2011 Mazda
3 i Touring
vs. 2011 Nissan
Sentra SL

2011 Mazda 3 i Touring

9.7

starting from

$19,745
"Energetic 2.5-liter engine."
edmunds.com | talking about the 3's engine
"A five-speed automatic is optional."
edmunds.com | talking about the 3's transmission

Reasons to buy the Mazda 3 i Touring

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Tighter turning radius
17.1 ft
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OK brakes
Disc
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Average number of gears
5
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Better suspension
Independent
2011 Nissan Sentra SL

9.5

Runner-up

Nissan Sentra SL

starting from

$20,150

Reasons to buy the Nissan Sentra SL

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Has continuously-variable transmission
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Spacious front seats
56.7 ft3
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Lengthy braking distance from 60mph
135 ft
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Navigation system
Optional
Performance 10.0 vs 7.4
2011 Mazda 3 i Touring Winner: 3 i Touring
[details]
  • The 3 i Touring needs 2.1x less space to turn, 17.1 ft vs 35.4 ft
  • The 3 i Touring has 5 more gears, which can improve performance, 5 vs Continuously variable
  • The 3 i Touring's Semi-automatic transmission offers the best driving experience, Semi-automatic transmission vs Automatic transmission
Luxury Features 8.2 vs 10.0
2011 Nissan Sentra SL Winner: Sentra SL
[details]
  • Have your choice of leather or cloth seats on the Sentra SL
Crash Test Ratings 10.0 vs 9.1
2011 Mazda 3 i Touring Winner: 3 i Touring
[details]
  • The 3 i Touring has 2.1x less risk of serious injury, 5 stars vs 4 stars
Practicality 9.6 vs 10.0
2011 Nissan Sentra SL Winner: Sentra SL
[details]
  • The Sentra SL offers an optional navigation system; not available on the 3 i Touring
  • Passengers in front seats enjoy around 10% more room, 56.7 ft3 vs 51.9 ft3
  • Almost the same, 493 miles vs 479 miles
Cost 10.0 vs 10.0
Too close to call
[details]
  • Inexpensive
  • Shorter-lasting basic warranty
  • Shorter basic warranty
Safety Features 10.0 vs 10.0
Too close to call
[details]
  • Child door locks come standard
Entertainment System 10.0 vs 10.0
Too close to call
[details]
  • Both have speed-sensitive volume
  • Neither offers an entertainment system
  • Neither has a subwoofer; audio won't have that deep thumping bass sound
Road Tests - vs -
Missing information
[details]
  • Both have pokey 1/4 mile times
  • Both have sluggish 0-60 times
  • Both take longer to stop from 60mph
Overall 9.7 vs 9.5

Performance

Mazda
3 i Touring
2011 Mazda 3 i Touring
2011 Nissan Sentra SL Nissan
Sentra SL
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Horsepower 148 HP @ 6,500 RPM vs 140 HP @ 5,100 RPM Underpowered
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Number of gears 5 vs Continuously variable The 3 i Touring has an OK number of gears, while the Sentra SL has very few
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Transmission Semi-automatic transmission vs Automatic transmission The 3 i Touring's semi-automatic transmission is a rare find for this class of vehicle
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paddle shifters Not Available vs Not Available Neither offers paddle shifters
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Air compressor None vs None Neither has an air compressor to maximize power output
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Power-to-weight ratio 19.7 lb/hp vs 21.3 lb/hp Both 3 i Touring and Sentra SL are sluggish relative to their competitors
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Drivetrain type front-wheel drive vs front-wheel drive Neither has a good drivetrain for off-road or bad weather driving
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Curb-to-curb turning radius 17.1 ft vs 35.4 ft The 3 i Touring turns on a dime, and the Sentra SL is comparable to most other vehicles

Luxury Features

Mazda
3 i Touring
2011 Mazda 3 i Touring
2011 Nissan Sentra SL Nissan
Sentra SL
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moon roof Not Available vs Not Available Neither offers a sun roof
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power seats Not Available vs Not Available Neither has a power seat option
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keyless entry Standard vs Standard Both have keyless entry
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leather Not Available vs Optional Have your choice of leather or cloth seats on the Sentra SL

Crash Test Ratings

Mazda
3 i Touring
2011 Mazda 3 i Touring
2011 Nissan Sentra SL Nissan
Sentra SL
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Rollover resistance 4 stars vs 4 stars Poor protection, 10% to 20% chance of rolling over during emergency lane change
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Front driver crash test 5 stars vs 4 stars The better is 2.1x safer than the Sentra SL
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Driver side crash test 5 stars vs 5 stars Good protection, only 5% chance of serious chest injuries in a crash

