Nissan Sentra Vs. Toyota Corolla: Compact Sedans With Tons to Offer

By Justin Cupler | March 5th, 2019

Compact cars are no longer the boring econoboxes they were years ago. Today, they are stylish, feature-packs, and, in some cases, great performers. The Nissan Sentra offers all this in a thrifty package that gets up to 37 mpg highway**. But there is also plenty of competition, including the 2019 Toyota Corolla.

 

Which is better for your family, the 2019 Toyota Corolla or the 2019 Nissan Sentra? Continue reading to find out.

Exterior

On the outside, the Toyota Corolla and Nissan Sentra are a little longer in the tooth than other sedans in their class. That said, with their redesigns coming in 2014 and 2013, respectively, the Corolla and Sentra are far from old, but they take significantly different approaches to design.

The Toyota Corolla’s wedge-like front end shows off a sportier side, which its sharp headlights further accentuate. This is a bit of an oxymoron because the Sentra is the better performer with its peppier NISMO and SR Turbo trims, but we’ll get to that later.

The 2019 Nissan Sentra shows off a more mature look with its traditional nose, chrome V-motion grille, and softer body lines. It doesn’t, however, get a little sportiness from its boomerang headlights, but the rest of the body doesn’t join in on this. There is the added wrinkle of the Sentra NISMO, which boasts special aerodynamic features, wheels, and more to sport up this simple sedan.

 

2019 Sentra is 182.1 to 183.6 inches long, 69.3 inches wide, and 58.9 to 59 inches tall. The Sentra rides on a 106.3-inch wheelbase, and it weighs 2,851 to 3,090 pounds. The 2019 Toyota Corolla is 183.1 inches long, 69.9 inches wide, and 57.3 inches high. It also rides on a 106.3-inch wheelbase, but it’s lighter at 2,840 to 2,885 pounds.

Advantage: 2019 Nissan Sentra

  • Tamer design language will age better
  • Sporty-looking NISMO model

Advantage: 2019 Toyota Corolla

  • Sportier base design

Interior

Inside, these compact sedans offer tons more features that some may expect. The Toyota Corolla boasts a standard 6.1-inch Entune infotainment system, Bluetooth connectivity with audio streaming, a USB port, Siri Eyes Free, and more. It also has an available 7-inch touchscreen, Scout GPS Link, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and navigation.

On the style side of things, the Corolla features a sportier dash layout with its round air vents and swoopy lines.

 

The 2019 Nissan Sentra has a larger 7-inch touchscreen, but its functionality is the same with Bluetooth audio streaming and Siri Eyes Free. And like the Corolla, the Sentra has available Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, navigation, SiriusXM, and more.

On the style side, the Nissan Sentra is more traditional with its more rounded dash and rectangular air vents. Where it varies, though, is its NISMO trim, which adds extra doses of color, heavier seat bolster, and other sporty touches.

 

Flipping back into the Corolla’s favor is safety. The 2019 Toyota Corolla comes standard with a slew of active safety technology to keep you and your family safe. These include automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning, lane-keep assist, automatic high-beam headlights, adaptive cruise control, and hill-start assist. These are all options in the Sentra.

 

In its front seats, the 2019 Sentra offers 39.4 inches of headroom, 42.5 inches of legroom, 50.9 inches of hip room, and 54.7 inches of shoulder room. The 2019 Corolla has 2.1 extra inches of hip room and 0.1 extra inches of shoulder room, but it comes up short by 1.1 inches in headroom and 0.2 inches in legroom.

 

The 2019 Nissan Sentra’s rear seats offer 36.7 inches of headroom, 37.4 inches of legroom, 50.1 inches of hip room, and 53.9 inches of shoulder room. The 2019 Corolla’s rear seats have an extra 0.4 inches of headroom, 4 inches of legroom, and 0.9 inches of shoulder room, but comes up 6.2 inches short on hip room.

 

So, how does the Corolla have so much legroom despite having the same basic footprint as the Sentra? Easy, Toyota pushed the rear seats rearward, gobbling up trunk space in the process. The specs prove this with the Sentra offering 15.1 cubic feet of room and the Corolla offering just 13 cubes.

Advantage: 2019 Nissan Sentra

  • Larger standard infotainment screen
  • Huge advantage in luggage room
  • Sportier-looking NISMO cabin

Advantage: 2019 Toyota Corolla

  • Significantly more rear legroom
  • Tons of standard active safety features

Performance

Most of the 2019 Nissan Sentra comes with a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 124 horsepower and 125 pound-feet of torque. This engine mates to a standard six-speed manual transmission or an optional continuously variable transmission. This powertrain results in a 9.5-second 0-to-60 time.

