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A white 2021 Nissan Sentra is shown from the front driving on a city street after winning a 2021 Nissan Sentra vs 2021 Subaru Impreza comparison.

2021 Nissan Sentra vs 2021 Subaru Impreza: Which One Will Upgrade Your Commute?

Did you know that the Nissan Sentra was named one of the “10 Best Cars for Recent College Graduates” by Autotrader? This inclusion reflects the Sentra’s affordability, reliability, and overall value, all of which are vital to young professionals who are busy building their careers. That career, of course, requires you to spend some time on the road for your commute, and that’s likely what inspired your search that slates the 2021 Nissan Sentra vs 2021 Subaru Impreza, two of the most popular affordable sedans on the road today.

How do the models compare? Nissan and Subaru have stellar reputations in the industry, but you’ll soon discover why the 2021 Sentra outshines the 2021 Impreza. From its recent redesign to offering the most standard safety features in its class, here’s a better look at how the Sentra pushes ahead of the Impreza to earn a top ranking as the best sedan for young professionals across the country.

Safety: A Top Priority

You already have a lot to worry about, which is why Nissan and Subaru go to great lengths to give you peace of mind when you’re behind the wheel. For Nissan, that peace of mind looks a little different, with the Sentra offering the most standard safety features in its class courtesy of the Nissan Safety Shield 360 suite and a variety of active and passive safety tools. For Subaru, the Impreza’s safety features are centralized in the EyeSight Driver Assist Technology suite.

The Sentra’s Nissan Safety Shield 360 includes Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, which constantly monitors traffic ahead of the sedan and can bring the vehicle to a stop if a collision is imminent. Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Rear Automatic Braking work similarly and monitor the rear of the vehicle while Blind Spot Warning keeps an eye on your blind spots, and Lane Departure Warning allows you to change lanes with confidence. High Beam Assist enhances your visibility and minimizes the potential of blinding oncoming traffic by dimming and brightening the high beams as needed.

Along with Nissan’s Advanced Air Bag System, three-point seatbelts, and child safety features, you’ll find a host of other safety tools, including a tire pressure monitoring system and Intelligent Driver Alertness. That last feature monitors your focus on the road ahead and encourages you to take breaks when you are tired. The available Intelligent Cruise Control constantly monitors the flow of traffic and adjusts your cruising speed as needed, while the Intelligent Forward Collision Warning looks two cars ahead, and the Intelligent Around View Monitor gives you a 360-degree view around the sedan. Between these features and the Nissan Safety Shield 360, there’s no question why the Sentra ranks high for safety and driver-assist technology.

How does the 2021 Subaru Impreza compare? With the Sentra offering the most standard safety features in its class, it’s not surprising that the Impreza comes up a little short in this category. The Impreza comes standard with common safety features like anti-lock brakes, Vehicle Dynamics Control, and Brake Assist. The sedan is also equipped with EyeSight Driver Assist Technology, a suite of driver-assist tools that includes a Pre-Collision Braking System, Pre-Collision Throttle Management, Lane Departure, and Sway Warning with Lane Keep Assist. Reverse automatic braking and automatic high beams are only standard on the top-tier Limited trim.

A blue 2021 Subaru Impreza Limited is shown from the side parked in a dirt lot.

Performance and Efficiency

With safety addressed, the next question is how the 2021 Sentra and the 2021 Impreza perform. As compact sedans, you can bet on their efficiency and maneuverability, but one has to lead the other. In this case, the Nissan once again takes the lead with its upgraded engine and optimal efficiency that makes the sedan fun to drive and puts more money in your wallet.

Nissan updated the Sentra’s former 1.8-liter engine to a 2.0-liter four-cylinder for 2021. Mated to an Xtronic transmission for smoother shifting, the pairing boosts the Sentra’s power and torque to 149 horsepower and 146 lb-ft, a noticeable increase over the previous engine. As far as numbers go, the Sentra’s power is slightly less than the 2021 Impreza. The Impreza is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder boxer engine that delivers 152 horsepower and 145 lb-ft of torque. But is this enough power to make a difference in handling?

Nissan lowered the Sentra’s center of gravity, updated its power steering system and braking, and added a new rear suspension and a MacPherson strut front suspension to improve the sedan’s handling and ride quality. These improvements make the Sentra quick to accelerate, easier to control, and more fun to drive than its Subaru counterpart. Unsurprisingly, the Sentra is also more efficient, with Nissan’s popular sedan averaging 29 mpg in the city and 39 mpg on the highway, while the Impreza averages 28 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway, meaning you’ll have to stop for fuel more frequently in the Subaru.

Connectivity and Infotainment

Whether your commute is 10 minutes, 45 minutes, or longer, your time behind the wheel should be enjoyable. Nissan and Subaru make this possible with a variety of cutting-edge technology and digital displays that put everything you need at your fingertips. The biggest difference you’ll find between the 2021 Sentra and the 2021 Impreza in this category is the standard display size and available upgrades.

The 2021 Sentra comes standard with a 4.2-inch digital multi-information driver’s display and a 7.0-inch color touchscreen display. The digital driver’s display gives you a clear view of your speed, mileage, fuel level, and other vital data, while the touchscreen display is home to smartphone integration via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto and Bluetooth capability. You can upgrade the display to a floating 8.0-inch NissanConnect touchscreen, which also upgrades the 4.2-inch driver display to a 7.0-inch Advanced Driver-Assist Display. This gives you more connectivity and safety features like the available Intelligent Around View Monitor, navigation, NissanConnect remote conveniences like remote start and entry, and a WiFi hotspot that turns the sedan into a mobile office.

The 2021 Impreza comes standard with a smaller, 6.5-inch touchscreen display. Like the Sentra, you can sync your smartphone with the Impreza using Apple CarPlay or Android Auto integration. To enjoy a larger display, you’ll have to upgrade to the Impreza Sport or Impreza Limited, which equips the sedan with an 8.0-inch touchscreen with navigation. However, its standard driver display measures just 2.4 inches, and the upgraded version in the top trims maxes out at 4.2-inches – the same size as the Sentra’s standard display.

An orange 2021 Nissan Sentra is shown from the side parked in a modern gallery.

Adding Excitement to Your Commute

How do you spend your daily commute? Do you enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning as you listen to your favorite podcast, or do you make the drive in silence and think about your to-do list? Do you prefer to catch up on the latest headlines or listen to your favorite talk radio station?

Whatever the case, it’s time to add excitement to your commute with sophisticated and efficient options like the 2021 Nissan Sentra or the 2021 Subaru Impreza. When you’re excitedly building your career and carrying a full load of responsibilities, you don’t have the time to constantly worry about how you’re going to get from Point A to Point B. Fortunately for you, with sedans like the Sentra and the Impreza, you don’t have to.

Reliable and efficient, the 2021 Sentra and the 2021 Impreza are two of the best sedans in the segment, and they each bring something unique to the table. The Sentra offers greater efficiency, sophisticated styling, and the most safety features in the segment, while the Impreza comes standard with all-wheel-drive and Subaru’s trademark boxer engine. So, which will you choose? It all comes down to your driving preferences, your budget, and your list of must-haves in a sedan that will usher you into the future in style.