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Nissan Sentra vs Honda Civic

samnassamnas Posts: 5
edited April 13 in Honda
Hi everyone. I plan to buy my first car and after surfing the internet for days making researches, these are the main 2 cars that interest me: Honda Civic and Nissan Sentra.

I based these choices on the look of the car through pictures, on the fact that these brands are respected and on the price range.

What would you suggest between these 2 cars? Obviously at the end of the day, I'll have to test drive them, however I'm also interested to know the opinion of others based on reliability, quality of the car, and basically which one is the best.

What is the advantage and disadvantage of each? To me, they seem very similar in terms of a look and in terms of reputation, I don't know what I would pick. Are they both GREAT cars?

Please help!!! lol

P.S: I'm not sure if I'll buy a new car 2005/2006, or a used one from around 2002-2003, but I don't think it matters that much in terms of comparing these 2 cars.

Also, how would other similar cars like Toyota Corolla and Mazda 3 compare? it's really hard for me, it's basically a fight between these 4 cars:

Nissan Sentra
Honda Civic
Toyota Corolla
Mazda 3

How would rank them as a top 4 from best to worst? Any other similar car in the same price range that I should consider?

Thanks for any help!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    Mazda 3
    Toyota Corolla
    Honda Civic
    Nissan Sentra

    BUT... theres a new Civic debuting this fall, that looks to be a leader in safety features, though it wont be discounted too much. Additionally, there should be a few changes, but not a total redesign for the Corolla this fall. The Sentra is hopelessly outdated, having debuted in 2000. Skip it (even though I love mine, it is a version that is no longer available, and the car hasnt changed much since I got it in Jan 2003). So for right now, the Corolla is the choice if you value ride, efficiency, reliability, safety (with side curtain airbags). The Mazda is the choice that I would make, for its great handling, strong engines, and expressive styling.

    Good luck!!!

  • maxamillion1maxamillion1 Posts: 1,467
    The Mazda3, espeically the Mazda3 i, is probably about the best small car in this class.

    The Corolla is a good car to. As a matter of fact, a couple year ago, I drove an rental 03 Corolla LE to Orlando, Fl. I was so impressed with the car that I seriously considered getting one.

    That was before the debut of the Mazda3 though.

    All the cars on the list are pretty good cars. As Alpha stated the Civic is all new in less than two months.

    But the Mazda3 will be adding some new trim levels for 06 as well and top of the line models will get single-zone automatic climate control.

    I have no idea what's in store for the 06 Corolla, and then Sentra will get very FEW changes for 06 with its redesign hitting showrooms sometime early next year (LONG overdue)

    Happy Motoring Days my Friend.
  • Well You said Civic vs Sentra

    I would go with the Sentra SE-R.

    It is Beatiful. The car has 180 HP. The civic, well Its ok but for me, it would be a Sentra SE-R. I own a Sentra 2002 GXE and its GREAT! Its only had one problem, The service Engine soon light poped on, but its a common problem. I consider it a Glitch, but I just took it to the dealer and they fixed it. As for the other two cars, this is what i would rate it.

    Mazda 3 :D
    Sentra :)
    Civic ;)
    Corolla :confuse:

    Sentra 100%
  • I agree the Sentra is the better option. I was looking at the Civic, the Corolla, and the Sentra. They were all in the 17-19k range. With Nissan having the $2500.00 rebate, I got a fully loaded 1.8S sentra in the color I wanted, automatic for $13,500. The Honda/Toyota dealers weren't willing to deal at all, and Nissan gave me by far the best deal. I know it will go forever just like the Civic, and Toyota too.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    I'd want to wait on the new for 07 Sentra. The current one is REALLY dated, part of why the rebates are Chevy worthy right now. The Civic, in my opinion, is hands down the better car than the Sentra or Corolla, with the Mazda 3 being the closest contender.

    From Civic or 3, it is a matter of preference, I believe, in either economy(honda) or sportiness (mazda).

