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2007 Hyundai Elantra vs 2007 Nissan Sentra

backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,934
edited March 2014 in Hyundai
For the 2007 model year, the Hyundai Elantra and Nissan Sentra are all-new, and are the newest entries in the $16k-20k economy car class. They have several similarities, for example: compact sedans with mid-sized interiors (the largest in their class); three trim levels, including a top-end trim with standard leather (not available on competitors like Civic and Corolla); similar powerplants (2.0L, with 138 hp on the Elantra and 140 on the Sentra); and availability as a 4-door sedan only (although that may change soon for the Elantra at least).

What do you think of these all-new economy sedans?


  • nodulenodule Posts: 118
    As for as appearance alone, its the 2007 Sentra hands down.
    The new Elantra looks to girly, lady like and feminine, while
    the Sentra looks more rugged and for a guy.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,934
    The 2007 Sentra looks like a Fusion in front, but with a cheaper-looking grille, and very much like the '01-'06 Elantra otherwise--except for the been-there-done-that-anybody-have-any-other-ideas clear taillamps.

    The Corvette has curvy, sinuous lines also--like the new Elantra. I guess the Corvette is a "girly" car too?
  • doohickiedoohickie Posts: 949
    The 2007 Sentra looks like a Fusion in front, but with a cheaper-looking grille, and very much like the '01-'06 Elantra otherwise--except for the been-there-done-that-anybody-have-any-other-ideas clear taillamps.

    Really? Are we looking at the same car? I see Altima/Maxima Jr. in the Sentra and nothing more.

    The Corvette has curvy, sinuous lines also--like the new Elantra. I guess the Corvette is a "girly" car too?

    If the choice is between the new Elantra and the "manly" Caliber, I'd pick the new Elantra every time. (The Caliber styling is the worst I've seen since Aztec.)
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,934
    I see Altima in the new Sentra also. But I always thought the Gen 3 Altima looked a lot like a stretched Gen 3 Elantra, from the A-pillar back. Look at the roofline, the character line on the side, the rear end (except those clear taillamps).

    I'm not quite sure why some people equate chunky styling to a "guy" car. Maybe it's the (unfortunate) Hummer influence. There have been many cars over the years with curvy lines that were definitely NOT "girly" cars, e.g. Camaro, Corvette, Viper, RX-8, Javelin/AMX, Cobra, and any Jaguar.
  • From certain angles, the new Sentra looks too..."high" for its rear wheels. Ya know, like the Echo and the last Neon looked like. - .500.jpg
  • bamacarbamacar Posts: 749
    I don't think appearances are either of these cars strong suit.

    Actually, the Sentra does look like a stodgier Altima jr. The heavy weight makes me wonder what the real world mileage will be also. It appears the Versa only gets about 28-30 if its Edmunds real world posters numbers are averaged. What does that mean for the Sentra - 25-28 mpg?

    The Elantra exterior still looks influenced by the Corolla (sorry Backy). I actually like the front end more when I saw it in person yesterday. The back end is still very Corolla like. I think the interior is much nicer than past Elantras, and the EPA numbers look pretty good. I would like to see its real world mileage numbers. If the discounts come quickly and a manual SE is actually available on dealer lots, I may give one a try. I booted the Accent due to the unavailablity of factory cruise and aux input, and am glad both are available in the Elantra.

    I think the Sentra is probably a loser, and the Elantra is probably a winner. I still think the Civic and Mazda3 lead from an exterior looks standpoint. Both Honda and Mazda took a few risks and did not take the conservative route like Hyundai and Nissan.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,934
    It's funny but with much more hp and torque than the Versa, the Sentra could wind up getting better fuel economy.

    I used to think the Mazda3 was the best looking car in its class. Now the styling is beginning to get old to me. But it's still a nice-looking car--even though it's a twin of the Corolla. ;) The Civic is OK too, although it still looks too much like a Saturn SL I think. I prefer the more traditional interior layout of the Mazda3 and Elantra (and Sentra) to the Civic's. And I was reading an interesting note on the Civic discussion yesterday re the top-end Civic EX: "Where's the trip computer?" "Doesn't have one." "Where's the sunglasses holder?" "Doesn't have one." And so on. Makes me appreciate the Elantra (and Sentra) even more.
  • bamacarbamacar Posts: 749
    It is just embarrassing that the Versa and Sentra with the only 6 speed manuals can only get 34 on the highway for the EPA. The Mazda with more power and just a 5 speed gets 35. The Elantra gets 36, the Civic 38, and the Corolla 41 -all with 5 speeds. Even Camrys, Accords, and Sonatas get about 34 on the highway.

