Greene Ford Compares 2008 Ford Focus VS 2008 Nissan Sentra Near Cleveland, GA

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2008 Ford Focus

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2008 Nissan Sentra

Safety Comparison

To prevent wheelspin and loss of control under poor traction conditions, full range traction control is optional on the Ford Focus. The Nissan Sentra doesn’t offer traction control.

Both the Focus and the Sentra have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts and available four wheel antilock brakes.

Warranty Comparison

The Focus comes with free roadside assistance for 5 years 60,000 miles. Ford will send help if you run out of gas, need a jump start, lock your keys in or need any assistance on the road. Nissan doesn’t give free roadside assistance for the Sentra.

There are almost 4 times as many Ford dealers as there are Nissan dealers, which makes it much easier to get service under the Focus’ warranty.

Engine Comparison

As tested in Car and Driver the Ford Focus is faster than the Nissan Sentra (manual transmissions tested):



Zero to 60 MPH

8 sec

8.3 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

24.2 sec

26.1 sec

Quarter Mile

16.4 sec

16.5 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

85 MPH

84 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

On the EPA test cycle the Focus Manual gets better fuel mileage than the Sentra Manual (24 city/35 hwy vs. 24 city/31 hwy).

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

The Focus with optional antilock brakes stops much shorter than the Sentra with antilock brakes:



70 to 0 MPH

190 feet

199 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

137 feet

149 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

147 feet

164 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels Comparison

The Focus’ optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) which provides a stiffer sidewall than the Sentra 2.0 S/2.0 SL’s 55 series tires.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

For superior ride and handling, the Ford Focus 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 Nissan Sentra has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.

The Focus has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Sentra’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

The Focus’ front to rear weight distribution is more even (59.4% to 40.6%) than the Sentra’s (60.9% to 39.1%). This gives the Focus more stable handling and braking.

The Focus SE Sedan handles at .78 G’s, while the Sentra 2.0 SL pulls only .71 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the Focus’ turning circle is 1.2 feet tighter than the Sentra’s (34.2 feet vs. 35.4 feet).

Chassis Comparison

The Ford Focus may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 300 to 350 pounds less than the Nissan Sentra.

The Focus is 4.8 inches shorter than the Sentra, making the Focus easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The design of the Ford Focus amounts to more than styling. The Focus has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .32 Cd. That is lower than the Sentra (.35). A more efficient exterior helps the Focus go faster and keeps the interior quieter. It also helps the Focus get better fuel mileage.

As tested by Car and Driver while under full throttle, the interior of the Focus SE Sedan is quieter than the Sentra 2.0 S (74 vs. 75 dB).

Passenger Space Comparison

The Focus Sedan has 1 inch more rear headroom and 1.6 inches more rear legroom than the Sentra.

Ergonomics Comparison

The Focus (except S) offers a 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 Sentra doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

The engine computer on the Focus automatically engages the starter until the car starts with one twist of the key and disables the starter while the engine is running. The Sentra’s starter can be accidentally engaged while the engine is running, making a grinding noise and possibly damaging the starter and ring gear.

The Focus’ available outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. The Sentra doesn’t offer heated side mirrors.

The Focus’ 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 Sentra doesn’t offer the luxury of an automatic dimming rear view mirror.

The Focus SE/SES’ optional heated front seats keep the driver and front passenger extremely comfortable in the winter. The Sentra doesn’t offer heated seats.

Economic Advantages Comparison

Insurance will cost less for the Focus owner. The Car Book rates the Focus with a number 3 insurance rate while the Sentra is rated higher at a number 5 rate.

The Focus is less expensive to operate than the Sentra because of its lower insurance rate. Typical repairs cost less on the Focus than the Sentra, including $97 less for an alternator, $91 less for a starter, $72 less for fuel injection, $116 less for a fuel pump, $52 less for front struts and $162 less for a timing belt/chain.

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