Sentra is still smaller, but only by a little, you can tell when you sit in the back seat.
Interior is MUCH cheaper. I went and looked at a V-spec and it felt like a $10K car (of course the price was $16.5K so you cant ask for much). You'll notice the stereo in the V-spec is the same head unit used in the GXE, CHEAP, even with the upgrade.
I think the sentra weighs around the altima weight (give or take 100 pounds and depending on options of course).
Sentra DOES NOT have full independent suspension solid link in the back on the sentra.
Sentra's HP for the V-spec is obviously higher, and the amount of options you can get on a sentra is less than the first gen altima (first gen 93-94 you could get stuff like HUD and climate control). On the GXE you get a 1.8 if i remember correctly. If you would compair a sentra to a first gen altima it would be close drive train wise to the 2.0 sentra that they dont make anymore when it comes to HP/weight setup.
Overall, i would rather buy a used 97 altima with 50K on it than a new sentra though.
I dont know, sure the V-Spec was fast (really fast) and would school my altima any day. But people who spend more time driving their car commuting rather than street racing would find the interior of a first gen altima much more comfortable both in size and quailty. That and i dont get why they didnt use independent suspension on the sentra. But for $16.5K for a new v-spec, the price is really good for what you get for a street racing car.
In 97 when I bought my Stratus I didnt go with the altima cause they wanted 16,000+ and that didnt even include a stereo or ac. It was 4 doors and a heater. drove that Dodge for almost 6 years and 100,000 till I got my 2003 alty. I dindnt think the 1997 alty was all that.
^ yes an SE-R IS faster than an Altima, but a stock sentra GXE or something is not as fast. A stock altima 5spd. runs what, mid 16's, with a pretty good driver. Stock sentra gxe, runs like high 16s with a good driver.
Dimension-wise (at least on the outside) they're pretty close. Haven't sat in the backseat though. Don't see what's so much worse about the interior in the Sentra than that of the Alti either. My girlfriend's got the Spec-V (yeah, I talked her into it) 6 speed and it's quick (not screaming fast, just quick).