Sentra photo: Nissanusa.com
Building on the model’s stellar track record of offering comfort, safety, and value, Honda has crafted perhaps the best one to date in the new Civic. With a sleek profile that is only bested by an even sleeker interior, the 2016 Honda Civic has sent shivers down the spines of many a rival. But is the 2016 Sentra the exception? Could Nissan’s four-door economy car put up a fight against what surely is the frontrunner in the segment?
At South Florida Honda Dealers, we certainly aren’t opposed to proving our claim that the 2016 Civic is the king of the ring. Read on to see why our Honda dealerships near Coral Springs and Miami aren’t shying away from supporting the new Civic against the Sentra—or any other class competitor, for that matter.
Not All Interiors Are Made the Same
Completely redesigned, the cabin of the 2016 Civic is what all cars in this segment should aim for. The cockpit feels upscale and proves that Honda engineers are experts in hiding the inevitable cost-cutting associated with economy and compact cars. Front bucket seats feel tailor-made to accommodate any driver or passenger. Power-adjustable driver’s seats and a telescoping steering column makes finding the ideal seating position simple.
An improvement from older models, the new Civic’s dash is silky smooth, flowing from the thick grade on the driver’s side to a thinner, more evolved layout above the glove box. Gone too is the dual-level structure that accompanied previous Civics, replaced now by a single area dedicated to the infotainment center and controls. The standard 5.0-inch touchscreen—a 7.0-inch version comes standard in all models above the base LX, and includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto—is brightly lit and thoughtfully constructed for ease-of-use.
Best yet is the clever center console; the storage bin is customizable, allowing you to toggle between a variety of layouts, including the standard padded armrest, tablet stowage, cupholder tray, or key storage. Behind the shifter is a nifty spot for smartphones, as well.
The 2016 Nissan Sentra’s interior, for all intents and purposes, fails to impress, suffering from a plethora of disappointing miscues. Last redesigned in 2013, the Sentra has a cabin that feels like that of an economy car, with a plain dash and minuscule “updated” touchscreen at only 5.8 inches (compared to the Civic’s 7-inch screen). Bluetooth audio is not standard on the Sentra base model as it is on the 2016 Civic. Seat comfort and height is subpar even in the high-end trims with leather upholstery, which some would argue feels more like “pleather.” The Sentra’s cabin quality is class-competitive, but only at the lowest of price ranges, while the Honda Civic is certainly bordering on luxury.
In all, the 2016 Sentra is simply participating in this race with respect to its interior quality. The Honda Civic is the hands-down winner in this category with an interior that looks, feels, and functions more like that of a luxury car.
The 2016 Civic Excels in Performance
The 2016 Civic comes with two engine options: A 2.0L inline-4 that makes 158 horsepower and a turbo 1.5L rated at 174 hp.
The 2.0L is newly designed, but it feels refreshingly familiar if you’re a Honda enthusiast. Power is delivered unobtrusively, meaning ride quality and handling is impeccable, aided by a dual-pin electric steering column and hydraulic suspension. Firm brakes react swiftly to pedal pressure during panicked stops, too. At just under 3000 pounds, the Civic is made even quicker with the 1.5-liter engine and its 174 horsepower. The engine cranks and sounds energetic at full go, and is best paired with Honda’s CVT in Sport mode. For improved fuel economy and a serenely quiet ride, pop it into Econ mode for slower throttle advancement. Speaking of fuel economy, both of these engines have comparable EPA ratings, which top out at 31 city/41 highway MPG on the 2.0L inline-4.
One of the big drawbacks with the 2016 Nissan Sentra is its sluggish engine—yes, there’s just one option across the lineup. Its 1.8L four-cylinder creates a lackluster 130 horsepower, so you’ll have to have a great deal of patience when passing on the interstate. The CVT is improved from older Sentra models, but it’s not nearly enough to make shifting feel fluid. Average EPA ratings of 29 city/38 highway MPG are solid, but not within those at the top of the class.
With only one engine choice, the Sentra offers average performance at best, while the 2016 Civic makes waves with two powerful and charismatic four-cylinders.
Only One Offers the Best in Safety Standards
Honda has achieved high marks in safety with nearly every model, and the 2016 Honda Civic is no exception.
Earning an overall five-star rating by the NHTSA, the new Civic easily beats the Sentra’s four-star rating. Scoring only average safety rankings in frontal impact and rollover categories, the 2016 Sentra offers few safety measures to passengers and is less reliable than the Civic. In fact, to improve its standing as one of the most respected safety-conscious manufacturers, Honda has uncoupled advanced HondaSensing safety features from just top trims of the Civic, so even base LX models can be purchased with features like lane-departure alert or automatic braking.
The Civic Throws a Knockout Blow to the Sentra
Car and Driver best reflects our view in its review of the Sentra: “it may seem as if we’re clobbering the Sentra like a slow pitch over home plate, but rarely do we encounter a car so lackluster in execution, performance, styling, and general refinement relative to its competitors. Judged by any measures but price and roominess, the Sentra disappoints.”
The 2016 Honda Civic is perhaps the best model to come along in years. Its beautiful shape is only equaled by its vivacious cabin, and with top-in-class performance and safety ratings, the Civic is leaps and bounds better than the Sentra.
If you’re ready to test drive the 2016 Civic or the newly available 2017 Civic sedan, coupe, or hatchback, visit your nearest South Florida Honda Dealer. With convenient car dealerships located near Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Hollywood, and other South Florida areas, we’re always ready to help you locate a great price on a dream car.