    It appears most Versas can't even get real world mileage above 30 on the highway. Ouch!
  • I still think the Mazda3 sets the standard for looks in the compact car class. Yeah, I'm a bit more used to seeing them now, but I still think they're gorgeous from every angle. Wish I could say the same for the 5-door, since I usually prefer hatches. The Civic I really like from the front, but I don't like the rear of the sedan at *all*. Very awkward-looking taillights.
    I think the new Sentra has a nice interior (and I usually don't like Nissan interiors), but I think I'm going to tire of the exterior quickly. I already don't like the mini-Maxima look since, well, I don't really like the regular Maxima look!
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,934
    I don't think the new Sentra is terrible looking, just not very original. We've seen these shapes before. At least it looks a LOT better than the Versa sedan, at least to my eyes.
  • The Versa sedan has probably the worst rear-end in the whole subcompact game (and I'm not keen on the Yaris either). Yeesh.
  • doohickiedoohickie Posts: 949
    The Civic I really like from the front, but I don't like the rear of the sedan at *all*. Very awkward-looking taillights.

    This is probably out there, but the Civic sedan reminds me of.... a BMW. When I look and see that it's a Civic, the illusion vanishes. But when I see it in a quick glance or out of the corner of my eye, my mind thinks BMW. It's something about the proportions and the way it sits on its wheels, I think.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,934
    I've never thought that of the Civic, but I do when I see the Mazda3.
  • I have no clue how I couldn't have included the Mazda3 in that list considering I looked at one the other day. I consider the Mazda3 as equal or better than the Civic in that compact category.
  • Looking at the new Sentra from the rear quarter, does anyone else see a resemblance to an ION sedan? This is the only angle I notice this from.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,934
    Maybe a little because of the resemblence of the rear quarter windows, but to me it looks more like a 4/5ths scale Altima in back, and a Fusion or Maxima in front. I'm sure the Saturn wasn't Nissan's design target for the Sentra.
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,870
    It resembles a Maxima.
    It resembles an Altima.
    It resembles an Ion.
    It resembles the new 2009 Saturn Astra.

    Every time a new car is introduced, there are a few people who proclaim "it looks just like an xxxxx".
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,934
    Except it's a good bet that the new Sentra intentionally resembles the Altima and Maxima. ;)
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,934
    I got to drive the 2007 Sentra 2.0S 6MT today. It was grey with grey interior, only options were mats and mudguards--$16,555 MSRP including destination.

    The first thing I noticed was how tall the car is--much taller than the old Sentra. That and the angular styling made the car look chunky to me. I know some like that look, but I prefer the swoopier lines of the Elantra. I like the Sentra's look better with a longer wheelbase, as on the Maxima or Altima. The grey paint was about the same color as that of an Elantra SE I saw recently, so it was a good basis for comparison. The paint on the Sentra looked duller than on the Elantra. Also, the Elantra's paint was very smooth, and the Sentra had a pretty bad case of orange peel. Seams looked even, although the gaps were not as narrow as on the best in the class (including the Elantra). As on the Elantra, there were no side moldings, but they are available on the Sentra as an option. The covers on the 16" wheels looked good for plastic covers I thought--much nicer than the covers on the Elantra GLS. The Sentra's trunk is large and well-shaped and finished, and benefits from hydraulic struts that don't take up room in the trunk--and don't endanger fragile cargo. There's an optional convenience package (not on this car) that adds a trunk divider, a hidden storage compartment, a cargo net, and cargo hooks.

