Toyota Corolla Vs. Nissan Sentra: Which Is Better?

The Corolla and Sentra are similar enough that you could buy either without regret, but there are a few key differences.
Written by Jasmine Kanter
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
The 2022 Toyota Corolla offers a near-unbeatable combination of fuel economy, safety, and style... but the 2022 Nissan Sentra does, too.
Ready, get set, go! No, we’re not racing the 2022 Toyota Corolla against the 2022 Nissan Sentra. Instead, we’re discussing their pricing, performance, fuel economy, and more so that you can make an informed decision. 
So how do these two compact sedans compare? Keep reading to see who's first to cross the finish line with
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Thanks to a range of body styles, trims, and special editions, the Corolla offers 13 models versus the Sentra's humble three. When it comes to variety, Toyota wins by a mile.
The table below says it all:
2022 Toyota Corolla L
2022 Nissan Sentra S
2022 Toyota Corolla LE
2022 Toyota Corolla SE
2022 Nissan Sentra SV
2022 Toyota Corolla Hatchback SE
2022 Nissan Sentra SR
2022 Toyota Corolla Nightshade
2022 Toyota Corolla Hatchback Nightshade
2022 Toyota Corolla SE Nightshade
2022 Toyota Corolla Hybrid LE
2022 Toyota Corolla XSE
2022 Toyota Corolla Hatchback XSE
2022 Toyota Corolla XLE
2022 Toyota Corolla APEX SE
2022 Toyota Corolla APEX XSE
It's important to remember that purchase price doesn't tell the whole story. You also need to consider the total cost of ownership, which includes maintenance, repairs, and
Toyota insurance costs
Nissan insurance costs
According to
Edmunds True Cost to Own
, a Toyota Corolla LE would cost you $37,396 over five years if you lived in
Palo Alto, CA
(the location of Jerry's headquarters). Over the same five years in the same zip code, driving a Nissan Sentra S would cost you $40,578. The clear winner is Toyota, especially if you choose a hybrid, which further lowers fuel costs and qualifies you for a federal tax credit.
Don’t forget that
insurance rates in a city like Louisville, KY
will differ from those in a town like
Kingsport, TN
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Every available engine for the 2022 Toyota Corolla and Nissan Sentra struggles to accelerate.
With 139 hp and 126 lb-ft of torque, the Corolla's 1.8L four-cylinder engine doesn't exactly inspire confidence. Even the upgraded 2.0L four-cylinder takes 8.0 seconds to reach 60 mph. In everyday driving, you might be concerned when you see (and hear) just how much the Corolla's powertrain struggles to keep pace, let alone merge onto the interstate.
While the Sentra's single 2.0L four-cylinder engine performs better on paper, it doesn't perform as well on track, offering 149 hp, 149 lb-ft of torque, and a 0-60 time of 9.2 seconds. It's equally whiny when it comes to acceleration. If we had to pick a winner, it would be the Sentra for making
a complete stop from 70 mph in 170 feet
versus the Corolla's 174-183 feet.

Fuel efficiency

Despite Toyota's class-leading fuel economy, Nissan manages to keep up. Here’s how the EPA rated each model’s available powertrains:
Fuel economy (combined/city/highway)
2022 Toyota Corolla
1.8L four-cylinder
33/30/38 mpg
2022 Toyota Corolla (select sedans)
2.0L four-cylinder
34/31/40 mpg
2022 Toyota Corolla Hatchback
2.0L four-cylinder
35/32/41 mpg
2022 Toyota Corolla Hybrid
1.8L four-cylinder
52/53/52 mpg
2022 Nissan Sentra
2.0L four-cylinder
33/29/39 mpg
2022 Nissan Sentra SR
2.0L four-cylinder
32/28/37 mpg
Despite the Corolla’s long-standing reputation for fuel economy, the Sentra carries itself well, with only a slight difference between the two. Okay, it's a big difference if you consider the Corolla Hybrid, but is that a fair comparison in the absence of a hybrid Sentra? We’ll let you decide.


Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 remains one of the most valuable features of every Corolla. The Sentra offers much of the same technology for cheaper, but its headlights lose safety points.
The Corolla's standard features aren't very exciting. It’s equipped with 15-inch steel wheels and a 7-inch infotainment screen with Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and two USB ports. However, Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 offers one of the most comprehensive and impressive lists of driver assistance technologies on the market. It includes:
  • Automatic high beams
  • Forward-collision mitigation with automated emergency braking
  • Lane-departure warnings
  • Lane-keeping assistance
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Road sign recognition technology
No wonder the Corolla sedan, hatchback, and hybrid have a
five-star NHTSA crash test rating
Top Safety Pick+
from the IIHS!
Don't write off the Sentra just yet. It also received a
five-star crash-test rating
and was named a
Top Safety Pick
, even after losing points for its halogen headlights. Its driver assistance features include blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warnings, and pedestrian detection with automated braking. And its standard features are competitive, offering 16-inch steel wheels, a push-button start, and a 7-inch touchscreen loaded with Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto.
We’re calling this one a draw. The standard Sentra costs about $500 less than the base Corolla. All you have to do is spend the money you save on a pair of LED bulbs to fix the Sentra’s safety shortcomings.


With excellent scores across the board, Toyota continues its reputation for reliability. Nissan mostly keeps pace but falls behind on the warranty.
According to J.D. Power, the 2022 Toyota Corolla and 2022 Nissan Sentra share a predicted reliability score of 85/100. Meanwhile, RepairPal rates the Corolla a 4.5/5.0 and the Sentra a 4.0/5.0. It’s a small difference, but it’s enough to put the Corolla in the #1 spot among 36 compact cars, while the Sentra drops to #14. Last but not least, Consumer Reports endorses Toyota's "superb" reliability without reservation but cautions that Nissan can be inconsistent, even though their overall reliability continues to improve.
You can also rest easy with Toyota's five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty (eight years/100,000 miles for hybrid components). Best of all, it includes a complimentary maintenance plan. Any factory-scheduled maintenance performed at an authorized Toyota dealership is free for two years/25,000 miles
Toyota wins this round. Nissan may have an identical powertrain warranty, but it doesn't offer complimentary maintenance.


Disappointingly, the Corolla hatchback doesn’t offer as much of an upgrade to cargo space or legroom as you might expect. It’s a tie!
Inch-for-inch, here’s how the two rivals measure up:
Toyota Corolla Sedan
Toyota Corolla Hatchback
Nissan Sentra Sedan
Cargo volume
13.1 cubic feet
17.8 cubic feet
14.3 cubic feet
Front-row headroom
38.3 inches
38.4 inches
38.9 inches
Front-row legroom
42.0 inches
42.0 inches
44.0 inches
Second-row headroom
37.1 inches
37.6 inches
36.7 inches
Second-row legroom
34.8 inches
29.9 inches
34.7 inches
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The Corolla makes you feel like you're getting something worthwhile for your money. However, the Sentra is more daring, and maybe more fun.
In our opinion, curb appeal is the category with the largest gap between the two competitors, and it only widens as the options become more expensive. The Corolla’s heavy brow and unrefined grille simply can’t compete with the Sentra's streamlined bodywork. The latter looks focused and eager to drive, while the former looks like a slouch.
Let's take a look inside the higher trims. There's no denying that the interior of the top-of-the-line Corolla APEX XSE looks elegant and understated, with sport seats and a sculpted dash. You'll also enjoy automatic climate control, a larger touchscreen, leather upholstery, and a sunroof. However, you’re mostly paying for the upgraded engine and stiff sports suspension, which, as we've already discussed, make little difference to performance. 
Spend that money on the Sentra SR and a couple of its packages instead, and you'll get all the above plus a surround-view parking camera system, heated seats, an eight-speaker BOSE audio system, and an onboard Wi-Fi hotspot. With diamond-quilted seatbacks and contrast stitching, you won’t lack style or comfort. Forward-looking design and premium features—it’s the Sentra all the way!

The final word

In terms of variety, fuel economy, and reliability, the 2022 Toyota Corolla outperforms the 2022 Nissan Sentra. However, the Corolla’s margin of victory is slim enough—and the Sentra’s performance and space competitive enough—to make the Sentra an attractive alternative. With the Sentra's stellar looks and value for money on higher trims, you can choose the underdog without feeling like you're missing out.

How to find cheap car insurance

Comparing the trims, packages, photos, and specs of cars is exciting, but comparing insurance policies for both the Toyota Corolla and the
Nissan Sentra
is a chore. With
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Yes. The Sentra's wheelbase measures 106.8 inches, compared to the Corolla sedan's 106.3 inches and the Corolla hatchback's 103.9 inches.
The least fuel-efficient Corolla manages a respectable 33/30/38 combined/city/highway mpg, while a comparable Sentra falls behind by one combined mpg.
No. The Nissan Sentra starts at $21,045 and the Toyota Corolla starts at $21,520.
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