    I think I'd drive an Elantra before a Sentra; after all, they are just as "old", and have a better warranty.
  • I would agree with razalon above.

    I just picked up a rental 2005 Sentra today to drive while my KIA Spectra EX is in the body shop. It's front bumper fascia was scraped by a nimrod (NO... not me! ;-) in a parking lot.

    First the good news....

    I found the Sentra to be a decent running car that appeared to like to rev high before shifts. The car was pretty rattle and squeak free for 35k rental miles too.

    Other than that though.... I wouldn't trade my new design Spectra for one of these in a million years. The interior is so uncomfortable and ergonomically wrong when compared to the new KIA that it would take several paragraphs to describe the shortfalls of the Sentra.

    The Sentra also lacks sooooo many of the little standard touches that are standard on the Spectra.

    So.... before you flame me, I'm not saying the Sentra is a bad automobile. BUT I do agree with the poster above that it is readily apparent that this baby's ready for an overhaul! I'm sure the next one will be right in the thick of things competitively.

  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    I'm sure the next one will be right back in the thick of things competitively.

    Well, they are releasing their new for 2007 Sentra in an odd fashion: with less power than most of its competitors. I thought Nissan was all about driving excitement in the engine room...The 5 year old Elantra has more ponies (138?) than the 2007 Sentra (135)? This seems wierd coming from Nissan. Also, Civic (140hp), Mazda 3 (148-160hp), Focus (151hp), Cobalt (145hp). The Corolla and Suzuki Forenza have less (126 hp).

    Just a thought, here, folks. I realize the difference is small, but Nissan has been class leading in power for so long, I was surprised to see 135 hp instead of 155 or even something closer to 170. If an SE-R model is available, I expect to see it around the 200 hp of the Civic Si and Cobalt SS.
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    The actual number means nothing. Who cares? Look at the acceleration times and fuel efficiency to tell the whole story- a 5M Corolla will soundly trounce a 5M Forenza with the same HP rating.

    Also, which of the quoted figures are SAE certified and which are not? Toyota and Honda are both definitely SAE certified, as will be the 07 Sentra. But the Focus, 3, and Cobalt.... I do not know, as Ford and GM said they would only re-rate according to the new, certified methodology upon model or engine changes.

  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    You are very right about the numbers not meaning much, and I'm sorry that I came across like that; it wasn't my intention. I'm not trying to "bash" the Sentra in any way, but I was a little surprised that Nissan, the first company with a 5-speed manual, 240 hp family sedan for $23k wasn't offering a car closer in performance to the Mazda 3.

    As far as re-rating goes, GM and Ford have not seen much change to the engines that have been re-rated, as the Japanese makes are taking more of a hit in listed power numbers. I'd bet that the focus is still going to be in the 150 range, being the same engine that adequately powers the Fusion/6 (It's the 2.3L I-4, just massaged slightly).

    I have read that the Forenza was painfully slow, belying its hp ratings (something like 11.X seconds to 60).
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    My point is that you dont know for certain "......that Nissan, the first company with a 5-speed manual, 240 hp family sedan for $23k wasn't offering a car closer in performance to the Mazda 3."

    How do you know that the new 2.0L 6M Sentra wont keep pace with the 2.0L 5M Mazda3i? The Sentra SE-R will be around again to compete with the Mazda3s....
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    25 horsepower would likely show a marked difference, but I don't know how (or if) the numbers from Mazda will have a big adjustment per SAE regulations. Since noone has driven a 2007 Sentra, we will have to wait and see!

    BTW, any torque figures for the 07 Sentra floating around? If more than 145lb-ft, they will be in fine shape. If in the 120lb-ft and under, they may get lost in the crowd.
  • No thank you NO Spectra or Sentra for me. I take a 2.0L 6M Civic Si
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    We can't reply to your post because the pic is too wide. Perhaps you can resize it? Thank you for your efforts, though, spectraman. I've seen the front of this car at The site is updated daily with the latest new car gossip. It is often correct and timely, although it occasionally has some "wonky" info. You can check it out if you like! It's where I got the 135 hp figure.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    As mentioned, the picture you posted was so wide that it badly distorted the page, so I had to remove it.

