You are in the middle of trying to figure out which new vehicle you want to buy, and you’re tossing ideas around in your head. Debating whether to buy the 2023 Nissan Sentra vs 2023 Subaru Impreza might have you feeling stuck, unable to make a decision. We certainly cannot blame you for struggling with the decision-making process, but we are here to provide you with some clarity.
While the 2023 Subaru Impreza is not a bad vehicle, the 2023 Nissan Sentra tends to have more benefits for the average buyer. The Sentra is affordably priced for consumers on a budget, but does not reek of “economy car” vibes. Instead, the Sentra offers an attractive interior and exterior design that boasts plenty of helpful technology. On top of that, the Sentra is notoriously safe and reliable.
The small sedan segment is less extensive than it used to be, but it is still highly competitive. The 2023 Sentra is, by all means, a strong rival. What makes it such a tough contender? Why is its overall value so attractive to buyers? Let’s dig in and learn more about the 2023 Nissan Sentra.
Made for Practicality and Comfort
When you buy a small sedan, you probably expect it to be comfortable and accommodating. Nissan hits that nail right on the head with how it crafts the Sentra’s ride. Part of that comfort comes from the independent strut front and multi-link rear suspension. Stabilizer bars are included at the front and rear of the vehicle for enhanced comfort. As the car rolls over imperfections in the road, the suspension quickly dispatches them, preventing them from getting into the cabin and jostling you about.
Fuel economy on the Sentra is competitive. The Sentra is powered by a standard 2.0L Direct Injection Gasoline engine that produces 149 hp and 146 lb-ft of torque. The S and SV trim levels have EPA estimates of 33 miles per gallon in combined driving (from 29 mpg in the city and 39 mpg on the highway). Meanwhile, the line-topping SR and SR Midnight Edition get 32 mpg combined (from 28 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway). Real-world estimates for the Sentra place it around 29.9 mpg combined. For those looking to save some money on fuel but who aren’t ready to make the switch to hybrid vehicle technology, opting for this small sedan could prove to be beneficial. The Sentra is able to get from 0 to 60 mph in 9.2 seconds.
The 2023 Subaru Impreza is powered by a 2.0L 4-cylinder engine that makes 152 horsepower and 145 lb-ft of torque. The vehicle needs 9.4 seconds to get from 0 to 60 miles per hour, one of the slowest times in this segment despite a small power advantage over the Sentra. You need to carefully plan your merges and passes on the highway since you will need to demand a lot from this engine. While its 32 mpg in combined driving matches the Sentra on paper, the Impreza’s real-life fuel efficiency sits at an average of about 29.1 mpg according to Fuelly.
Upscale Cabin Design
Nissan crafts the Sentra’s cabin with comfort in mind, but it does not forego an upscale aesthetic. One of thefeatures that keeps the Sentra feeling cozy is the automatic climate control system, which becomes a dual-zone automatic climate control system on the line-topping SR and SR Midnight Edition. An in-cabin microfilter keeps the air clean as it circulates through the vents and into the cabin.
Up front, there is a standard six-way manually adjustable driver’s seat, but you can opt for a six-way power-adjustable driver’s seat that boosts comfort by adding two-way power lumbar support. The four-way manually adjustable front passenger seat is equally comfortable. Cloth trim upholsters the seats on the S trim level, but upgrading to the SV gives you a plush premium cloth material. Going up to the SR or SR Midnight trims switch over to Sport Cloth seat trim adorned with orange stitching. Optionally, you can add Prima-Tex with orange contrast stitching on the SR or SR Midnight Edition. The SV can come with chic quilted leather seats if you prefer leather over cloth upholstery.
There are quite a few options available for amping up the cabin’s sense of luxury. The SV and SR models can be equipped with heated front seats and a heated steering wheel, both of which feel superb on a chilly day. Leather wrapping on the steering wheel and gear shift knob comes standard on the SR and SR Midnight Edition.
Subaru gives the Impreza a functional cabin, but it lacks some of the same refinement as what you see on the Sentra. Impreza equips a six-speaker sound system on the Premium with an outdated single CD player embedded into it. This does not seem all that practical or appealing to the average buyer who has made the switch away from CDs to music apps on their phone. Despite the fact that the Impreza comes with a standard dual climate control system and sizable center console with a lid, the cabin seems more outdated than it should be for a new vehicle. For example, push button start is not available on the base trim, and the instrument panel has a rather basic appearance.
