2012 Nissan Sentra vs. Its Competition

2012 Nissan Sentra 4-door Sedan I4 CVT 2.0 S Angular Front Exterior View
Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson Deputy Editor

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.

2012 Nissan Sentra 4-door Sedan I4 CVT 2.0 S Angular Front Exterior View2012 Nissan SentraBrowse Used Listings2012 Ford Focus2012 Ford FocusBrowse Used Listings2012 Honda Civic Sedan 4-door Auto LX Angular Front Exterior View2012 Honda CivicBrowse Used Listings2012 Hyundai Elantra 4-door Sedan Auto GLS (Alabama Plant) Angular Front Exterior View2012 Hyundai ElantraBrowse Used Listings2012 Mazda MAZDA3 with SkyActiv2012 Mazda MAZDA3Browse Used Listings2011 Toyota Corolla 4-door Sedan Auto S (Natl) Angular Front Exterior View2012 Toyota CorollaBrowse Used Listings
Quick Specs
The 2012 Nissan Sentra no longer looks fresh, but especially in base 2.0 form or SE-R Spec V guise it represents a strong value for the money with a roomy, comfortable interior.
With the 2012 Focus, Ford shows that small cars don't have to feel so banal, with charismatic compacts that are more satisfying to drive, more luxurious, and better-equipped.
The 2012 Honda Civic is a little more spacious, comfortable, and economical, but it's now one of the blandest of the bunch.
The 2012 Hyundai Elantra has officially left the Civic and Corolla in the dust, thanks to a 38-mpg gas mileage rating, a sleek look, and tremendous value for the money.
With its new Skyactive powertrains, the 2012 Mazda3 is the eco-conscious choice that sure doesn't drive like one.
For those who want frugal, trouble-free transportation but have no want of excitement, the 2012 Toyota Corolla fits the bill.
MSRP From     
Gas Mileage     
21 MPG City / 34 MPG Hwy26 MPG City / 38 MPG Hwy22 MPG City / 41 MPG Hwy28 MPG City / 38 MPG Hwy18 MPG City / 40 MPG Hwy26 MPG City / 34 MPG Hwy
Gas I4Gas I4Gas I4Gas I4Gas I4Gas I4
EPA Class     
CompactCompactCompact CarsMidsize carsCompactCompact
Style Name     
4-Door Sedan I4 Manual 2.04-Door Sedan S4-Door Manual DX4-Door Sedan Manual GLS (Ulsan Plant)4-Door Sedan Manual i SV4-Door Sedan Manual L (Natl)
Front Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel Drive
Passenger Capacity     
Passenger Doors     
Body Style     
4 Door Sedan4 Door SedanSedan4 Door Sedan4 Door Sedan4 Door Sedan
Detailed Spec Comparison
 2012 Nissan Sentra vs. 2012 Ford Focus2012 Nissan Sentra vs. 2012 Honda Civic2012 Nissan Sentra vs. 2012 Hyundai Elantra2012 Nissan Sentra vs. 2012 Mazda MAZDA32012 Nissan Sentra vs. 2012 Toyota Corolla