Practicality

Mazda
3 i Touring
2011 Mazda 3 i Touring
2011 Nissan Sentra SL Nissan
Sentra SL
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Passengers 5 vs 5 Average number of seats
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Highway driving range 479 miles vs 493 miles Average highway range
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Cargo space 11.8 ft3 vs 13.1 ft3 Both have OK cargo room
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front seats 51.9 ft3 vs 56.7 ft3 The Sentra SL has roomy front seats and the 3 i Touring is OK
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folding rear seats Standard vs Standard Both have a rear seat that folds down for extra storage space
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power outlets Standard vs Standard Both have power outlets
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roof rails Not Available vs Not Available Neither offers roof rails
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navigation system Not Available vs Optional The Sentra SL offers an optional navigation system; not available on the 3 i Touring
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Cupholders 8 vs 4 The 3 i Touring has an absurd number of cupholders, 2 extra in front and 2 extra in rear
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front air conditioning Standard vs Standard A/C for hot summer days comes standard

Cost

Mazda
3 i Touring
2011 Mazda 3 i Touring
2011 Nissan Sentra SL Nissan
Sentra SL
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MSRP $19,745 vs $20,150 Inexpensive
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In-city gas mileage 24 mpg vs 27 mpg The Sentra SL has great city mileage and the 3 i Touring is pretty reasonable
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basic warranty miles 36,000 mile vs 36,000 mile Shorter basic warranty
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basic warranty years 3 year vs 3 year Shorter-lasting basic warranty

Safety Features

Mazda
3 i Touring
2011 Mazda 3 i Touring
2011 Nissan Sentra SL Nissan
Sentra SL
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antilock brakes Standard vs Standard Both come standard with ABS brakes
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Stability control system Yes vs Yes Both have electronic stability control
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Airbags 5 vs 5 OK number of airbags
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Rear brakes Disc vs Drum The 3 i Touring has good brakes for high-performance driving
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child door locks Standard vs Standard Child door locks come standard
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Roadside assistance system None vs None

Entertainment System

Mazda
3 i Touring
2011 Mazda 3 i Touring
2011 Nissan Sentra SL Nissan
Sentra SL
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Number of speakers 6 vs 6 Fewer speakers
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Has speed sensitive volume Yes vs Yes Both have speed-sensitive volume
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CD player Standard vs Standard CD player comes standard
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premium radio Optional vs Optional Both can be upgraded to include satellite radio
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Has auxiliary audio input Yes vs Yes Both have an audio-in jack so you can plug in your own MP3 player to the stereo
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Has subwoofer No vs No Neither has a subwoofer; audio won't have that deep thumping bass sound
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entertainment system Not Available vs Not Available Neither offers an entertainment system

Road Tests

Mazda
3 i Touring
2011 Mazda 3 i Touring
2011 Nissan Sentra SL Nissan
Sentra SL
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0-60 mph 9.4 seconds vs 9.7 seconds Both have sluggish 0-60 times
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Braking distance at 60mph 145 ft vs 135 ft Both take longer to stop from 60mph
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1/4 mile 17.2 s @ 83 mph vs 17.5 s @ 80 mph Both have pokey 1/4 mile times
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Lateral acceleration 0.81 g vs Unknown
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Top speed Unknown vs Unknown

Other Vehicles to Consider

2011 Mazda 3 i Touring 2011 Mazda 2 Touring 3 i Touring vs 2 Touring
2011 Mazda 3 s Grand Touring 2011 BMW 328i 3 s Grand Touring vs 328i
2011 Mazda 3 i SV 2011 Toyota Yaris 3 i SV vs Yaris
2011 Mazda 3 i Sport 2011 MINI Cooper S 3 i Sport vs Cooper S
2011 Mazda 3 i Touring 2011 Toyota Prius Two 3 i Touring vs Prius Two
2011 Nissan Sentra 2011 Nissan Versa Sentra vs Versa
2011 Nissan Sentra 2011 Toyota Corolla Sentra vs Corolla
2011 Nissan Sentra 2011 Toyota Yaris Sentra vs Yaris
2011 Nissan Sentra SL 2011 Toyota Prius Three Sentra SL vs Prius Three
2011 Nissan Sentra 2011 Honda Fit Sport Sentra vs Fit Sport

Comments Which car would you recommend, and why?

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