Battle of the Compacts: 2018 Nissan Sentra vs. 2018 Mazda3

Battle of the Compacts: 2018 Nissan Sentra vs. 2018 Mazda3

Posted September 24, 2018

Identity crisis question: What kind of driver are you, and what do you value in car?

Surprisingly, most drivers (present company included) have a hard time immediately answering this question. It requires introspection and a reality check. You might like to fantasize about scorching the asphalt in a hot 370z and showing up the Fast ‘n Furious kids or cruising above I-5 traffic in your own Jetson’s mobile, but in reality you probably require much less. Unless it’s a flying car. How cool would that be? But I digress…

And thus, we compare the 2018 Sentra to the 2018 Mazda3. The base model of the Mazda3 is better equipped for the daydreamers of the world. However, the Sentra is drastically better equipped for those of us that live in the real world. The Sentra is roomier, quieter, more comfortable, more practical, and more affordable than the Mazda3. And, incredibly, its Turbo and Nismo models have more power too.

Comparison over, right? Wrong. There is more to this comparison of seemingly practical compact cars.

But Seriously, the Sentra or Mazda3, Which is Better?

If it was only that simple.

The baseline starting price for the Sentra is $17,885, which is nearly $1,000 lower than the Mazda3. That is a significant difference, especially when you consider that various trim options send the Mazda3 soaring significantly higher.
Also, despite its lower price, the Sentra is actually a more comfortable ride. Significantly more – we invite you to try it.

Notably, the Sentra boasts a taller frame than the Mazda3, and therefore delivers more headroom to its drivers while also giving them a more ideal vantage point. Conversely, the Mazda3 feels particularly cramped. It is arguably the smallest and least comfortable ride of all sedans within this class. As a result, those with vertical surpluses  can categorically rule out the Mazda3. It’s simply not big enough for tall people.

Furthermore, if you frequently accommodate adult passengers, there is absolutely no competition. The 2018 Sentra is like the Lebron James of passenger legroom within this particular class, whereas the Mazda3 is more like the struggling bench player. Someday, with enough practice and persistence, the Mazda3 might become a legitimate player in this category. But we don’t count on it. In addition to Mazda3 passengers frequently feeling uncomfortable, they also feel annoyed by its metal machine music. The Mazda3 is a consistently loud car, so we hope you enjoy a little (a lot) of rattle and bang with your conversations. If not, you’ll surely prefer the 2018 Sentra, which utilizes acoustic glass and other noise minimizing features to deliver a nearly silky quiet experience.

Worried about cargo space? In the Mazda3 you should be. Its 12 cubic feet of trunk space is wholly inadequate compared to the 15.1 cubic feet in the Sentra.

But What About Power? I Feel the Need for Speed!

Time to have cake. Then eat it, too. That’s because the Nissan Sentra’s Turbo and Nismo models are stashing 188 horses under the hood, versus only 155 or so in the Mazda3. Wild horses can’t drag us away, but they can certainly drag the Sentra ahead of the Mazda3 in a drag race. When you pile that fact on top of all the other features we’ve mentioned, we’re pretty sure you’re enjoying that cake.

2018 Nissan Sentra Nismo

Which Car Should I Buy?

Some writers easily get swept away in a series of accolades. I am not that kind of writer. Yes – the Mazda3 is certainly making waves. Yes – some of those accolades are entirely deserved. But the 2018 Sentra is the more intelligent choice for the vast majority of drivers in the world. In the real world. Call Dick Hannah Nissan for a test drive.

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