2018 Ford Focus vs Nissan Sentra

May 30th, 2018 by

2018 Ford Focus vs Nissan Sentra

Even though compact cars are not getting as much attention now, there are some very good models out there. The 2018 Ford Focus is one that probably springs to mind for most people, so let’s see how it stacks up against this year’s Nissan Sentra.

Exterior Styling

The Focus comes in hatch and sedan body styles, while the Sentra is strictly a sedan-only model. Unlike some of Ford’s compact rivals, the Nissan can be dressed-up in quite a sporty form in SR Turbo and Nismo trim levels.

2018 Ford Focus Exterior

But the Focus in ST and RS form looks more organic compared to the sporty Sentra models, which tend to look like regular models with some stuff added on. The Sentra is more attractive than it used to be, but it’s not in the same league as the Focus.

Performance

The Sentra makes buyers sit up and take notice as its standard powerplant is a sizeable 1.8-liter four-cylinder unit. However, it only produces a disappointing 124 horsepower that’s easily eclipsed by the Ford’s standard 160-horsepower four-cylinder. Even SR and Nismo versions of the Sentra can only muster a mere 177 horsepower, while the Focus ST boasts 240 horsepower and the RS offers a positively mental 350 horsepower. Chalk up another easy win for the Ford Focus.

2018 Nissan Sentra

Fuel Economy

The Sentra’s relative lack of power means it’s got decent fuel economy. The Nissan is rated by the EPA at 29 mpg in the city, 37 mpg on the highway and 32 mpg combined with the CVT. But opting for the manual transmission sees those numbers drop to 27/35/30 mpg. If you go for the Focus with Ford’s globally award-winning 1.0-liter three-cylinder EcoBoost engine it gets numbers as good as 30 mpg in the city, 40 mpg on the highway and 34 mpg combined, which means another victory for the Focus.

Bang for your Buck

At the entry level, the Nissan costs about a thousand dollars less than the Ford Focus, so that immediately puts the Sentra in the good. Equipment levels are very similar between the two, so the one-grand difference begins to look even bigger.

2018 Ford Focus Interior

But speaking of bigger, there’s more passenger volume inside the Sentra and it also has a bigger trunk to accommodate more cargo. But it’s legroom where the Nissan really comes into its own with more in the front and more than four inches extra in the back for rear seat passengers, and that delivers a win at last for the Sentra.

Verdict

It’s as if the Nissan Sentra in some ways is trying to be the 2018 Ford Focus, but not quite pulling it off. It can be dressed up in a quite sporty form in SR Turbo and Nismo trim levels, but the performance falls short of the look. Although the Focus is smaller inside than the Sentra, the Ford beats the Nissan in just about every other way, so this is a clear victory for the Focus.

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