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2011 Nissan Sentra Safety

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The 2011 Nissan Sentra isn't particularly strong with respect to safety—mainly because of some unimpressive safety ratings from the federal government.

The Sentra gets top "good" ratings in frontal offset and side tests from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), and 'acceptable' ratings in the IIHS seat-based rear-impact test. Ratings from the federal government, though the new, tougher NHTSA test program, haven't been so positive, though: The agency gave the 2011 Sentra just three stars for frontal and side impact, and four stars overall.

On the other hand, the Sentra did have one very positive indicator: It achieved a top five-star rating in the new NHTSA Side Pole test—that's replicating a sideways crash against a tree or utility pole.

Nissan has upgraded the Sentra's safety equipment for 2011, but some of its crash-test ratings are mediocre.

Side and side-curtain airbags are standard, as are active head restraints. In past years, Nissan has been a step behind some other automakers in safety features, but for 2011, a year before it's required by the federal government, the automaker has made electronic stability control standard on all Sentra models, along with anti-lock brakes. Side and side-curtain bags remain standard as well.

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