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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 Toyota Yaris 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 Yaris 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 Yaris 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 Yaris 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 Yaris 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 Yaris 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 Yaris 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 Yaris 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 Yaris 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 Yaris 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, crash mitigating brakes, rearview cameras and available daytime running lights.
The Nissan Sentra weighs 563 to 699 pounds more than the Toyota Yaris. The NHTSA advises that heavier cars are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts. Crosswinds also affect lighter cars more.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Nissan vehicles are better in initial quality than Toyota vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Nissan 7th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 4 more problems per 100 vehicles, Toyota is ranked 8th.
The Sentra’s 2.0 DOHC 4-cylinder produces 43 more horsepower (149 vs. 106) and 43 lbs.-ft. more torque (146 vs. 103) than the Yaris’ 1.5 DOHC 4-cylinder.
In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Nissan Sentra higher (7 out of 10) than the Toyota Yaris (3). This means the Sentra produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Yaris every 15,000 miles.
The Nissan Sentra comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the Yaris.
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 Yaris doesn’t offer a CVT.
For better stopping power the Sentra’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Yaris:
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 Yaris. Drums can heat up and make stops longer, especially with antilock brakes that work much harder than conventional brakes.
The Sentra stops much shorter than the Yaris:
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Car and Driver
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For better traction, the Sentra has larger standard tires than the Yaris (205/55R16 vs. 185/60R16). The Sentra SR’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Yaris (215/45R18 vs. 185/60R16).
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 Yaris L Sedan’s standard 65 series tires. The Sentra SR’s tires have a lower 45 series profile than the Yaris LE/XLE’s 60 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 Yaris L Sedan. The Sentra SR’s 18-inch wheels are larger than the 16-inch wheels on the Yaris LE/XLE.
The Nissan Sentra’s wheels have 5 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Toyota Yaris 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 Yaris 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 Toyota Yaris 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 Yaris’ suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Sentra’s wheelbase is 5.6 inches longer than on the Yaris (106.8 inches vs. 101.2 inches).
For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Sentra is 3.5 inches wider in the front and 3.9 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the Yaris.
The Sentra SR handles at .89 G’s, while the Yaris Sedan pulls only .80 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.
The Sentra SR executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1 seconds quicker than the Yaris Sedan (27 seconds @ .63 average G’s vs. 28 seconds @ .59 average G’s).
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 Yaris 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 Yaris is rated a Subcompact.
The Sentra has 10.1 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Yaris (96 vs. 85.9).
The Sentra has .7 inches more front headroom, 2.1 inches more front legroom, 4.9 inches more front hip room, 3.3 inches more front shoulder room, 3 inches more rear legroom, 3.8 inches more rear hip room and 4.5 inches more rear shoulder room than the Yaris.
The Sentra has a larger trunk than the Yaris Sedan (14.3 vs. 13.5 cubic feet).
The Sentra SV/SR 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 climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The Yaris doesn’t offer a remote starting 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 Yaris L/LE’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.
The Sentra 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 Yaris has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the XLE.
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 Yaris 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 Yaris doesn’t offer the luxury of an automatic dimming rear view mirror.
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 Yaris.
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 Yaris 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 Yaris 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 Yaris doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.
For greater rear passenger comfort, the Sentra has standard rear heat vents to keep rear occupants more comfortable. The Yaris doesn’t offer rear vents.
A built-in pollen filter removes pollen, exhaust fumes and other pollutants from the Sentra’s passenger compartment. This helps prevent lung and/or sinus irritation which can trigger allergies or asthma. The Yaris’ air conditioner doesn’t offer a filtration system.
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 Yaris doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.
The Nissan Sentra outsold the Toyota Yaris by over 8 to one during 2019.
© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.
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