Last post on Jun 02, 2012 at 7:00 PM
You are in the Sedans
What is this discussion about?
Chevrolet, Ford Focus, Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, Toyota Corolla, Mazda MAZDA3, Nissan Sentra, Kia, Volkswagen Jetta, Car Comparisons, Sedan
#145 of 296 Re: MT compares 8 compacts [backy]
Jun 06, 2011 (1:26 am)
"BTW, last month the Corolla slipped out of the Top Ten list. But the Elantra had its best-ever sales month, topping 20k units. Reputation will only get you so far. It's a very strong compact car field now, with the new offerings from Honda, Ford, Chevy, Hyundai, VW, soon Subaru... and the Mazda3, Sentra, and Forte are no slouches either."
I think the Nissan Sentra is probably the most underrated compact car on the market. While it's not the best in any area, it is adequate in most areas and even above average in a few. The interior design and quality blows the Corolla and the new Jetta off the map! It may not be Audi-quality, but it is attractive and assembly quality is excellent in the examples I've seen. It's sort of the Jan Brady of the Nissan line, with the smaller Versa and mid-size Altima getting all the praise and attention. =(
Actually there is another compact even more underrated and invisible (to consumers) than the Sentra- the Suzuki SX4. Even with a 100k powertrain warranty, it still doesn't sell anywhere near the other Japanese compacts. I think it drives quite well and ever since the redesign of the Aerio's interior for 2005, they have been making some of the best looking, highest quality and well assembled interiors to come from a Japanese brand. Of course, that doesnít apply to the Verona, Reno or Forenza, which were rebadged Daewoo models. They were also Suzukiís best selling cars ever (Reno and Forenza) but they also did more damage to the Suzuki brand image than any other vehicles! Hence the pathetic sales of the SX4 and far lower sales of the Kizashi, an amazing car among itís competitors, IMO!
#146 of 296 Re: MT compares 8 compacts [igozoomzoom]
Jun 06, 2011 (2:16 pm)
I think the Nissan Sentra is probably the most underrated compact car on the market. While it's not the best in any area, it is adequate in most areas and even above average in a few. The interior design and quality blows the Corolla and the new Jetta off the map
I would put the Sentra right at the bottom with the Corolla. I don;t think the Sentra does anything particularly well. I really am not impressed with the interior, or that of the Altima either. Both are very bland. Well put together, but, very unimpressive.
It seems as if Nissan puts the lease amount of effort into the Sentra out of all their cars. The Maxima and Murano are top-knotch when it comes to materials, build quality and content. I do think the Altima and Sentra are very lacking, although sales of the Altima do not flow with my opinion.
I would expect something new from Nissan as far as the Sentra goes. It is was overdue.
#147 of 296 Re: MT compares 8 compacts [aviboy97]
Jun 06, 2011 (2:57 pm)
While I'm not gaga over the Sentra's interior - it is bland and things like the door arm rests are too narrow for my taste - it does do one thing well and that's provide headroom. The main thing I remembered from my auto show "test sit" was that front seat or back, head room is plentiful unlike the Cruze, new Elantra, and some others.
#148 of 296 Re: MT compares 8 compacts [fushigi]
Jun 06, 2011 (3:29 pm)
I like the "test sit" line...
My concerns are usually leg room. I'm rather tall at 6'4".
#149 of 296 Re: MT compares 8 compacts [aviboy97]
Jun 08, 2011 (1:30 pm)
Since I own (actually lease) a 2010 Sentra S, I'll give my 2 cents on it. I think it does some things very well:
* Great interior room for a compact, including roomy back seat.
* Comfortable driving position, even on long trips.
* Very good materials quality inside for an economy car--as good or better than most in class, trailing maybe only Cruze. I especially like the HVAC controls (very smooth) and the faux aluminum bits that dress things up.
* Very quiet at cruise with CVT--revs hit 2000 at around 70 mph.
* Great inside storage including a HUGE glovebox.
