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The Mazda 3 (except Base Sedan) has standard Smart City Brake Support, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The Versa Sedan doesn't offer collision warning or crash mitigation brakes.
Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Mazda 3 offers optional Rear Smart Brake Support that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Versa Sedan doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.
The Mazda 3 offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Versa Sedan doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.
The Mazda 3 has Daytime Running Lights to help keep it more visible under all conditions. Canadian government studies show that driving with lights during the day reduces accidents by 11% by making vehicles more conspicuous. The Versa Sedan doesn’t offer Daytime Running Lights.
The Mazda 3 (except Base Sedan)’s lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The Versa Sedan doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.
The Mazda 3 offers an optional 360-Degree Monitor to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Versa Sedan only offers a rear monitor.
The Mazda 3 (except Base Sedan)’s blind spot warning system uses digital cameras monitored by computer to alert the driver to moving objects in the vehicle’s blind spots where the side view mirrors don’t reveal them. The Versa Sedan doesn’t offer a system to reveal objects in the driver’s blind spots.
To help make backing safer, the Mazda 3 (except Base Sedan)’s cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The Versa Sedan doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.
The Mazda 3 =’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Versa Sedan doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.
The Mazda 3 has standard E911 Automatic Emergency Notification, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Versa Sedan doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.
Both the Mazda 3 and the Versa Sedan have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding and rearview cameras.
The Mazda 3 weighs 528 to 860 pounds more than the Nissan Versa Sedan. The NHTSA advises that heavier cars are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts. Crosswinds also affect lighter cars more.
To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the Mazda 3 has a standard 130-amp alternator. The Versa Sedan’s 110-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.
From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Mazda vehicles are more reliable than Nissan vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Mazda third in reliability. Nissan is ranked 14th.
The Mazda 3’s 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 77 more horsepower (186 vs. 109) and 79 lbs.-ft. more torque (186 vs. 107) than the Versa Sedan’s 1.6 DOHC 4 cyl.
An engine control system that can shut down half of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the Mazda 3 Premium/Hatchback/AWD’s fuel efficiency. The Versa Sedan doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.
The Mazda 3 AWD’s standard fuel tank has 1.9 gallons more fuel capacity than the Versa Sedan (12.7 vs. 10.8 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The Mazda 3 FWD’s standard fuel tank has 2.4 gallons more fuel capacity than the Versa Sedan (13.2 vs. 10.8 gallons).
The Mazda 3 comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the Versa Sedan.
A six-speed manual is no cost option on the Mazda 3 Hatchback, with closer gear ratios for better performance and a lower final drive ratio for quieter highway operation, less engine wear and better fuel mileage. Only a five-speed manual is available for the Versa Sedan.
For better stopping power the Mazda 3’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Versa Sedan:
Mazda 3 AWD
The Mazda 3 has standard four-wheel disc brakes for better stopping power and improved directional control in poor weather. Only rear drums come on the Versa Sedan. Drums can heat up and make stops longer, especially with antilock brakes that work much harder than conventional brakes.
For better traction, the Mazda 3 has larger standard tires than the Versa Sedan (205/60R16 vs. 185/65R15). The Mazda 3’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Versa Sedan (215/45R18 vs. 185/65R15).
The Mazda 3 Sedan’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 60 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Versa Sedan’s standard 65 series tires. The Mazda 3’s optional tires have a lower 45 series profile than the Versa Sedan’s 65 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Mazda 3 Sedan has standard 16-inch wheels. Only 15-inch wheels are available on the Versa Sedan. The Mazda 3 offers optional 18-inch wheels.
The Mazda 3’s wheels have 5 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Nissan Versa Sedan only has 4 wheel lugs per wheel.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Mazda 3’s wheelbase is 4.9 inches longer than on the Versa Sedan (107.3 inches vs. 102.4 inches).
For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Mazda 3 is 3.4 inches wider in the front and 3.7 inches wider in the rear than on the Versa Sedan.
The Mazda 3 Sedan has 2.6 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Versa Sedan (92.8 vs. 90.2).
The Mazda 3 Sedan has .5 inches more front legroom, 6.5 inches more front hip room, 4 inches more front shoulder room, .7 inches more rear headroom, 4.7 inches more rear hip room and 1.6 inches more rear shoulder room than the Versa Sedan.
The Mazda 3 Auto offers a remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The Versa Sedan doesn’t offer a remote starting system.
To help each driver find a more comfortable driving position, the Mazda 3 has a telescoping steering wheel. Much better than just a tilt steering wheel or adjustable seat, this allows a short driver to sit further from the steering wheel while maintaining contact with the pedals. The Versa Sedan doesn’t offer a telescoping steering wheel.
When two different drivers share the Mazda 3 Preferred/Premium, the memory seats and mirrors make it convenient for both. Each keyless remote activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position and outside mirror angle. The Versa Sedan doesn’t offer a memory system.
The Mazda 3 Premium has a standard heads-up display that projects speed and warning light readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Versa Sedan doesn’t offer a heads-up display.
The Mazda 3’s standard power windows allow the driver or passenger to lower and raise the windows without leaning over or being distracted. Power windows are only available on the Versa Sedan SV.
The Mazda 3’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Versa Sedan SV’s power window switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully. Only its driver’s window opens automatically.
The Mazda 3’s standard power locks allow the driver or passenger to lock or unlock all the doors at a touch without leaning over, or reaching to the back seat. Power locks are only available on the Versa Sedan SV.
The Mazda 3 Hatchback/Select/Preferred/Premium’s standard wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield. The Versa Sedan’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.
The Mazda 3 (except Base Sedan) has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. When the ignition turns off, the headlights turn off after a delay timed to allow you to securely get to your front door. The Versa Sedan doesn’t offer automatic headlights.
While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the Mazda 3 (except Base Sedan) detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Versa Sedan doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.
To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the Mazda 3 Premium has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Versa Sedan doesn’t offer cornering lights.
The Mazda 3’s power mirror controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The Versa Sedan’s power mirror controls are on the dash where they are possibly hidden by the steering wheel and are awkward to manipulate.
When the Mazda 3 Preferred/Premium is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The Versa Sedan’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.
The Mazda 3 offers optional automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Versa Sedan offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.
The Mazda 3 Preferred/Premium has standard heated front seats, which keep the driver and front passenger extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated seats aren’t available in the Versa Sedan.
The Mazda 3 Hatchback/Select/Preferred/Premium has a standard center folding armrest for the rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable. The Versa Sedan doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.
The Mazda 3 Hatchback/Select/Preferred/Premium’s standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. The Versa Sedan doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.
The Mazda 3 Hatchback/Select/Preferred/Premium’s standard automatic temperature control maintains the temperature you set, automatically controlling fan speed, vents and temperature to maintain a consistent, comfortable environment. The Versa Sedan doesn’t offer automatic air conditioning.
For greater rear passenger comfort, the Mazda 3 has standard rear heat vents to keep rear occupants more comfortable. The Versa Sedan doesn’t offer rear vents.
To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Mazda 3 (except Base Sedan) has a standard Radar Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The Versa Sedan doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.
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