 

SR Turbo and NISMO models add a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 188 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque. In the SR Turbo trim, this engine pairs with a standard CVT, but the NISMO model comes with a standard six-speed manual or an optional CVT. This engine sprints the Sentra to 60 mph in seven seconds.

 

The NISMO and SR Turbo models are also better in the corners. The SR Turbo gains retuned suspension and steering systems, and V-rated rubber to help in the twist. The NISMO model’s steering and suspension systems are even tighter, and Z-rated Michelin Pilot Sport tires grip the pavement better. In independent testing, the SR Turbo held 0.84 Gs on the skid pad to the NISMO’s 0.88 Gs.

The 2019 Corolla comes with a standard 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 132 horsepower and 128 pound-feet of torque. If you opt for the LE Eco model, Toyota adds Valvematic technology that helps push the 1.8-liter engine to 140 horsepower, but its torque falls to 126 pound-feet. The 2019 Corolla comes standard with a CVT, but the Corolla SE has an optional six-speed manual transmission. This translates into a nine-second 0-to-60 time

2019 Nissan Sentra with the 1.8-liter engine gets up to 29 mpg city, 37 highway, and 32 combined**. Moving into the SR Turbo model nets you up to 25 mpg city, 30 highway, and 27 combined**. The range-topping NISMO model gets up to 25 mpg city, 31 highway, and 27 combined**.

 

The Toyota Corolla LE Eco beats the Sentra with up to 30 mpg city, 40 highway, and 34 combined. That said, the rest of the Corolla lineup comes up short at up to 28 mpg city, 36 highway, and 32 combined.

Advantage: 2019 Nissan Sentra

  • Peppy turbocharged engine
  • Curve-hugging NISMO model

Advantage: 2019 Toyota Corolla

  • Small fuel-economy advantage in LE Eco
  • Big base power advantage
  • Quicker versus Sentra’s base engine

Pricing and Features

The 2019 Nissan Sentra is available in six trim levels: S, SV, SR, SR Turbo, SL, and NISMO. Their starting prices range from $17,790* to $25,840*.

 

There are six trim levels that make up the 2019 Toyota Corolla lineup: L, LE, LE Eco, SE, XLE, and XSE. Their starting prices range from $18,700 to $22,880.

2019 Nissan Sentra Key Features and Pricing by Trim

S: $17,790*

  • 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine
  • Six-speed manual transmission
  • Front-wheel drive
  • Front disc and rear drum brakes
  • Four-wheel anti-lock brakes
  • Speed-sensitive electric power steering
  • 16-inch steel wheels with hubcaps
  • Auto-on/off halogen headlights
  • Power mirrors
  • 7-inch touchscreen
  • Bluetooth connectivity with audio streaming
  • Hands-free text messaging
  • Siri Eyes Free
  • Rearview camera
  • Remote keyless entry
  • Power door locks
  • Air conditioning
  • Cruise control
  • Steering-wheel-mounted controls
  • Tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel
  • Variable-intermittent wipers
  • Cloth seating
  • 60/40 split-folding rear seat
  • Silver interior trim
  • AM/FM audio system with four speakers
  • USB port
  • Auxiliary audio input jack

 

SV: $19,090*

  • All S features, plus
  • CVT
  • Active understeer control
  • 16-inch 10-spoke aluminum-alloy wheels
  • NissanConnect infotainment system
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Fine-vision electroluminescent gauges
  • Nissan Intelligent KEy with keyless ignition
  • Dual-zone automatic climate control
  • Sliding front armrest
  • Rear-seat center armrest
  • Premium cloth seating
  • 370Z-inspired steering wheel
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • Piano-black interior trim
  • Six-speaker audio system
  • Dual-USB rear charging ports
  • SiriusXM radio
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Tire-pressure monitoring system with Easy-Fill Alert
  • Security system

 

SR: $20,590*

  • All SV features, plus
  • Rear disc brakes
  • 17-inch 10-spoke aluminum-alloy wheels
  • LED low-beam projector headlights with LED accents
  • Fog lights
  • Sport rear fascia
  • Lower-body side-sill extension
  • Chrome exhaust finisher
  • Rear spoiler with integrated LED brake lights
  • Heated mirrors with LED turn-signal indicators
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Premium sport cloth seating
  • Heated front seats
  • Sport interior trim

 

SR Turbo: $22,570*

  • All SR features, plus
  • 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine
  • CVT with manual-shift mode
  • Larger disc brakes
  • SR-tuned sport suspension
  • Power sunroof

 

SL: $23,020*

  • All SV features, plus
  • Rear disc brakes
  • 17-inch five-spoke aluminum-alloy wheels
  • LED low-beam headlights with LED accents
  • Fog lights
  • Heated mirrors with LED turn signals
  • Power moonroof
  • HomeLink universal home remote
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Auto-dimming rearview mirror
  • Six-way power driver’s seat
  • Leather seating
  • Heated front seats
  • Eight-speaker Bose premium audio system
  • Blind-spot warning
  • Rear cross-traffic alert

