Nissan Sentra vs Toyota Corolla: Can Nissan Catch Up?

In the battle between competing Japanese sedans, which brand will win out? The Nissan Sentra and Toyota Corolla are both top-selling sedans in the US, celebrated for their reliability, their pleasing looks, fuel efficiency, and more. How do these top-selling sedans compare to one another when you put them side by side?

Quick Summary

The Nissan Sentra and Toyota Corolla are fairly evenly matched compact sedans. The Nissan Sentra offers more room for cargo and costs slightly less. However, the Toyota Corolla is slightly more economical and offers complimentary maintenance for 2 years. It is also available in hybrid and hatchback forms, whereas the Sentra is only available as a bog-standard gasoline sedan.


The starting price is quite close, but the Nissan Sentra is the cheaper of the two models with a starting MSRP of $19,510. It’s available in 4 different trims, namely the Sentra S (from $19,510), SV (from $20,570), SR (from $22,100) and the SR Midnight Edition (from $22,795).

The Toyota Corolla base model starts at a higher $20,075 and there are a lot of trims on offer – 9 in total. That number includes a hybrid version, the Toyota Corolla Hybrid LE. The others are the Toyota Corolla L, LE, SE, SE Nightshade Edition, SE Apex Edition, XLE, XSE, and the XSE Apex Edition. The base-level LE starts at $20,075, the Hybrid LE at $23,650, and the top-end XSE Apex Edition at $28,360.

Nissan Sentra sedan rear view
Toyota Corolla sedan rear 3/4 view


While the Toyota Corolla looks more compact in images, it is in fact about the same length and width as the Nissan Sentra. The front-end design on the Nissan Sentra is more aggressive and pronounced than that of the Toyota Corolla, which employs a sleeker, sportier, and more futuristic design. Both models feature a slight droop at the nose and fairly large front grilles, but the Sentra’s is oriented higher in place than the Corolla grille.

Toyota is a bit more generous when it comes to color options, allowing you to choose up to 16 colors for your Corolla, whereas the Nissan Sentra comes with a still-impressive 12 options. The Toyota Corolla also adds a rather nifty rear spoiler to the rear-end, which adds to the athleticism of the design.

Interior Styling

Both the Nissan Sentra and Toyota Corolla feature simple, elegant, and straightforward interior design, but the Corolla offers a more streamlined dashboard, and greater use of soft-touch materials as standard compared to the Nissan Sentra, where the lower-cost trim levels still feature quite a lot of cheaper plastic.

Nissan Sentra interior view 2022
Toyota corolla sedan interior view

If you prefer leather seating, however, an upgraded Nissan Sentra can deliver that whereas the Toyota Corolla only goes up to SofTex-trimmed sports seats at best. It’s not that SofTex isn’t a good material, but it doesn’t exactly feel as luxurious as leather.

Both offer a power tilting and sliding moonroof as standard in their higher trim models, which helps the interior pop even more.


The Nissan Sentra runs on a fairly standard Nissan 2.0L 4-cylinder unit that outputs 149-hp and 146 lb-ft of torque. This front-wheel drive (FWD) powertrain is paired with a CVT transmission.

Standard in the Toyota Corolla is a 1.8L 4-cylinder unit delivering 139-hp also paired with a CVT transmission. Buyers of the Corolla have another option, however, in the form of a 169-hp 2.0L unit with either a 6-speed manual transmission or the same CVT. Neither compact sedan offers all-wheel drive.

Build a Sentra with the independent rear suspension and one of the smaller wheel options at 16 or 17 inches, and you get a pretty comfortable ride, but that changes (even with upgraded suspension) when you ride on the larger 18-inch wheels.

Nissan Sentra sedan side view
Toyota Corolla sedan side view

The Toyota Corolla is relatively more agile and refined in its on-road performance than the Sentra, but it takes upgrading to the SE or XSE with sport-tuned suspension to get the most dynamic performance, which means the difference in handling isn’t dramatic with most trims.

Both models feature high-quality and effective braking performance, as well as precise steering, but the steering is only a “fun” part of the driving when you specifically set up the car with the right suspension and features.