    Feel free to post links to wide pictures, but please make sure that any picture you want to actually display in your post is no wider than about 500 pixels - thanks!
  • ctalkctalk Posts: 646
    The Sentra is already on their site.

    Click here
  • tthotatthota Posts: 45
    The 06 Civic has 140HP@6300RPM, sounds more powerful than the 07 Sentra with 135HP. However, the Civic's torque is 128@4300, that is, you have to floor the pedal, downshift, and hear the engine hauling every time on a freeway entrance ramp to stay away from trucks, I know that from my Accord. My 06 Sentra has 129@2400 torque, similar to the VW Golf (122@2600) and much better than all JPN, KRN and US compact cars. I never had to floor the pedal, unless the car is already on overdrive and needs to downshift. It feels much better, compared to my 97 Accord SE. I hope the 07 Sentra keeps the max torque at low RPM feature. Of course, we are not talking about sporty performance.
  • tthotatthota Posts: 45

    97 Civic_ EX 1.6: 127@6600, 107$5500, 2518
    97 Accord SE 2.2: 130@5300, 139@4200, 2900
    06 Civic_ EX 1.8: 140@6300, 128@4300, 2740
    06 Snetra 1.8sSE: 126@6000, 129@2400, 2580

    The 06 Civic actually delivers less HP than the 97 Accord in practical dirving. After all, who drives at 6300RPM?

    At 4200RPM, the Accord has higher torque than the Civic. Considering the weight difference, the two Hondas are about the same. I would geuss that they have much lower torque at below 3000RPM compared to the Sentra. The torque-RPM curve cannot stay almost constant between 2500 to 4300. It depends on the gear box design. Here you see the Nissan technology. They made a 1.8 liter engine behave like a 6 cylinder.

    Today's Civic is indeed as good as a 97 Accord. 97 Civic was in a different class.
  • tthotatthota Posts: 45
    Kia Spectra:

    2.0 liter engine
    25mpg in city, 34 highway.

    Sentra: 28-34mpg
    Civic: 30-40mpg

    Again, the Civic is gas friendly because it keeps drivers away from acceleration. The Sentra takes order from the driver. I can make my Sentra go at 33mpg average by intentionally pushing the gas pedal lighter.
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    The numbers you present are not truly comparable because some of those figures are SAE certified, others are not. Judging from the downratings of the other automakers, the Sentra 1.8S is probably making a bit less than 126 horses and 129 foot pounds.

    The Sentra 1.8 engine, coupled to either the current 4A or 5M, is not anywhere near the top of the class in refinement or efficiency. I have much higher hopes for the 2.0L and 6M/CVT combos.

  • tthotatthota Posts: 45
    Do you mean that the Sentra numbers are not SAE certified? Do you have any numbers for sure?

    Even if the Sentra numbers are reduced by 10%, it is still peppier at 2000-3000 RPM. The 05 Civic had 114lb-ft@4800, there are many user review complaints about its performance. The 06 Civic (new model) is indeed more powerful now. However, Civic also lowered the city gas mileage from 32mpg to 30. I just suspect the Civic engine is not strong enough to deliver higher torque at low RPM range.

    I never drove a Civic, but I have had an Accord for 8.5 years. The 06 Sentra is indeed faster, if I compare them without using 4000RPM. A friend of mine has a 03 Sentra, he drove my Accord once and also said his Sentra performs better. And, by the way, my Accord is in perfect condition, like new.

    Besides, if a 06 Civic is equipped like a 06 Sentra 1.8s Special Edition, it is at least $5000 more expensive (Edmunds TMV pricing). That is after adding the ABS + side air bags package to the Sentra.
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