* Pretty smooth ride for the class--not anywhere near as jarring as the likes of the Mazda3, more like the Elantra.
* Very good fuel economy--I've done much better than the EPA averages driving with a light foot. Upper 30s on the highway, upper 20s to low 30s around-town depending on weather and how much freeway driving there is.
* Good connectivity--USB input standard even on S model.
* Versatile and roomy trunk--headrests fold flat for easy seat folding, plus the rear seat bottom pulls up, rare in this class.
* Has side moldings to protect doors--hardly any cars have that now.
* Very reliable--zero problems in first 15 months.
* Trip computer has poor ergonomics--have to push a button in the instrument cluster repeatedly to cycle between odometers, MTE, avg and instant FE, etc.
* Electric power steering doesn't have a crisp feel.
* No trunk release on keyfob.
* ESC is not standard (at least not on the S, and not in 2010).
That's about it. I've been very satisfied with the car in its first 15 months. I may keep it when the lease is up... depends on what else is out there in two years.
#150 of 296 Re: MT compares 8 compacts [backy]
Jun 08, 2011 (3:00 pm)
Interesting comparo between the interior of a Sentra and Cruz. From what I have read, the interior on the Cruz looks nice, but, materials and build quality are not so great. I have not been in one myself.... I would say the new Elantra and Focus have the best combination of build quality / materials available today. The new Focus is put together really, really well. The Mazda3 is well put together as well, and in the s model, there are even better materials used, however, it could use a refresh. We will see if much attention was paid to it when we get the refreshed 2012.
I would not call the ride of the Mazda3 "jarring"...that's a bit of a stretch, but, to each their own...
Nissan builds a good car, so the fact that you have had no issues is not surprising.
I have driven the current gen Sentra many times, and I do feel that other manufacturers offer more and do better in other areas. Just my .02...
With company's like Hyundai, Ford and even Chevy stepping up their game in this segment, it is time that Nissan does as well. The Sentra is overdue...
Now, if I had my wish, I would buy a car that looks like the Elantra and drives like a Mazda3!! I just can't get used to the look of the Mazda...
#151 of 296 Re: MT compares 8 compacts [aviboy97]
Jun 08, 2011 (4:49 pm)
I've been in a few Cruze's and I think the material quality is very good, especially considering the price point. The Elantra is also good, certainly has more "style" than the Sentra but quality not significantly better. The Focus is "uneven"--some really nice bits, but other parts seem cheap to me. For example, the HVAC knobs are not nearly as smooth as on the Sentra. The Sentra has pretty nice quality all around. Also the controls are much easier to use than in either the Focus or Elantra. The Mazda3 has a pretty nice interior but it's dour (in black anyway) has some cheap pieces. Back seat much tighter than the Sentra also.
"Jarring" is pretty accurate I think. Or maybe "nervous". Definitely a great handler, but the trade-off with ride quality isn't worth it to me. I've had several Mazda3 rentals over the past few months, and they're fine as long as the roads are smooth. Which I haven't experienced much of.
The perfect small car to me would be one that looks like (and has the interior room of) the Elantra, handling of the Mazda3, and ride of the Cruze. And priced like a Versa, or Accent.
The Sentra is due for a redesign, but I am surprised how well it has held up over the years. It does need better fuel economy (has to hit that magical 40 mpg EPA number now), and the steering needs tightening up. With that and a few other little tweaks (and I suppose a new wrapper, just because), I think it will be fully competitive in the class, even against the new designs.
Jun 08, 2011 (10:24 pm)
With 2012 being the 6th model year of the current Sentra, is 2013 the MY for an all-new Sentra?
My mother owns a 2005 Sentra and it's a great "around town" car for her. I've driven it many times and with only 41,000 miles on the clock, it's got several good years left in it.
#153 of 296 Re: 2012 Sentra? [dodgeman07]
Jun 09, 2011 (11:21 am)
I scratched my head over the 2005 Sentra and that whole generation because while it had some plusses, including fuel economy and a pretty nice interior, the back seat was REALLY tight--moreso than even the prior generation. Nissan rectified that in the current design.