Fuel Economy

This is a good point to mention the Toyota Corolla Hybrid option, which doesn’t offer a lot of performance credentials but does easily beat out any gasoline Toyota Corolla or Nissan Sentra in fuel efficiency.

Expect to get up to 53-mpg in the city and 52-mpg on the highway with your Corolla Hybrid. This is miles ahead (pun intended) compared to just 29-mpg in the city and 39-mpg on the highway from the Sentra, and a slightly better 31-mpg in the city and 40-mpg on the highway with the non-hybrid Toyota Corolla.


In terms of cargo space, the Nissan Sentra offers a bit more at 14.3 cubic feet compared to just 13.1 cubic feet in the Toyota Corolla sedan. This is with the rear seats upright, fold them down and you’ll more than double the cargo volume in either car.

Note that while it’s not the car we’re comparing in this comparison, the Toyota Corolla Hatchback offers the most trunk space at 17.8 cubic feet-but that extra cargo space comes with reduced legroom for rear passengers compared to the sedan form.

Speaking of rear legroom, both the Nissan Sentra and Toyota Corolla are, it seems, equally generous offering 34.7 and 34.8 inches of room respectively.

Technology & Features

Both car models offer infotainment touchscreens of up to 8 inches in size, and both feature physical knobs, which makes them easy to use while driving. Neither one offers a particularly impressive infotainment system, but we’ve definitely seen worse offenders.

They are both compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and both offer USB ports and Bluetooth streaming connectivity. The Nissan Sentra has one more USB port than the Corolla (3 vs 2), which could make a difference if every passenger needs to charge something.


When it comes to safety features, the Corolla is equipped with Toyota Safety Sense 2.0, which includes collision mitigation and pedestrian detection, radar cruise control, and automatic high beam headlights, lane departure alert, road sign assist and more.

Nissan is known for its generosity with ADAS features, and the Nissan Sentra doesn’t disappoint with the Nissan Safety Shield 360, giving automatic emergency braking, rear automatic braking, blind spot warning (optional only in Corolla), rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning and high beam assist.

Both cars get the maximum possible 5 star safety rating in NHTSA vehicle crash testing, but closer inspection reveals the Toyota Corolla performs slightly better in frontal crash testing than the Nissan Sentra.

Also Consider

The first car that springs to mind when you think of the Toyota Corolla or Nissan Sentra is undoubtedly the slightly pricier Honda Civic, which is probably the highest-rated non-luxury compact sedan on the market.

There’s also the Hyundai Elantra and Kia Forte, which offer the most generous warranty and coverage.

Besides these cars from the far east, the Volkswagen Jetta is another compelling compact sedan that sits in the same price range.


The more fuel-conscious driver will benefit from the options presented in the Toyota Corolla range, which includes that ultra-efficient hybrid.

But when we compare the compact sedans fitted with internal combustion engines, there’s not an awful lot of difference. The Sentra benefits from a little more room in the trunk, and a slightly lower sticker price. The Toyota Corolla, on the other hand, gets you complimentary scheduled maintenance for 2 years and that all-important Toyota reliability.

Overall, we’d recommend test driving both cars at your local dealership to really decide on which car is better for your needs, because on paper they’re quite evenly matched.

