’t offer a voice control system.
The Nissan Sentra outsold the Kia Rio by over seven to one during 2019.
© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.
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