An Abundance of Tech Gadgets
Unaware consumers might think that a vehicle with such a generous price tag won’t come with that many technological features. When it comes to the Sentra, they would be wrong. Even the base S trim level comes with many standard features, including a 4.2-inch driver information display. Higher trim levels are upgraded to a 7-inch driver information display. A 7-inch infotainment touchscreen display comes on the S, while the NissanConnect 8-inch infotainment touchscreen system is fitted to the higher trims.
Voice recognition comes standard across the lineup, and helps you utilize certain functions without needing to take your hands off the steering wheel. Smartphone app integration from Apple CarPlay and Android Auto makes it easy to connect your smartphone and use your apps on the Sentra’s infotainment system. SiriusXM-powered NissanConnect Services is available on the SR models with trial access to the five-year Select and six-month Premium packages. A WiFi hotspot is also an option for the SR models.
A hands-free SMS text messaging assistant and Bluetooth streaming for phone and audio are both standard on all trims. Also, if the S’s four-speaker sound system isn’t powerful enough for you, a premium Bose sound system is available on the higher trim levels. Audio controls are mounted onto the steering wheel for efficient access. You can connect and charge using one USB-A port up front, with two USB-A ports and one USB-C port on the SV and SR. Passengers won’t have to worry about not being able to charge their phones while riding around in your vehicle.
On the Subaru, technology is straightforward but not quite as abundant. Bluetooth connectivity for hands-free phone calls and audio streaming is standard, and you get integration with SiriusXM. The two highest trim levels also have 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot connectivity. However, voice controls are not standard across the lineup. You must upgrade several trim levels to the Sport to get that function. Also, the standard four-speaker stereo system’s quality is subpar. You have to really crank the volume up to hear when zipping along on the highway, and even max volume is not all that strong. You might find yourself splurging on the RS trim’s available Harman Kardon sound system to get better audio quality.
Safety Features and Ratings
Nissan is known for their high safety standards. They build the Sentra to withstand all manner of impacts. The Sentra’s design includes Zone Body construction with both front and rear crumple zones. There are also safety stops and hood buckling creases, an energy-absorbing steel column, and side-door guard beams erected in the pipe-style.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the 2023 Nissan Sentra earns mostly “Good” (“G”) marks for its crashworthiness. The LATCH system for child safety seat installation receives particularly high marks (“G+”) for its ease of use. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has not yet rated the 2023 Sentra, but the 2022 model year received a five-star overall rating. Given that little has changed in the way of safety designs since then, the 2023 model year should receive similar ratings. The Impreza does get some strong safety ratings as well, receiving a five-star rating from NHTSA and many “G” marks from IIHS. However, the Impreza gets a “Poor” (“P”) mark on the updated side test, whereas the Sentra gets an “Acceptable” (“A”) mark. In particular, the Impreza’s structure and safety cage received a “P.”
Advanced driver aids are a hot commodity right now. Buyers want tech at their fingertips that will keep them safe on the road. The Sentra S comes with standard cruise control, but intelligent cruise control is available on the higher trims. Intelligent Forward Collision Warning is equipped on all trim levels, as are Lane Departure Warning, Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Rear Automatic Braking, Blind Spot Warning, and a Rear View Monitor. An Intelligent AllAround Monitor is optional on the SR and SR Midnight Edition. It provides you with a top-down, 360-degree view of everything surrounding the vehicle. Rounding out the list of advanced driver aids are Intelligent Driver Alertness and High Beam Assist. Intelligent Driver Alertness detects when you are becoming drowsy or distracted and will try to get your attention. High Beam Assist will automatically adjust your high beams when lighting conditions call for it.
There are quite a few safety features on the Subaru Impreza. However, not all that many of them come standard on the base trim level as they do on the Sentra. Blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and rear automatic braking remain optional for the entire lineup. Nissan and other automakers are moving toward making those features standard, so Subaru is lagging behind in this regard, which detracts from the Impreza’s value.
Ready to Buy a 2023 Nissan Sentra?
The 2023 Nissan Sentra is all about sensibility, but it does not mean that the Sentra is dull. Jam packed with technology and safety features, the Sentra is there to keep you safe, informed, and entertained as you go about your day. We highly recommend taking the 2023 Nissan Sentra for a test drive to see what it has to offer. You might just find yourself filling out paperwork and signing on the dotted line to get this superb little sedan.