Comparison Table

2022 Nissan Sentra2022 Toyota Corolla Sedan
Engine2.0L Inline-4 Gas1.8L Inline-4 Gas
Horsepower149 hp @ 6400 rpm139 hp @ 6100 rpm
Torque146 lb-ft @ 4400 rpm126 lb-ft @ 3900 rpm
TransmissionContinuously Variable Automatic (CVT)Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
DrivetrainFront-Wheel DriveFront-Wheel Drive
Steering TypeRack-PinionRack-Pinion
Rear SuspensionMulti-LinkMulti-Link
Rear Wheel SizeP205/60HR16P195/65SR15
Front SuspensionStrutStrut
Front Wheel SizeP205/60HR16P195/65SR15
Turning Diameter (ft.)38.135.6
Fuel Economy
MPG/MPGe - Hwy3938
MPG/MPGe - City2930
MPG/MPGe - Combined3333
Gas Tank Size (gallons)12.413.2
Cruising Range - Hwy (miles)483.6501.6
Size and Weight
Height (in.)56.956.5
Length (in.)182.7182.3
Weight (lbs)30362910
Max Width (in.)71.570.1
Wheelbase (in.)106.8106.3
Interior Dimensions
Seating Capacity55
Trunk Volume (cu. ft.)14.313.1
Front Seat Leg Room (in.)44.042.0
Front Seat Head Room (in.)38.938.3
Front Seat Hip Room (in.)53.553.9
Front Seat Shoulder Room (in.)56.454.0
Rear Seat Leg room (in.)34.734.8
Rear Seat Head Room (in.)36.737.1
Rear Seat Hip Room (in.)53.351.3
Rear Seat Shoulder Room (in.)54.551.7
Infotainment Features
HD RadioNot AvailableNot Available
MP3 PlayerStandardStandard
WiFi HotspotNot AvailableStandard
Satellite RadioNot AvailableStandard
Bluetooth ConnectionStandardStandard
Entertainment SystemNot AvailableNot Available
Premium Sound SystemNot AvailableNot Available
Auxiliary Audio InputStandardStandard
Smart Device IntegrationStandardStandard
Hard Disk Drive Media StorageNot AvailableNot Available
Interior Trim
Cloth SeatsStandardStandard
Vinyl SeatsNot AvailableNot Available
Leather SeatsNot AvailableNot Available
Premium Synthetic SeatsNot AvailableNot Available
Bucket SeatsStandardStandard
Sun/MoonroofNot AvailableNot Available
Leather Steering WheelNot AvailableNot Available
Woodgrain Interior TrimNot AvailableNot Available
Comfort Features
Rear A/CNot AvailableNot Available
TelematicsNot AvailableStandard
Seat MemoryNot AvailableNot Available
Seat-MassageNot AvailableNot Available
Keyless EntryStandardNot Available
Keyless StartStandardNot Available
Cruise ControlStandardStandard
Multi-Zone A/CNot AvailableNot Available
Power LiftgateNot AvailableNot Available
Climate ControlNot AvailableNot Available
Head-Up DisplayNot AvailableNot Available
Power Mirror(s)StandardStandard
Automatic ParkingNot AvailableNot Available
Navigation SystemNot AvailableNot Available
Power Driver SeatNot AvailableNot Available
Cooled Rear Seat(s)Not AvailableNot Available
Hands-Free LiftgateNot AvailableNot Available
Heated Rear Seat(s)Not AvailableNot Available
Remote Engine StartNot AvailableNot Available
Cooled Front Seat(s)Not AvailableNot Available
Heated Front Seat(s)Not AvailableNot Available
Power Passenger SeatNot AvailableNot Available
Remote Trunk ReleaseStandardStandard
Heated Steering WheelNot AvailableNot Available
Adaptive Cruise ControlNot AvailableStandard
Navigation from TelematicsNot AvailableNot Available
Universal Garage Door OpenerNot AvailableNot Available
Steering Wheel Audio ControlsStandardStandard
Safety Features
Brake AssistStandardStandard
Night VisionNot AvailableNot Available
Rear Parking AidStandardNot Available
Traction ControlStandardStandard
Stability ControlStandardStandard
Blind Spot MonitorStandardNot Available
Cross-Traffic AlertNot AvailableNot Available
Lane Keeping AssistNot AvailableStandard
Tire Pressure MonitorStandardStandard
Lane Departure WarningStandardStandard
Knee Air BagStandardStandard
Driver Air BagStandardStandard
Seatbelt Air BagNot AvailableNot Available
Passenger Air BagStandardStandard
Rear Head Air BagStandardStandard
Rear Side Air BagStandardStandard
Front Head Air BagStandardStandard
Front Side Air BagStandardStandard
Basic3 Years / 36,000 Miles3 Years / 36,000 Miles
Corrosion5 Years / Unlimited Miles5 Years / Unlimited Miles
Drivetrain5 Years / 60,000 Miles5 Years / 60,000 Miles
Maintenance-2 Years / 25,000 Miles
Roadside Assistance3 Years / 36,000 Miles2 Years / Unlimited Miles