Toyota Corolla vs. Nissan Sentra

By

Automotive Editor

Justin Cupler has specialized as an automotive writer since 2009 and has been published in multiple websites and online magazines. In addition to contributing to CarsDirect, Justin also hosts a web-series car-review show and dabbles in the world of personal-finance writing.

His specialty is in the high-performance realm, but he has a deep love and understanding for all things automotive. Before diving into the world of writing, Justin was an automotive technician and manager for six years and spent the majority of his younger life tinkering with classic muscle cars.

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, Automotive Editor - March 13, 2020

The compact sedan class has seen a lot of change recently, as two leaders went through big redesigns. In 2020, both the Toyota Corolla and Nissan Sentra went through huge updates after remaining stagnant for many years.

Which of these redesigned sedans is best for you? Find out here.

See a side-by-side comparison of the Corolla & Sentra »

What the Corolla Gets Right

Along with its new looks comes a new optional engine in the Corolla, a 169-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder that powers the SE and XSE trims. Buyers can also pair this to a rev-matching six-speed manual transmission. The Sentra, for now, has no option on the sportier side of the spectrum. The Corolla also has the option of a hybrid powertrain that delivers up to 52 miles per gallon combined, according to the EPA.

In its rear seat, the Corolla offers 34.8 inches of leg room and 37.1 inches of head room. Neither number is overly adult-friendly, but they beat the Sentra by 0.1 inches and 0.4 inches, respectively.

The Corolla has also been through the full range of IIHS safety tests and earned Top Safety Pick status in the process. While the Sentra boasts all the same advanced safety tech as the Corolla, the IIHS has yet to test it.

The Corolla is well-equipped for its class, even in its base L trim. It comes standard with desirable goodies like LED headlights, a tilt-and-telescoping steering column, a 7-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth connectivity, Apple CarPlay, and more. The Sentra matches much of this, but it lacks standard smartphone integration and the LED headlights.

What the Sentra Gets Right

The Nissan Sentra boasts a sleek new look that feels more put together and upscale next to the Corolla. Plus, when you move into the higher trims, the available quilted-leather seats are a nice touch not seen on many compact sedans.

Buyers who enjoy weekend road trips will find the Sentra’s trunk roomier at 14.3 cubic feet. That’s an extra 1.2 cubes compared to the Corolla.

The Sentra’s standard 149-hp four-cylinder engine delivers 10 more hp than the base Corolla. This gap could grow if Nissan chooses to release a new turbocharged Sentra, as it did in the previous generation.

Finally, inside, the Nissan Sentra offers optional Android Auto, which the Corolla doesn’t. We expect this to change starting in 2021, as Toyota will finally play nice with Google products. In 2020, though, it remains an advantage for the Nissan.

Demand a Classier Look? Go Nissan

The Nissan Sentra can’t quite hang with the Toyota Corolla, but it's far from a lost cause. Buyers who think the Corolla is a little too bold may prefer the more toned-down and sleek styling of the Sentra. Also, buyers seeking something more luxurious can opt for posh-looking quilted leather in the Sentra.

Our Verdict: Toyota Corolla

With a wider range of powertrain options and more features at roughly the same price, the Toyota Corolla pulls off a win against the Nissan Sentra in this comparison.

Take a closer look at the Toyota Corolla »

Take a closer look at the Nissan Sentra »

Side-by-side comparison of features, pricing, photos and more!

, Automotive Editor

Justin Cupler has specialized as an automotive writer since 2009 and has been published in multiple websites and online magazines. In addition to contributing to CarsDirect, Justin also hosts a web-series car-review show and dabbles in the world of personal-finance writing.

His specialty is in the high-performance realm, but he has a deep love and understanding for all things automotive. Before diving into the world of writing, Justin was an automotive technician and manager for six years and spent the majority of his younger life tinkering with classic muscle cars.

Follow On: Twitter

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