Despite winning North American Car of the Year, the new Honda Civic didn’t wow Consumer Reports as much as the 2022 Nissan Sentra impressed the site. When it comes to affordable vehicles under $25,000, the Sentra is one of the best small cars.
So, what makes the Nissan Sentra better than the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, and all other compact cars on the list? Here’s what Consumer Reports says.
What makes the 2022 Nissan Sentra a Consumer Reports favorite?
With an overall rating of 77 out of 100, the 2022 Nissan Sentra places second out of seven compact cars in “Best New Cars Under $25,000 From Consumer Reports’ Tests.” CR’s reviewers think highly of the Sentra thanks to the gas mileage they got while test driving their model.
According to Consumer Reports, the tested 2022 Sentra got 32 mpg combined and a whopping 44 mpg on the highway. CR’s testers like its comfortable ride and nimble handling. In addition, the car’s leather-upholstered seating and plenty of rear legroom pleasantly surprised reviewers.
Starting prices range from $19,000 for the S trim to $22,200 for the SR, making the 2022 Nissan Sentra one of the most affordable compact models.
For that price, buyers get plenty of standard features. They include Nissan’s Safety Shield 360 suite of driver’s aids such as forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking.
How the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic compare to the Nissan Sentra
The 2022 Toyota Corolla received an overall CR score of 73, enough to rank it fourth on CR’s list of the best new cars under $25,000. Consumer Reports’ testers got an impressive 48 mpg overall in the hybrid version. Otherwise, the standard model got 33 mpg combined.
The Corolla also boasts excellent reliability and agile handling. But its rear seat area doesn’t have as much legroom as the Sentra, nor is it as easily accessible. The 2022 Corolla starts at $20,175 to $28,460.
The 2022 Honda Civic scored a bit lower, with 70 points, putting it in sixth place on the list of cars under $25,000. Like the others, it also offers excellent fuel economy, with a rating of 33 mpg combined. Other perks include a choice between a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and a more powerful 1.5-liter turbo-four. Plus, it has wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
However, Consumer Reports’ testers thought the Civic’s ride was stiff and the road noise overwhelming, making longer trips a bit of a headache. The Touring trim is much quieter but costs much more, around $29,850 — about $7,000 more than the base model and excluding it from the list of best cars under $25,000.
Other compact cars on Consumer Reports’ list of the best vehicles under $25,000
The best-rated compact car in Consumer Reports’ roundup is the 2022 Subaru Impreza, which earned an overall 81 — four points higher than the 2022 Nissan Sentra.
When it comes to fuel economy, the Impreza can get around 30 mpg combined. That’s impressive for a car with standard all-wheel drive. As for price, expect to pay anywhere from $18,795 to $26,395.
One spot below the Nissan Sentra is the third-place 2022 Hyundai Elantra with 76 overall. Its greatest asset is arguably its fuel economy. For only $19,950 to $33,400 depending upon the trim level, the Elantra gets up to 48 mpg combined.
The Volkswagen Jetta scored a 73 from CR. As far as fuel economy, it can get up to 54 mpg on the highway but only 21 mpg in the city. This model is pretty affordable, ranging from $20,195 to $27,795.
The last one on the list is the Mazda3 with a score of 69. It’s sportier than the others, so its gas mileage is a bit lower, at 30 mpg combined. Expect to pay about $20,800 for the base model and $34,400 for the highest level trim.
Overall, the 2022 Nissan Sentra has plenty to offer shoppers looking for a compact car. It’s among the best under $25,000. Plus, you’ll save money at the pump, especially compared with similarly priced rivals.