 

NISMO: $25,840*

  • All SR Turbo features, plus
  • Six-speed manual transmission
  • NISMO-tuned suspension and steering
  • 18-inch NISMO 10-spoke aluminum-alloy wheels
  • Michelin Pilot Sport all-season tires
  • LED daytime running lights
  • NISMO body kit
  • NISMO chrome exhaust tips
  • NISMO black outside mirrors
  • NISMO badging
  • NISMO tachometer
  • NISMO sport front seats with additional bolstering
  • NISMO synthetic suede seat trim
  • NISMO signature red stitching
  • NISMO Alcantara-and-leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • NISMO leather-wrapped shift knob
  • Carbon-fiber-look interior trim
  • Black headliner
  • Bose premium audio system with eight speakers

2019 Toyota Corolla Key Features and Pricing by Trim

L: $18,700

  • 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine
  • Continuously variable transmission
  • 15-inch styled-steel wheels
  • Electric power steering
  • Front disc brakes and rear drum brakes
  • Bi-LED headlights
  • LED daytime running lights
  • Piano-black grille
  • Power mirrors
  • Air conditioning
  • Cloth seating
  • 60/40 split-folding rear seats
  • Tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel
  • Steering-wheel-mounted controls
  • Power door locks
  • Power windows with driver-side one-touch up/down
  • One 12-volt power outlet
  • One USB 2.0 port
  • Entune Audio infotainment system
  • 6.1-inch touchscreen
  • Six-speaker AM/FM/CD audio system
  • Advanced voice recognition
  • Bluetooth with audio streaming
  • Siri Eyes Free
  • Rearview camera with guidelines
  • Automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection
  • Lane-departure warning
  • Lane-keep assist
  • Automatic high-beam headlights
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Hill-start assist

 

LE: $19,135

  • All L features, plus
  • 16-inch wide-vent steel wheels
  • Heated mirrors
  • Variable intermittent windshield wipers
  • Automatic single-zone climate control
  • Premium cloth seats
  • Rear center armrest with cup holders
  • Metallic interior trim with chrome door handles
  • Remote keyless entry

 

LE Eco: $19,535

  • All LE features, plus
  • 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine with Valvematic technology
  • 15-inch styled steel wheels
  • Rear spoiler

 

SE: $20,645

  • All LE features, plus
  • 17-inch machined alloy wheels with black-painted accents
  • Four-wheel disc brakes
  • Multi-LED headlights with LED accents
  • LED reverse lights
  • Sporty front fascia with gloss-black mesh grille
  • Heated mirrors with mirror-integrated turn signals
  • Rear spoiler
  • Leatherette sport seats
  • Normal and Sport driving modes
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • Sport instrument cluster

 

XLE: $22,135

  • All LE features, plus
  • Multi-LED headlights with LED accent lights
  • LED daytime running lights
  • LED reverse lights
  • Chrome-tipped exhaust
  • Power moonroof
  • 16-inch machined alloy wheels with black-painted accents
  • Roof-mounted antenna
  • Leatherette seating
  • Eight-way power driver’s seat
  • Heated front seats
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • Premium instrumentation
  • Keyless unlock
  • Keyless ignition
  • Entune Audio Plus infotainment system
  • 7-inch high-resolution touchscreen
  • Scout GPS link
  • SiriusXM

 

XSE: $22,880

  • All SE features, plus
  • Moonroof
  • Roof-mounted antenna
  • Leatherette seating
  • Heated front seats
  • Keyless unlock
  • Keyless ignition
  • Entune Audio Plus
  • 7-inch high-resolution touchscreen
  • Scout GPS Link
  • SiriusXM

Who Should Buy the 2019 Nissan Sentra?

With about a $1,000 price advantage at its base level, the 2019 Nissan Sentra fits buyers with a tight budget better than the Corolla. Also, those looking for a peppy compact sedan will get that only in the Sentra NISMO.

Who Should Buy the 2019 Toyota Corolla?

The 2019 Corolla with its great rear legroom better accommodates a family with older children. Also, its long list of standard active safety features fits family that are more concerned about safety first and foremost.  

 

Got a daily commute to Bay City or just want to cruise to Midland in a zippy sedan? The thrifty but sporty 2019 Nissan Sentra and agile Sentra NISMO can handle this and more. Head down to Garber Nissan serving the Saginaw area to test drive the 2019 Sentra today. Check out our online inventory to pick a few Sentra models you like, then call our Saginaw new-car dealership to schedule a test drive.

 

* All prices are Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP). MSRP excludes destination and handling charges, tax, title, license, and options. Dealer sets actual price.

** Actual mileage may vary