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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 Golf 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 Golf 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 Golf only offers a rear monitor.
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 Golf doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.
Both the Sentra 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, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, rear cross-path warning and available daytime running lights.
Nissan’s powertrain warranty covers the Sentra 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Volkswagen covers the Golf. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 5 years or 60,000 miles. Coverage on the Golf ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.
The Sentra’s corrosion warranty is unlimited miles longer than the Golf’s (unlimited vs. 100,000 miles).
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’s warranty.
A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the Sentra’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’ 2019 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 7th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 27 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 25th, below the industry average.
From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Nissan vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Nissan 16 places higher in reliability than Volkswagen.
On the EPA test cycle the Sentra S/SV gets better fuel mileage than the Golf Auto (29 city/39 hwy vs. 29 city/37 hwy).
The Nissan Sentra comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the Golf.
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 Golf doesn’t offer a CVT.
For better traction, the Sentra SR’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Golf (215/45R18 vs. 205/55R16).
The Sentra SR’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Golf’s 55 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Sentra SR has standard 18-inch wheels. The Golf’s largest wheels are only 16-inches.
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 Golf doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Sentra’s wheelbase is 3 inches longer than on the Golf (106.8 inches vs. 103.8 inches).
For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Sentra is 1.3 inches wider in the front and 2.6 inches wider in the rear than the track on the Golf.
Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Sentra a Mid-size car, while the Golf is rated a Compact.
The Sentra has 2.5 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Golf (96 vs. 93.5).
The Sentra has .5 inches more front headroom, 2.8 inches more front legroom, .5 inches more front shoulder room, 1.8 inches more rear legroom and .6 inches more rear shoulder room than the Golf.
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 Golf doesn’t offer a remote starting system.
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 Golf doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.
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 Golf doesn’t offer extendable visors.
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 Golf doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.
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 Golf 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 Golf doesn’t offer automatic 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 Golf doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.
The Nissan Sentra outsold the Volkswagen Golf/GTI by over five to one during the 2019 model year.
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