    The Sentra's interior is very well executed I think. The good-looking cloth fabric has knubby inserts in the centers of the seats. The fabric is grippy, comfortable, and rich looking. The instrument panel is also well done, at least as nice as that on the Elantra but with a sportier motif vs. the more luxo-look on the Elantra. The center stack is dominated by the audio system, which features a large amber display and has an integrated trip computer. So when you display mpg, for example, the numbers are HUGE on this readout. I didn't mess with the audio system, but the controls looked complicated compared to those in the Elantra. The HVAC knobs are very similar to the Elantra's (maybe even the same supplier??)--three large round knobs below the audio controls, smooth and intuitive. Then the 6-speed stick spouts from a binnacle just below the HVAC controls. Between the front seats, there's a rubberized bin for iPods etc. (there's an aux input jack on the audio face plate), two convenient cupholders (same placement as on the Elantra), and an armrest with a single storage bin (not as good as the softly-padded, dual-level armrest with storage on the Elantra). The door panels are finished better than on the Elantra, with thinly-padded upper portion (but at least they're padded), cloth inserts above the armrests, and a small storage bin (but not bottle holders as on the Elantra). There's also chrome plastic door handles to lend a snazzy touch. One negative is the rather hard arm rests; they're more thickly padded on the Elantra.

    The driver's seat has a single-lever height adjuster, as on the Elantra. However, I couldn't get enough thigh support no matter how I adjusted it. The steering column tilts but doesn't telescope; the reach was comfortable regardless. The wheel itself was plastic (leather is in the convenience package), but it was thick and felt fine in my hands. There's audio controls on the wheel; there was no cruise but it's in the convenience package (do you get the feeling you will really WANT that convenience package? I know I would--especially since you have to get it in order to get ABS). The rear seat had plenty of head room, and knee room when I was sitting behind myself (5'10"). Toe space was very good with the driver's seat raised all the way. I wanted more thigh support (not as good there as on the Elantra), but otherwise the rear was pretty comfy. There's a center armrest with cupholders back there.

    When I started out, the first few shifts caused a "clunking" sound from the shifter--similar to what I heard when I tested a Versa. But after awhile the noises disappeared, so maybe it just needed warm-up (temp was 45 F). The shifter was notchy but otherwise pretty good, with short throws. The clutch wasn't as effortless as, say, a Civic's (or the Elantra's, from test reports I've read), but it wasn't a pain to use. At 70 mph, the engine was turning at 3000 rpm--not bad for a stick, but higher than I'd expect from a 6-speed. Maybe that is why the EPA highway fuel economy is only 34, vs. 36 with the CVT. The engine growled noticeably during acceleration in any gear. Some might not like the noise; I thought it sounded sporty so I could live with it. Engine noise at cruise was minimal up to 70 mph, as fast as I went. Acceleration seemed only adequate. However, because the engine was new and the sales rep was with me, I was very gentle on the throttle. Also, I wanted to see what kind of fuel economy I could get on the 10-mile test loop, which was suburban roads and a short freeway run at 70 mph. I got 27.9 mpg by the trip computer, which I think is pretty good for a short trip in a cold car.

    The Sentra has a firm but not punishing ride. I could feel every imperfection in the road, and cracks in the freeway elicited fairly loud "thrums". These were particularly noticeable because the car otherwise was pretty quiet, with little wind noise. But the chassis is solid, and the suspension soaked up larger bumps on a washboard road quite well. I didn't really get the chance to push the car's handling, but it responded crisply to inputs and tracked straight on the freeway. There were no creaks or groans, and the only squeak was a rather annoying buzz around the driver's B pillar.

    Since I haven't driven the new Elantra yet, I can't say which car I prefer overall. I like the seating positions in the Elantra a little better, and I'd prefer a smoother ride because of the bad roads in my area. The factor that weighs most against the Sentra for me is price. Equipped with ABS (alloys come with the optional ABS on the Sentra), cruise (with the convenience package), mats, and also with fog lamps (standard on the Elantra SE), the Sentra 2.0S lists for $17,945--almost $1600 more than the Elantra SE with mats. For the extra money, you get the trunk organizer features and Bluetooth (plus IntelligentKey on the CVT model), but those aren't worth anywhere close to $1600 to me. Plus the Elantra has a much longer warranty, which is worth something to me. So when all is said and done, the Sentra will have to score significantly better than the Elantra to justify the price difference.
  • I hope I'm not re-posting old news but there's a rather gushingly positive review of the new 07 Sentra here: - 1969

    Has anyone noticed the design similarity between the new Sentra and the new Chrysler Sebring?
  • v_dv_d Posts: 89
    "Has anyone noticed the design similarity between the new Sentra and the new Chrysler Sebring?"

