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2021 Corolla vs. Sentra Comparison

The Corolla and Sentra are top sedan choices. They’re affordable, reliable, and provide the fuel efficiency ratings you need to cruise through the day.

As you'll find out in this head to head, the Corolla and Sentra may have similar EPA-estimated MPG ratings for their gas models, but Corolla offers a hybrid engine that can't be matched by the Sentra's gas engine.

When it comes to interior options, both sedans include a host of apps that are compatible for Apple and Android lovers. Whether you choose the Sentra or Corolla, it won't be lacking in entertainment.

Find out exactly which car has what you need in this side-by-side comparison of features in safety, performance, and interior.

Published Date: 07/13/2021

Two 2021 Corolla's parked side by side


  • The Corolla L has more standard active safety features than the Sentra S.
  • Both vehicles have extensive airbag systems.
  • The Corolla received a better NHTSA Overall Front Star Rating than the Sentra.

Day-to-day driving comes with unpredictability. Feel prepared with the Corolla and Sentra's active safety features.

Standard Safety Features

The Corolla L comes standard with a suite of active safety features called Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 (TSS 2.0). This includes a Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection (PCS w/PD), Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist (LDA w/SA), Automatic High Beams (AHB), Road Sign Assist (RSA), Lane Tracing Assist (LTA), and Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC).

Comparatively, the Sentra S has High Beam Assist, Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Intelligent Forward Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning, and Intelligent Trace Control. Intelligent Cruise Control is only offered on the Sentra SV and SR models.

Additionally, the Corolla comes with 10 airbags. These include a driver and front passenger Advanced Airbag System, driver and front passenger seat-mounted side airbags, driver knee airbag, passenger seat cushion airbag, rear side airbags, and front and rear side curtain airbags. The 2021 Sentra also has a Nissan Advanced Air Bag System with dual-stage supplemental front air bags, seat-mounted side-impact supplemental air bags for front and rear seat outboard occupants, driver and front-passenger supplemental knee air bags, and roof-mounted curtain side-impact supplemental air bags with a rollover sensor for front- and rear-seat outboard occupant head protection.

Looking at the bigger picture, these sedans are both top-notch safety picks. Based on ratings from the NHTSA, the 2021 Corolla received a 5-Star Overall Safety Rating as well as a 5-Star Overall Front Star Rating which combines driver and passenger frontal crash ratings. The Sentra also received a 5-Star Overall Safety Rating, however, it only received 4-Stars for Overall Front Star Rating due to a 3-Star Front Passenger Side ranking.

Black 2021 Corolla driving through the city at night


  • Get better fuel economy ratings when you choose Corolla's available hybrid engine.
  • Choose between a CVT or manual transmission depending on what you want out of your ride in the Corolla SE.
  • Be seen during the day and at night in the Corolla which comes standard with LED lights.

The Corolla offers a traditional gas engine plus an available hybrid engine for even more savings at the pump.

Handling and Horsepower

The base model Corolla L has an EPA-estimated 30/38/33 (city/highway/combined) MPG rating. The Sentra S has a similar EPA-estimated 29/39/33 (city/highway/combined) MPG rating. What really sets the Corolla apart is the Corolla Hybrid LE, which has an EPA-estimated 53/52/52 (city/highway/combined) MPG rating.

You also get more options when it comes to transmission type when you go with the Corolla. While the Sentra only offers Continuously Variable Transmission, the Corolla SE has the option of a Dynamic-Shift Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) or 6-speed Intelligent Manual Transmission (iMT).

Taking a look under the hood, the Sentra has a standard 2.0L 4-Cylinder engine with 149 horsepower. The Corolla SE, SE Nightshade, SE, XSE, and XSE also have a 2.0L 4-Cylinder engine, but provide more muscle with 169 horsepower.

The 2021 Corolla also comes standard with sleek LED headlights and LED Daytime Running Lights (DRL) for better visibility. Conversely, the Sentra S comes with halogen headlights. LED headlights with LED signature Daytime Running Lights are only offered on the Sentra SR.

Interior view of the 2021 Corolla


  • The Corolla has Amazon Alexa and SiriusXM® compatibility. SiriusXM® is standard starting on the Sentra SV and no Sentra model has Amazon Alexa integration.
  • When you want more speakers and multiple USB ports, the Corolla has plenty even at the base level.
  • Make your car a hotspot with the Corolla's trial of Wi-Fi Connect.

When comparing the interior options for the Corolla and Sentra, both offer multiple ways to connect and plug in.

Connectivity Options

The 2021 Corolla L comes standard with Android Auto™, Apple CarPlay®, and Amazon Alexa compatibility. Plus, you can try SiriusXM® Platinum Plan 3-month trial. The Sentra S has Android Auto™, and Apple CarPlay®, but lacks Amazon Alexa compatibility. If you want standard SiriusXM® Radio with a 3-month subscription, you'd need the Sentra SV and SR.

Have all of these apps at your fingertips with the Corolla L’'s standard 7-in. touchscreen. All models higher than the Corolla L have an 8-in. touchscreen, while the Sentra’s touchscreen maxes out at 7-in.

You also get six speakers standard with the Corolla. To get six speakers in the Sentra, you'd need the SV or SR. Otherwise, the Sentra has four speakers.

Since you may need to charge your devices on the go, the Corolla multimedia system also comes standard with a USB media port and one USB media charge port. The Sentra S has one USB port. For two USB ports and one USB-C port, you'd need to get the Sentra SV or SR.

Stay connected with Wi-Fi Connect with up to 2GB within a 3-month trial. While you get a chance to try out this feature standard with the Corolla, the NissanConnect with Wi-Fi Hotspot is only available on the Sentra SR. You would have to tack on the Premium Package, too, which is $2,270 extra.

Two people hanging out by the 2021 Corolla

Conclusion: Corolla vs. Sentra

  • The Corolla and Sentra have similar specs, but only the Corolla gives you more standard.
  • The Corolla received a better NHTSA Overall Front Star Rating than the Sentra.
  • Get all you're looking for in the 2021 Toyota Corolla.

It's amazing how many features are packed into the Corolla. From gas savings to multimedia options, drivers get a lot of bang for their buck.

Plus, both sedans have active safety features to help you get from point A to point B. Even though they have similar driver-assistive technologies, the Corolla takes this category with a 5-Star Overall Front Star Rating from the NHTSA. The Sentra received a 4-Star Overall Front Star Rating in comparison.

When it comes to performance, the Corolla gives you more in terms of transmission options, horsepower, and even a hybrid engine with stellar fuel economy ratings.

No matter what you're looking for, the 2021 Toyota Corolla has what you need and more.