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Nissan Sentra vs Honda Civic

samnassamnas Posts: 5
edited April 2014 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 The Sentra is hopelessly outdated, having debuted in 2000.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 [email protected], sounds more powerful than the 07 Sentra with 135HP. However, the Civic's torque is [email protected], 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 [email protected] torque, similar to the VW Golf ([email protected]) 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: [email protected], 107$5500, 2518
    97 Accord SE 2.2: [email protected], [email protected], 2900
    06 Civic_ EX 1.8: [email protected], [email protected], 2740
    06 Snetra 1.8sSE: [email protected], [email protected]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
    [email protected]
    [email protected]4500RPM
    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 [email protected], 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.
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    Sorry, but the current Sentra is majorly outclassed in ride, handling, efficiency, space, power, and safety by the new Civic. Is it worth $5k more than the Civic? Maybe not to you, but most certainly to me (especially where resale is considered). And I own a 2003 Sentra (though its the 2.5L model).

    Also, comparing the 2006 Sentra to an Accord that is from what? Model year 1997 is hardly a relevant comparison.

    No, the Sentra's HP ratings are not SAE certified. There are no SAE certified figures available, so a direct comparison is to the new Civic's 140 horses and 128 foot pounds is tough.

  • tthotatthota Posts: 45
    I'm only talking about low RPM acceleration. When I need to merge into freeway traffic and accelerate from 50mph to 70mph in a few seconds, I hate to floor the gas pedal, downshift the automatic transmition and send the engine to 4000RPM. In the 1.8 liter Sentra, I never needed to do it. In the 2.2 liter Accord, I have to do it most of the times. Based on the spec numbers for the new Civic, I guess it is not better than the 97 Accord in this aspect. Having 140HP at 6300RPM means nothing.

    A fair comparison could be 05 Sentra 1.8 (not 2.5) with 05 Civic, their torques are [email protected] vs. [email protected] By how much can a SAE correction change this ratio?

    One bad thing about the 07 Sentra: no side molding at all.
    I had a look of the Nissan webpage. The good news is that they say the 07 Sentra can deliver 90% of its 140lb-ft max torque at 2400RPM. And the safety stuff are standard. And the start price is around 15K.

    With the 19.3K to buy a 06 Civid EX AT sedan without option, I would rather buy a 06 Subaru Outback Sport Special Edition. It is better loaded, a lot more of a car, and I can save a few bucks.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Why do you keep referring to old cars? We aren't comparing the 1997 Accord and the Sentra, but I gladly will with you OUTSIDE of this forum. I drive a 1996 Accord LX to school (157,000 miles on it now)and can chat with you about it all day long.
  • tthotatthota Posts: 45
    I'm concerned about acceleration at low RPM. You are not replying on this issue at all.
  • warnerwarner Posts: 196
    I'm only talking about low RPM acceleration. When I need to merge into freeway traffic and accelerate from 50mph to 70mph in a few seconds, I hate to floor the gas pedal, downshift the automatic transmition and send the engine to 4000RPM.

    Why the adversity to RPM's? There's nothing wrong with using an engine within it's design limitations. The Civic engine is smooth as silk at 4,000 and above...all the way up to it's almost 7,000 rpm redline. What's wrong with some rpm's? Did you ever ride a motorcycle? You'd probably hate that experience if you don't like rpm's.

  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    And I'm concerned that you are going off didn't reply to that. As far as low end, my LX Accord has 139 lb-ft of torque. The Sentra is estimated at 140lb-ft.
  • tthotatthota Posts: 45
    So now you agree with me. With Civics you use high RPM.
    I do not like it, nor the downshift to get there. I like 6 cylinder cars just because of this. The Sentra is the only non-German compact 4 cylinder car which has good low RPM acceleration. This is what I have found so far, based on published specs. If you know some mechanics, you know this is hard to achieve. Driving a car to work everyday at age 50, I do not seek the motercycle excitement. I actually feel annoyed by the noises made by the other "sporty" cars, sometimes. You have to understand that different people look for different features on their cars. The number of drivers who hate having to use high RPM is not negligible. A lot of people do not know the importance of the location of max hoese power and max torque yet. The old specs from 10 years ago only gave the maxima. Now every specification of a new car is mandated to reveal the max HP and max torque together with the RPM numbers where the maxima appear. That is not for no reason. In fact, I would like to see the entire [email protected] and [email protected] curves for these cars. Without those, some car makers can still fool comsumers with cheaply designed engines, even dependable but cheap ones.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Without those, some car makers can still fool comsumers with cheaply designed engines, even dependable but cheap ones.

    Yes, as Ford has done with its Escape (200 hp). Despite having 44 less horsepower, the Honda engine has more power across the entire rev range, so its spanks the Escape in acceleration measures.
  • tthotatthota Posts: 45
    The Accord, yours or mine, has [email protected]4200RPM. The 07 Sentra is claimed to have about [email protected]2400. (see Nissan webpage about the car, where they say "90% of max torque at 2400RPM".) The key is that a lot of drivers hate to send the engine to 4000+ RPM by downshifting the auto. trans., feeling dragged backward without warning. It takes a stronger engine to be capable to deliver high torque at low RPM. Other than the German cars, such as the VW Golf or Audi A3, only the Sentra is designed so. For cars with 2.5 liter or larger engines, it is OK to have the max torque (>180) appear at 4000, because even a linear interpolation implies >135 torque at below 3000RPM, while the weight of the car usually does not increase by 30%. (e.g. the Sentra 2.5 or the Impreza 2.5.) Like in a 6 cylinder car, there is no downshift necessary on a ramp.

    With the Sentra, you can accelerate by push gas pedel slightly harder and make the RPM increase continuously. With a car having max torque [email protected], when you push the gas pedal a little bit harder, the car does not take your order to accelerate. Then you have to floor the pedal, the tahometer needle will jump to 4000, while you feel the dragging for a second, hear the engine hauling. I just hate it when that happens.

    I hope I make my opinion clear. You may disagree with me.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    You may disagree with me.

    Thank you, and I do respectfully (on part of it anyway). Your facts are fine, and I don't find fault with anything you said; it's just subjective to each person. I drive in traffic everyday, and go between my 06 Accord with 160lb-ft and my 96 Accord with 139 lb-ft. Honestly, I can't tell much difference below 3k RPM in around town acceleration. Above 3k RPM though, boy, that 06 takes off. I hit the gas hard today when merging (short on-ramp), and I took off faster than I ever could've with my 96, and I wasn't flooring it. This is more to do with horspeower (high-end) than torque, yes I realize that.

    If you are used to the engine characteristics of a V-6, I'm surprised you find a small 4-cylinder doable (Honda OR Nissan).

    What I like about Honda's, is that there is natural progression of power increase...the higher the rpm, the more power available. Some cars run out of steam before redline, and that scares me for this reason...

    If I'm getting out of the way of a truck bearing down on me dangerously, I'm gonna floor it if I can't get out of the lane(and likely, you are too). Flooring it is going to put me higher in the rev range, and in a Honda, that is where my power is going to be. My 2006 Accord makes its peak hp at 5750rpm (I think, 750 from redline). Our Odyssey made its peak hp closer to 5,000 rpm, which made it feel like it went soft when right at redline (of the few times it had to go there). I didn't like that.

    Agreed to disagree tthota.
This discussion has been closed.