Switched my Prius Prime to Nissan Sentra... and was pleasantly surprised

Discussion in 'Prime Main Forum (2017-Current)' started by Salamander_King, Jan 18, 2022.

  1. Salamander_King

    Salamander_King Senior Member

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    I dropped off my 2021 Prius Prime Ltd and picked up a 2021 Nissan Sentra SV yesterday. No, it was not a trade-in. I had to take my PP for a long waited appointment (almost 3 mo) for body repair work yesterday. The rental arrangement was made to swap the car at the body shop. Although I asked for a hybrid or plug-in, they did not have any. The only car they could offer me was a standard no-frill 2021 Nissan Sentra SV.

    Well, the last non-hybrid car I have driven was a Nissan Maxima almost 5 years ago which was also a rental while my HCH that was driven by my son was in an accident. But I drove that car only 1 day for ~40 miles. And my impression was that the car was way too heavy and too fast and powerful for my ordinally daily driving need. No, I definitely do not care for performance cars. We also had a 2005 Sienna which was driven till ~5 years ago. Besides those two, I have to go back over 10 years to my previous regular Civic for a conventional gas engine-only compact car.

    I thought I did not like non-hybrid compact cars anymore, mainly for their fuel consumption. But to my surprise, Nissan Sentra was exceptionally fuel-efficient. Almost 40 MPG in ~50 miles drive in the middle of a snowstorm. The handling was very responsive and nimble maneuverability and peppy acceleration made it fun to drive even on snow without snow tires. Although it did take a bit to learn the layout, the cockpit design is intuitive, at least for an old-timer who is accustomed to analog gauges. The seat and overall ergonomic was super comfortable for my small body size. The visibility was good and the instrumental display was easy to read and operate. All this without having absolutely no prior knowledge of the car. At no point, I felt unsafe or uncomfortable driving this small gem. My first impression was that if I am picking a car just to drive from point A to point B without consideration for the fuel use, I'd rather drive Nissan Sentra than Prius Prime. Especially considering the cost of the car at ~$20K MSRP.

    Yeah, it's strange I am saying this on the PriusChat thread. But has anyone had a similar surprise impression of long-forgotten gas engine cars after driving Prius so long?

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  2. Rmay635703

    Rmay635703 Senior Member

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    I still like little stick shift econoboxes

    Consider my Cobalt XFE could still break 50mpg summer on slow country roads,

    yes I’m fine with non-hybrids, it’s unfortunate small efficient cars are getting so rare (not new)
     
  3. Salamander_King

    Salamander_King Senior Member

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    Yeah, if I don't need larger cargo space, small cars would be fine for my daily drive. What surprised me most was how secure I felt in the smaller and lighter Sentra driving on snow without snow tires compared to my PP. My PP was throwing a fit with all kinds of error messages with sensors covered with snow and mud. Didn't have any of that on my way back. LOL
     
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  4. john1701a

    john1701a Prius Guru

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    That is why both Corolla and Corolla hybrid are so popular.

    The look & feel for the driver is nearly identical for Corolla Cross as well, an intentional move by Toyota to appeal to customers who like those traits.
     
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  5. fotomoto

    fotomoto Senior Member

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    With 3 PHEV’s and one ICE, yes, yes I do. ;)

    A few years back, I happened to rent both a Sentra and Corolla and was very surprised that the Sentra was not only a better driver, it also got better real world fuel economy than the ‘rolla.

    As always, YMMV.
     
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  6. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Underfoot

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    The dash display of mpg maybe be BS'ing some, if they follow in Toyota's footsteps. But yeah I concur, the gassers are catching up in a lot of ways.
     
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  7. Salamander_King

    Salamander_King Senior Member

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    Agreed. Our other Nissan (Pathfinder Hybrid) display is on the optimistic side as you suspected, just as optimistic as Prius or PP display. I will not be driving this rental for long enough to find out real mpg though. Even say it is 10% optimistic, it still is 36mpg on snow in sub-freezing temp. That's pretty good, IMOH.
     
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  8. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    Can't say I've been in the Sentra lately but your report is not surprising. I rent a lot of cars for work travel, and some fraction of them are inexpensive compact cars. Lots of good choices. Our old Hyundai Accent gave 35mpg without trying, and that was the old model with 4-speed auto.

    That car got 2 more gears in later model years, and most of its competition is either 6+ gears or CVT. 40mpg really isn't hard for anyone anymore.
     
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  9. BiomedO1

    BiomedO1 Active Member

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    My old early 90's honda civic HX didn't have any issues yielding a real world 50 miles/gal. That was calculated on fill-ups and it was pretty consistent. Of course I'd loose a few miles on winter blend.
     
  10. Rmay635703

    Rmay635703 Senior Member

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    Reminds me of the 50mpg VW diesel Pickup, sad we can’t make little tugs like that anymore
     
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  11. don_chuwish

    don_chuwish Well Seasoned Member

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    I wish I could go back and drive my old '85 Honda CRX. I wasn't concerned with mpg back then but I remember it was very good and still a blast to drive with the manual transmission. There were a few melted spark plugs...
     
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  12. vvillovv

    vvillovv Senior Member

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    I didn't like the Sentra rental when my Prime went the the body shop a couple years ago. The rental company wanted to know how they were doing and wouldn't take anything but a 5 star rating as acceptable, which I couldn't car less about anyway. I set the sentra's mpg record or 47 mpg after filling it up the evening before I returned the car, in 3 miles from gas station to home. I counldn't care less about that either, no big woop!

