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The compact sedan segment is a tricky one to shop in because there are so many options. Two popular stalwarts in the category are the Toyota Corolla and Nissan Sentra, both of which provide buyers with comfort and fuel efficiency. But which one of these sedans is more fuel efficient?

The 2022 Nissan Sentra comes with one engine choice

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2022 Nissan Sentra | Mike Ditz Photo for Nissan Motor Corporation

When shopping for a 2022 Nissan Sentra, buyers will only find one engine under the hood. Powering the Sentra is a naturally-aspirated 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine that generates 149 hp and 146 lb-ft of torque. The engine can only be mated to an Xtronic CVT that routes the power to the front wheels. A manual transmission is no longer available.

In terms of fuel efficiency, the Sentra garners up to an EPA-estimated 29 mpg in the city and 39 mpg on the highway. That stellar fuel efficiency is possible partly due to the car’s active shutters in the front bumper, which control the airflow at different speeds.

Additionally, the Sentra features a customizable ECO mode setting, allowing the driver to toggle the cruise control and air conditioning on or off to improve the car’s efficiency while driving. Lastly, the fuel economy screen shows the driver the car’s live fuel economy numbers, which can encourage more efficient driving.

The 2022 Toyota Corolla has two different gas engines to choose from

A Toyota Corolla is a staple among the best small cars and competition for the 2022 Honda Civic.
A Toyota Corolla Apex | Toyota

The Toyota Corolla is a perennial best-seller, having been around for 12 generations. For 2022, the Corolla is available with two different engines depending on which trim level you choose. The lower trim levels – XLE and below – come equipped with a 1.8-liter engine that produces 139 hp and 126 lb-ft of torque. The SE, XSE, and Apex Edition are fitted with a larger 2.0-liter engine that generates 169 hp and 151 lb-ft of torque.

If you’re looking for the more fuel-efficient one out of the two, you may be surprised to find that the 2.0-liter engine is the one to get. Buyers that choose the SE trim level can expect to get up to an EPA-estimated 31 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway. The smaller engine can return up to an EPA-estimated 30 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway.

The Toyota Corolla Hybrid provides the most fuel efficiency

A red 2022 Toyota Corolla Hybrid drives down a back road.
The 2022 Toyota Corolla Hybrid gets over 50 mpg. | Toyota

While it’s clear to see that the 2022 Toyota Corolla is the more efficient of the two compact sedans, those looking for the most efficient should look into the Corolla Hybrid. This fuel-sipping model is fitted with a 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine that’s mated to an electric motor for a combined output of 121 hp. No, it’s not fast, but it sure is efficient. According to the EPA, the Corolla Hybrid can return up to 53 mpg in the city and 52 mpg on the highway.

That’s impressive, to say the least. And it also goes to show that although there are plenty of compact sedans to choose from in the segment, the Toyota Corolla is by far the best choice for saving gas. Don’t get us wrong, the Nissan Sentra is still a great choice as well.


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