    You have to be kidding me... i dont thing anyone did, and you know why? 'Cause there`s none! Look at the headlights, taillights and body line, it`s just not the same and it doesnt even resemble.

    But yes: as someone before me posted. It looks like an Altima, a Maxima and the Ion, plus the Daewoo Lacetti (if I remember right), BUT still they are not the same. If you want an identical car with the Sentra take a look at the Renault Megane (, look at specs for de 2.0 16V engine, safety features (although the Megane does have ESP - I guess Europeans love life more than we do) and platform.
  • bamacarbamacar Posts: 749
    Elantra came in 4th out of 6; Sentra came in last. Surprises were 1st place to the Rabbit, and the Sentra could not even beat out the "old" Corolla.

    Car and Driver said the Elantra roars on the highway. I will still give it a try, but that is the 2nd review (both with manuals) with that comment. What is strange is the fact that the Elantra was the quietest of all 6 cars at both idle and 70mph cruise. Maybe it is not the noise volume, but the sound of the engine itself.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,934
    I've read other reviews that noted the Elantra is a very quiet and smooth car. What could be happening is that whatever engine noise is there really stands out due to the relative quietness of the car. I experienced this effect when I drove the Sentra the other day. The car is pretty quiet in terms of wind and engine noise, and has a solid chassis. So that made the noise from hitting expansion joints on highways quite noticeable--moreso than if it happened in a noisier car I think.

    Also I think some car reviewers hear what they expect to hear. ;)
  • This is in the December edition of C&D? Haven't received mine yet. A "completely" resdesigned car and the best it could muster was 4th out of 6th? yikes. Who came in second and third?
  • bamacarbamacar Posts: 749
    Just got it yesterday. The second was the Mazda3 and the third was the Civic.
  • Which Elantra trim level was tested?

    What was the CD tested mileage for the Elantra as compared with the Civic/M3/Rabbit/Sentra?

    Anyone know when the CR comparo will be done?

    Somewhere in Hyundai corporate land, execs are praying for high NHTSA and IIHS scores to salvage this car.

    This doesn't bode well for the Elantra. What will happen when the 2008 Corolla and 2008/2009 Saturn Ion/Opel Astra hit the market?

    Hyundai desperately needs to drop the ancient 4-speed AUTO, revise the suspension, drop the 2.4l in, include traction control as standard and make ESC optional and keep the price the same. A few more centimeters of interior space just don't cut it in 2007 when your powerplant and chasis is sub par.
  • bamacarbamacar Posts: 749
    SE. All with manual transmissions. Don't have the mag with me, but it was Corolla/Civic 1st, Elantra 3rd, Mazda 4th, Sentra 5th, Rabbit last. I will revise if I remembered incorrectly.

    All got their city or better rating except the Sentra was slightly worse. Is this a Nissan pattern along with the Versa not even getting the city EPA numbers?
  • In my experience Nissan has never engineered their engines for fuel efficiency.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,934
    Hyundai desperately needs to drop the ancient 4-speed AUTO, revise the suspension, drop the 2.4l in, include traction control as standard and make ESC optional and keep the price the same. A few more centimeters of interior space just don't cut it in 2007 when your powerplant and chasis is sub par.

    Why? You haven't read the review yet, so you don't know why C/D rated the Elantra 4th. The Elantra had a five-speed stick, just like the top-ranked Rabbit (and like almost every other car in the comparo--an exception being the last-place Sentra). It has a fully-independent multi-link rear suspension like the first-place Rabbit. It has more hp per pound than the Rabbit, and more torque (with just 2 fewer hp) than the 3rd-place Civic. The 3rd-place Civic LX doesn't have traction control or ESC either (actually most of the cars in the comparo don't have these features even available let alone standard). So none of these things kept, or should have kept, the Elantra from a higher ranking in the comparo. More likely it was because C/D's editors found the ride and handling to be softer than they prefer.

    If you think Hyundai's execs are "praying", what do you think Nissan's execs are doing? Nissan is a Japan-based company; I can only imagine...
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,870
    Demand will exceed availability during the first year of the new Elantra.

    The only problem facing Hyundai is where to find more capacity for engines and vehicles.

    I completely disagree with you opinion germancarfan1. The market will determine who is correct.
This discussion has been closed.