    I wouldn't accept the sentra a second time when insurance released a rental for a week . - and had to go elsewhere. I got a 2020 Prius that time, which was more in line with what I wanted, but I didn't need it for a week and I got gouged turning it in early, even after the agent said I'd get reimbursed for the days not used if I turned it in early, around $50 after 2 days and 2 hours of a weekly rental. I'll never do that again, and even asked to the car back to complete the weekly rental after seeing the charges, which was refused.
    I was shocked and the rental company didn't care and was annoyed I even bothered to ask if the chargers were in line with there refund policy. (not to my face, but as I was walking away from the agent that rented the car and the second rental employee I was handed off to after the agent ran the numbers on scrap paper).

    I'm glad you liked your sentra salamander ! But I didn't like them at all. The SV has some new tech for turning the engine off when stopped, and a cute mpg guage that is about as useful and the Primes GOM,.but that's about it. IMO

    edit: it'll be interesting to me to see how long the sentra sv's will last in the wild and how much their resale value will hold for 5 to 10 years, if any of them make it to 10.
     
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  13. Salamander_King

    Salamander_King Senior Member

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    Yeah, I don't have any record of mpg for my ICE Civic which was a 1998 Civic LX, driven almost 10 years before sold when rust overtook the car. I vaguely remember them to be above 30mpg, but I don't think I got as good as @BiomedO1. My OCD milage data-keeping habit didn't start until my first purchase of a hybrid (2008 HCH purchased used). But even HCH had an average of 43.1mpg for ~85kmiles driven before totaled. Of course, in our region, winter mpg is substantially lower than summer mpg.

    The graph is from every single gas fill-up, 212 total, on the HCH for the 6+ years I owned the car. The red data point indicates the winter tire change over. A very clear trend was that the winter months had almost 30% lower mpg than the summertime.

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  14. vvillovv

    vvillovv Senior Member

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    HCH2 likes 85 - 90 F best in my experience of the last 16 years, I'm not sure if your HCH2 got the IMA updated around 2012, but the winter behavior was an IMA killer. The car drains off charge from the battery pack when the pack is freezing cold at the touch of the gas pedal. Something I believe all prius do much better at. It's possible to baby the car in t he warmer months, but unless the pack is heated before starting the car the battery gets kanackered as soon as the car starts moving forward, (reverse is different),
     
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  15. Salamander_King

    Salamander_King Senior Member

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    Of course, my 2008 HCH had the original battery that was prone to early demiss. You can clearly see the trend that I was not able to get above 45mpg on the car even in the summertime toward the later years of my ownership. I was driving with a failing IMA battery then. I had the battery replaced free of charge under warranty just before the expiration of the 10years/150Kmiles warranty period when the IMA light lit up, but unfortunately, the car was totaled by my son before seeing any mpg recovery.

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  16. vvillovv

    vvillovv Senior Member

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    I've seen 2 other 2006-2009 HCH2's localling these last 2 months after not noticing any for several years on the road locally. I'm amazed to see others still on the road after mine was turned into a mechanics special after it's last under warranty service in Sept. 2012. I'm sure there are still some half way decent packs around, but finding them is like finding a needle in a haystack. Even if completely rebuilt a pack using newer modules (stick pairs) from smaller 100 volt packs from both 2012 - 2014 insight gen 2 or CRZ's of that vintage is both expensive and seldom a guaranteed of even a few years service..

    The class action suit in cali regarding the HCH2 not being able to get EPA mileage in cali traffic didn't help Honda or the HCH2's life cycle.
     
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  17. BiomedO1

    BiomedO1 Active Member

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    Yea, owned a brand new 2006 HCH too - I wanted my old civic HX back with close to 300K on it!!!! The best I could do was 48 mpg - only once. It averaged mid to low 40's. It was slow and wasn't fun to drive. Battery pack was replaced under warranty around 70K, after I flogged it for a week. First time I popped the battery code, the dealer stated they wouldn't replace the pack unless it threw the code again.
    After the pack was replaced, I traded it in for a Prius C.
     
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  18. Sarge

    Sarge Senior Member

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    The last gasser we owned was in 2016, which was my wife’s Kia Rio before trading it in for the Leaf. Since then, the only real time I have driven gassers are the two times we rented minivans for road trips down to Florida with 6 people (once with Caravan, and then Sienna). But that’s about it.

    That said, the the main gasser feature I miss with Toyota HSD is a manual transmission… I had a 5-speed Acura Integra (1996) before getting my Gen 2 in 2006 (as we started our family…) and I loved driving that car; the shifting was so effortless, and I do miss the experience of driving stick sometimes. (FWIW, I tracked about 28-30MPG in that car…)

    A few years ago, the wife and I took a trip to Ireland and we rented a little Skoda Fabia for a driving tour of the country (and yes, I specifically wanted something SMALL and with a stick, for the real European experience ;)). It didn’t disappoint. It was quite an experience driving on the “wrong” side of the road and a stick, which I hadn’t driven in ~10 years. That said, I am proud to say I never stalled it or hit anything, after logging 800km over 5 days. So that’s a win in my books. :cool::ROFLMAO:
     
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  19. privilege

    privilege Active Member

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    yup, gas cars are fun... comparing a new gas car to one from 10-20 years ago...

    handling is awesome, sounds deadening is amazing, ride great, but man those infotainment screens are garbage
     
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  20. PiPLosAngeles

    PiPLosAngeles Senior Member

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    I'm surprised. My experience with the Leaf soured me on the Nissan brand altogether. I've driven a lot of cars over the years, but I've never driven one that was as poorly put together and just "cheap" as the Leaf. Body panels misaligned, blurry backup camera, lane change assist that didn't work properly, an HVAC system that malfunctioned regularly, and lots of annoyances like Bluetooth audio not muting when receiving a call, or the radio turning on every time the car starts even if it was off when the car was shut down, not being able to turn the radio down while in reverse. Perhaps Nissan just cuts a lot of corners on the Leaf to try and keep the price down.
     
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