The Nissan Sentra is now one of the more dated entries in the compact class, as over the past several years most of its rivals have been refreshed or redesigned.
The 2012 Sentra lands in a middle ground and is a little sportier in driving feel and design than purely practical models like the Toyota Corolla yet not nearly as sporty or fun to drive (at least in base form) as the Mazda3.
The Honda Civic is one of the top alternatives, and for 2012 the Civic has received a redesign; while the Civic gets a little more comfort and refinement for 2012, it fails to wow with respect to design or driving attributes.
The Elantra is the reigning head of the class with respect to value and those practical attributes; it's also the top value for the money in its most popular guises.
Those interesting in a nimble driving feel and great handling will want to go for the 2012 Ford Focus or Mazda3, and the Focus has some big-car options such as MyFord Touch and an active parking system.
The MazdaSpeed3 is also one of the top rivals for the SE-R Spec V; compared to the Spec V the Mazda is a little more unruly and feels more like a tuner car, yet it's also more outright fun to drive.
The Honda Civic Si would be the other top rival for the Spec V, more closely matching its demeanor.
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|21 MPG City / 34 MPG Hwy||26 MPG City / 38 MPG Hwy||22 MPG City / 41 MPG Hwy||28 MPG City / 38 MPG Hwy||18 MPG City / 40 MPG Hwy||26 MPG City / 34 MPG Hwy|
|Gas I4||Gas I4||Gas I4||Gas I4||Gas I4||Gas I4|
|Compact||Compact||Compact Cars||Midsize cars||Compact||Compact|
|4dr Sedan I4 Manual 2.0||4dr Sedan S||4dr Man DX||4dr Sedan Man GLS (Alabama Plant)||4dr Sedan Man i SV||4dr Sedan Man L (Natl)|
|Front Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive|
|4 Door Sedan||4 Door Sedan||Sedan||4 Door Sedan||4 Door Sedan||4 Door Sedan|