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Comparison: 2021 Nissan Sentra versus 2022 Toyota Corolla Sedan

Find out which of these Japanese-brand compact sedans is the better buy.

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2021 Nissan Sentra 

Starting Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $19,198 CAD

Pros

  • Generous rear passenger space 
  • Roomy trunk
  • Relatively powerful base engine

Cons

  • SR version sporty in looks only
  • Only one powerplant choice
  • No hybrid version

 

2021 Nissan Sentra – Highlights

Like the Toyota Corolla, the 2021 Nissan Sentra is one of Canada's most popular passenger cars. And the latest version offers smart designs inside and out and a refined ride. Even the base $19,198 Sentra S 6MT (all Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Prices are in Canadian dollars) comes with standard gear such as smartphone integration and a comprehensive array of driver assistance features. A 6-speed manual transmission is also standard, while a continually variable automatic transmission (CVT) can be had for as little as $20,898 with the S Plus CVT trim.

All 2021 Sentras are front-wheel-drive (FWD) and powered by a 2.0-litre 4-cylinder gas engine making 149 horsepower. That engine also powers the sporty-ish Sentra SR, either with the manual gearbox ($23,198) or CVT ($24,498). The CVT-only topline $26,598 SR Premium trim adds a 360-degree camera, 8-speaker Bose audio system, simulated leather upholstery, and a 6-way adjustable driver’s seat.

In the big picture, the Sentra engine's 149 horsepower is not a massive amount of muscle, but that's 10 horsepower more than you'll get in the Toyota's base 1.8-litre 4-cylinder. The Nissan's steering is equally agreeable, with a well-judged weight and feel.

Nissan makes a big deal of the 5-passenger Sentra sedan’s Zero Gravity front seats as they are extremely comfortable. Interior space is excellent for rear passengers, and the trunk offers 404.9 litres of cargo space compared to only 371 litres found in the Corolla Sedan.

 

2022 Toyota Corolla Sedan

Starting Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $19,450 CAD

Pros

  • Gas powertrains deliver excellent fuel economy 
  • Loads of front passenger room
  • Available Hybrid version

Cons

  • Weak base engine
  • Tight rear passenger room
  • Relatively small trunk space

 

2021 Toyota Corolla Sedan- Highlights

The latest generation of the Toyota Corolla Sedan is arguably the best iteration yet of the world’s highest-selling nameplate. For 2021, the 5-passenger FWD compact offers a pair of gasoline engines, a gas-electric hybrid model, and even a manual transmission option for driving enthusiasts. Pricing starts with the $19,350 Corolla L 6M, which gets the base 139-horsepower 1.8-litre 4 -cylinder engine and a manual transmission with 6 gears. A CVT is a $1,700 option. The 169-horsepower 2.0-litre engine is available on the $22,690 SE 6M trim, with the CVT adding $1,000. The fuel-sipping Hybrid is available in one trim only, starting at $25,190.

Comfortable and spacious for a compact sedan, the 2022 Corolla Sedan’s interior offers an overall user-friendliness—from the infotainment system right down to the seat adjusters. Cabin materials are all pleasant, especially in the higher trims. And it’s easy enough to attain a comfortable driving position. Front passengers are treated to plenty of space.

Perfectly acceptable. That’s how the Corolla rides. Favouring comfort, but with an undercurrent of control that becomes more perceptible when the driver decides to work the car harder than usual. The 1.8-litre gas engine is suitable for commuting and running errands, but it’s marginally more entertaining than a houseplant. The 2.0-litre engine (powering the SE and $28,950 XSE trims) is more enthusiastic.

Where the Toyota shines is at the pumps. Except for the 2.0L/6M combo’s 7.4 litres per 100 kilometres combined city a highway rating, the Corolla Sedan sips less fuel than the Sentra across its range of trims, led by the Hybrid’s outstanding 4.5 L/100 km estimate.

 

Final Recommendation

Both the Nissan Sentra and Toyota Corolla Sedan illustrate why Canadians still love compact cars. Features that would costs thousands of dollars more as options on more popular SUVs and trucks come standard while still offering enough room and performance to make for comfortable daily drivers.

The 2021 Nissan Sentra's strengths lay with its accommodating rear passenger space, a large trunk and relatively more powerful base engine.

However, we think the 2022 Toyota Corolla Sedan with more room for front passengers and excellent fuel economy ratings—highlighted by the exclusive Hybrid version—is the better overall choice.
 

Specs

2021 Nissan Sentra

2022 Toyota Corolla Sedan

Engine(s)

2.0-litre I4
 

1.8-litre I4
2.0-litre I4

Hybrid – 1.8-litre I4 + Electric motors

Horsepower

149 hp @ 6,000 rpm
 

1.8 - 139 hp @ 6,100 rpm

2.0 - 169 hp @ 6,600 rpm

Hybrid – 121 hp

Torque

146 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm

1.8 - 126 lb-ft @ 3,900 rpm

2.0 – 151 lb-ft @ 4,400 rpm

Hybrid – N/A

Transmission(s)

6-speed manual

Continuously variable automatic

6-speed manual

Continuously variable automatic

Drivetrain

Front-wheel-drive

Front-wheel-drive

Fuel Economy

6M -  8.0 L/100 km (9.3 city, 6.3 hwy)
CVT -  7.1 L/100 km (8.0 city, 6.0 hwy)

SR 6M -  7.3 L/100 km (8.2 city, 6.2 hwy)
SR CVT -  8.1 L/100 km (9.4 city, 6.5 hwy)


 

1.8/6M  - 7.1 L/100 km (8.0 city, 6.0 hwy)

1.8/CVT  -  7.1 L/100 km (7.9 city, 6.1 hwy)

2.0/6M  -  7.4 L/100 km (8.2 city, 6.5 hwy)

2.0/CVT  - 7.0 L/100 km (7.7 city, 6.1 hwy)

Hybrid – 4.5 L/100 km (4.4 city, 4.5 hwy)

Warranty

3 years/60,000 km

3 years/60,000 km

Max Seating Capacity

5

5

Wheelbase

2,711.5 mm

2,700 mm

Overall Length

4,640 mm

4,630 mm

Width

1,816 mm

1,780 mm

Height

1,448 mm

1,435 mm

Curb Weight

1,349-1,411 kg

1,314 kg

Headroom, Front

998.1 mm

973 mm

Headroom, Rear

933.1 mm

942 mm

Legroom, Front

1,116.5 mm

1,074 mm

Legroom, Rear

882.5mm

884 mm

Shoulder Room, Front

1,431.5 mm

1,372 mm

Shoulder Room, Rear

1.385.1 mm

1,313 mm

Cargo Volume

404.9 L

371 L

 

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