|33/42**||Fuel Economy (city/hwy mpg)||29/39|
|7-9||Screen Size (in)||7-8|
When it comes to compact sedans, buyers may be keen to experience the fully-redesigned 2022 Honda Civic with its fresh exterior and interior look. The 2021 Nissan Sentra had its own redesign for 2020 to give it a whole new exterior and interior appeal, too. Both compact sedans have sporty styling and offer plenty of attractive features, but comparing the 2022 Honda Civic vs 2021 Nissan Sentra will quickly show buyers which vehicle is the better investment.
Both of these compact sedans seat five and have a well-appointed interior with attractive styling. Standard features for the interior are similar, though the 2022 Civic offers an extra trim level over the 2021 Sentra, and two of those trims come with a powerful turbocharged engine. Driving either of these vehicles will be relatively easy on the wallet with fairly good fuel efficiency, but the Honda does edge out the Nissan in this particular category by a slight margin as well.
The available technology will please buyers, even in the entry-level trims, with standard touchscreens and smartphone connectivity. Upper trims branch out somewhat with more offerings, and buyers can expect to enjoy the available features for entertainment in a low-cost sedan. Safety features are exceptional for such inexpensive vehicles, with each brand providing a well-rounded suite of driver-assist technology supported by automated features that will all come standard. Though features vary in each safety suite, Honda and Nissan are two brands that have excellent ratings overall for the combination of both tech and vehicle design.
Which vehicle is the better investment? If you look at price alone, the 2021 Sentra does come in a bit lower, but there are other considerations to compare. Honda is a brand that delivers a lot of quality, and the new design of the Civic has critics buzzing with excitement.
Approaching the 2022 Honda Civic reveals new details that have been modernized for an overall cleaner, more streamlined presence. The front fascia is less busy, minimizing the styling to match the intent to offer up a tidier look. The joy of the fastback still remains, however, and new LED headlights and exterior lights all around the vehicle enhance the modern style. Powered side mirrors and a remote trunk release are two of the convenience features found on the exterior, while keyless entry gains you access to the interior, where a push-button ignition awaits.
When you hit the ignition, it starts up the Civic's standard 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, which makes 158 horsepower. This engine is paired to a continuously variable transmission and front-wheel drive across all trims. Driving the 2022 Civic with this engine under the hood will deliver an energetic sensibility behind the wheel, with precise handling and responsive acceleration. Even with this fuel-sipping engine, the 2022 Civic communicates well with the road. Upper trims instead come with a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which makes 180 horsepower and adds zing for more spirited driving.
In contrast, the 2021 Nissan Sentra comes across with a different design intent, its exterior appeal far more sculpted, shaped, and working for your attention as a sporty machine. A larger grille and wider front fascia draw the eye to angular vents and headlights, then the sloped windshield leads back to the curved roof and detailed rear fascia. Nissan is clearly going for the more aggressive side of sporty, which is not unattractive; it's merely different than the clean aesthetic of the 2022 Civic. Designs are subjective, so buyers will decide which appeals to their own sense of style.
In any case, exterior features of the 2021 Sentra begin with standard halogen headlights rather than the LED lighting found on the Civic. Still, the Sentra does have keyless entry and the now expected push-button ignition, which starts the 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. This is the only engine available for the 2021 Sentra, and it only makes 149 horsepower compared to the 158 hp of the 2022 Civic. Another unfortunate aspect of the vehicle is that it simply isn't terribly fun to drive. The handling is less responsive in comparison to the Civic, and with the larger wheels found in upper trims, the 2021 Sentra will have a firm ride quality most buyers are not likely to appreciate.
Available features for upper trims in the 2022 Civic and 2021 Sentra are similar, with the option for LED fog lights, a powered moonroof, and chrome exhaust finishers. The two vehicles also offer their own versions of "smart" or "intelligent" entry with fobs sensed by the vehicle, so it automatically locks and unlocks when the fob is near. Honda offers the option of front and rear parking sensors, while Nissan has available heated exterior mirrors. On top of the more robust engine, Honda also provides buyers with paddle shifters to make for a much more engaging experience behind the wheel. Though the general exterior differences are not huge, when it comes to performance, the Honda Civic has a massive advantage.
Honda's new interior design gets upgraded with a dashboard screen that hides air vents behind its attractive pattern, giving the interior a cleaner, neater aesthetic. Unifying the look of the dash also gives the rest of the cabin a less cluttered appearance, and the effect is calming. The ease of using the standard seven-inch touchscreen allows for quick access to standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as the available navigation, without having to look down from the road.
<b/p>Seating in the 2022 Civic offers rather expansive space for all passengers, with over 37 inches of legroom in the rear to accommodate taller rear-seat passengers. Adjustable seats are well-bolstered to handle cornering, and the handy placement of storage bins allows for stashing small items out of the way. Available features like the Bose sound system with 12 speakers, HD radio, and SiriusXM satellite radio can entertain passengers on long drives, while conveniences like dual-zone climate control, a universal home remote, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror make time in the 2022 Civic simpler and more pleasant.
With the 2021 Sentra's interior, a different approach to design means the interior has more movement in the lines and a busier appearance to the dash. While the Sentra boasts very comfortable front seats with ample legroom, the rear seat passengers will be cozier than they may wish, with only 34.7 inches of space to stretch out. Many of the same tech features, such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, are accessed via a standard seven-inch touchscreen, and both vehicles offer Bluetooth connectivity for streaming and hands-free phone use.
One feature which separates the two cars is the lack of connected services on the entry-level model of the Sentra, which means Sentra buyers cannot access WiFi, emergency services, or roadside assistance like the Honda across all trims. Further, Honda's available Bose speaker system is far superior for sound, with an extra four speakers and a subwoofer. The Sentra also does not offer a universal home remote, nor does it offer HD radio like the Civic. Though the Sentra comes standard with decent tech options, it doesn't have the same range of choices offered in the Civic, nor does it have the comfortable space for rear passengers.
Safety features are taken seriously by both Honda and Nissan, and each brand offers its own set of bundled driver-assist features to keep passengers safe on the road. For the 2022 Civic, the Honda Sensing suite of technology comes with several standard features to prevent or mitigate accidents. The lane keeping assist system and adaptive cruise control with low-speed follow can both lessen fatigue on long trips for highway driving. These features have automated technology to sense traffic around the Civic to maintain distance and provide corrections. Collision mitigation braking and road departure mitigation also utilize sensors to detect potential impacts, while traffic sign recognition can read signs and assist the driver with speed limit awareness and important information.
Nissan Safety Shield has a number of features it also provides as standard equipment to assist the driver in preventing accidents, such as auto emergency braking with pedestrian detection and rear automatic braking. High beam assist will automatically dim headlights in oncoming traffic, but the remaining features in the suite merely warn the driver of impending impacts rather than actively assisting. Blind spot warning, lane departure warning, and rear cross traffic alert issue signals only and do not provide any action from the autonomous systems in the vehicle. Both sedans do have several other safety features which work behind the scenes to make the vehicles safer, such as an electric parking brake or electronic traction control, but for more active safety features, the 2022 Civic offers better protection with its standard safety suite.