I've leased 3 Sentras--a 1992 2-door, a 1997 4-door (both sticks), and my current 2010. They were all solid, reliable little cars. I sold my 1997 to my sister and she drove it for many more years after my lease was up. What's kind of amazing, though, is that my 1997 GXE, which was a pretty basic car by today's standards with a stick, two airbags, no ABS, steel wheels, and power windows/locks/mirrors/cruise, listed for about $16k. That is about what a comparable compact lists for today, but the modern car has a lot more safety features, and probably more power (vs. 115 hp) with better fuel economy.
Cars really have improved in the past 15 years.
#154 of 296 Re: MT compares 8 compacts [backy]
Jun 09, 2011 (3:42 pm)
"MT just did an 8-way comparo of compacts: Civic, Corolla, Cruze, Elantra, Focus, Forte, Jetta, and Mazda3. Pretty much all the major compacts except Sentra and Impreza (with the Impreza's redesign coming very soon).
To no surprise, the Corolla came in last. Guess what came in first?"
I finally had a chance to go back and read the entire test on the MT website and I was surprised by the ranking of several models, but the Corolla and Elantra seem appropriately placed, IMO. Here are the ones that disappointed, concerned, shocked and/or irritated me-
#7- KIA Forte EX- This one is a disappointment. KIA upgraded the outdated 4-speed automatic to a new 6-speed automatic with the promise of improved acceleration and better fuel economy. The 0-60 time has been reduced from 10.3 to 9.2 seconds, which is a solid improvement. But the overall fuel economy of 23.9mpg is unacceptable on a car with EPA ratings of 26/36. The overall cheap look of the interior and seats that aren't all that comfy for the long haul were problems I had noted when I test drove a 2011 Forte SX 5-door. Now that Hyundai has reinvented its lineup, they need to give this model some of their 'magic'- I still love the exterior design, but the rest needs some work...
#5- Ford Focus Titanium- An overly-complicated high-tech interior design distracts from what is a fundamentally GREAT car in almost every other area. That's what I've been saying from the beginnings and the guys at MT seem to agree. Drive a Focus SE 5-speed manual and you'll see and feel how good this car can really be!
#4- VW Jetta TDI- MT requested a 2.5L model, VW still sent a TDI- it shouldn't have been allowed to participate, IMO.
#3- Mazda 3 i Touring- Where is the logic in putting the lower-level 'i' model against top trim levels of the Cruze, Focus, Civic and Elantra??? It was the least expensive test by a large margin- the second least expensive Corolla was $824 more and the highest priced Cruze was $4,595 more! Would the additional features and/or options on a Mazda3 s Sport or Grand Touring outweigh the lower fuel economy from the 2.5L engine? The i Touring model tested didn't even include the available Moonroof/6CD/Bose Package which only adds $1395 to the price. The total would have been very close to the Forte EX and Civic EX's sticker prices and still well below the Cruze, Focus, VW and Elantra! At that price, it would've included a Power Moonroof, 10-speaker, 265-watt Bose Centerpoint Surround Sound audio system and In-dash 6-CD changer.
#2- Civic EX- I honestly can't tell any difference at first glance, and I thought the previous model was HIDEOUS, so this new one is hardly a beauty queen! Honda has become lazy, or so it seems....even if they do get the best MPG of all.
It's interesting to see the results form a similar, but smaller (only five cars), comparison in the April 2011 issue of Car and Driver. Here's how they ranked the five they included-
5- VW Jetta SEL
4- Chevy Cruze LT
3- Hyundai Elantra Limited
2- Mazda3 s Sport 4-door
1- Ford Focus SEL 4-door
Either way, the Elantra and Mazda3 landed in the top three of each list...so they're the two I'd be considering, if I was actually in the market for a new car right now.
When Mazda's new SKYACTIV 40mpg highway 2.0L hits the roads later this fall, I may be one of the first in line....