2020 Hyundai Elantra Sedan vs. 2019 Nissan Versa Sedan

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Elantra Sedan has standard Automatic Emergency Braking, 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.

The Hyundai Elantra Sedan 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 Elantra Sedan (except SE)’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 Elantra Sedan (except SE)’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 Elantra Sedan (except SE)’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 Elantra Sedan’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 Elantra Sedan (except SE/SEL/Eco) offers an optional Blue Link, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to get turn-by-turn driving directions, remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or 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 Elantra Sedan 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, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding and rearview cameras.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Hyundai Elantra Sedan is safer than the Nissan Versa Sedan:

Elantra Sedan

Versa Sedan

Driver

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

150

311

Neck Injury Risk

26.3%

28%

Neck Stress

230 lbs.

418 lbs.

Neck Compression

67 lbs.

75 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

189/307 lbs.

751/789 lbs.

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

255

561

Chest Compression

.6 inches

.6 inches

Neck Injury Risk

41.4%

62%

Neck Stress

186 lbs.

239 lbs.

Neck Compression

96 lbs.

162 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

182/35 lbs.

524/501 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

A significantly tougher test than their original offset frontal crash test, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety does 40 MPH small overlap frontal offset crash tests. In this test, where only 25% of the total width of the vehicle is struck, results indicate that the Hyundai Elantra Sedan is safer than the Versa Sedan:

Elantra Sedan

Versa Sedan

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

POOR

Restraints

GOOD

MARGINAL

Head Neck Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Peak Head Forces

0 G’s

0 G’s

Steering Column Movement Rearward

0 cm

10 cm

Chest Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Hip & Thigh Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Femur Force R/L

1.9/.3 kN

3.2/1.2 kN

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L

0%/0%

1.81%/.7%

Lower Leg Evaluation

ACCEPTABLE

POOR

Tibia index R/L

.55/.61

1.81/.7

Tibia forces R/L

5.3/2.3 kN

5.8/2.6 kN

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Hyundai Elantra Sedan is safer than the Nissan Versa Sedan:

Elantra Sedan

Versa Sedan

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Chest Movement

.8 inches

1.4 inches

Abdominal Force

224 G’s

248 G’s

Rear Seat

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

570

621

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

12 inches

14 inches

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Elantra Sedan its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2019, a rating granted to only 46 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Versa Sedan was not even a standard “Top Pick” for 2016.

Warranty

The Elantra Sedan comes with a full 5-year/60,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Versa Sedan’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 2 years and 24,000 miles sooner.

Hyundai’s powertrain warranty covers the Elantra Sedan 5 years and 40,000 miles longer than Nissan covers the Versa Sedan. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the Versa Sedan ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.

The Elantra Sedan’s corrosion warranty is 2 years longer than the Versa Sedan’s (7 vs. 5 years).

Reliability

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the Elantra Sedan’s reliability 18 points higher than the Versa Sedan.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Elantra Sedan second among compact cars in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The Versa Sedan was rated third in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Hyundai vehicles are better in initial quality than Nissan vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Hyundai third in initial quality, above the industry average. With 15 more problems per 100 vehicles, Nissan is ranked 7th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Hyundai vehicles are more reliable than Nissan vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Hyundai 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 13 more problems per 100 vehicles, Nissan is ranked 15th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Hyundai vehicles are more reliable than Nissan vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Hyundai 4 places higher in reliability than Nissan.

Engine

The Elantra Sedan Eco’s standard 1.4 turbo 4-cylinder produces 19 more horsepower (128 vs. 109) and 49 lbs.-ft. more torque (156 vs. 107) than the Versa Sedan’s 1.6 DOHC 4-cyl. The Elantra Sedan’s standard 2.0 DOHC 4-cylinder produces 38 more horsepower (147 vs. 109) and 25 lbs.-ft. more torque (132 vs. 107) than the Versa Sedan’s 1.6 DOHC 4-cyl. The Elantra Sedan Sport’s standard 1.6 turbo 4-cylinder produces 92 more horsepower (201 vs. 109) and 88 lbs.-ft. more torque (195 vs. 107) than the Versa Sedan’s 1.6 DOHC 4-cyl.

As tested in Car and Driver the Elantra Sedan Eco is faster than the Nissan Versa Sedan (automatics tested):

Elantra

Versa

Zero to 60 MPH

7.8 sec

9.8 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

21.9 sec

34.8 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

8.4 sec

10.2 sec

Quarter Mile

16.2 sec

17.5 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

87 MPH

81 MPH

Top Speed

120 MPH

112 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Elantra Sedan gets better fuel mileage than the Versa Sedan:

MPG

Elantra Sedan

Auto

Eco 1.4 turbo 4-cyl.

33 city/41 hwy

SE 2.0 DOHC 4-cyl.

31 city/41 hwy

Versa Sedan

Manual

1.6 DOHC 4-cyl.

27 city/36 hwy

Auto

1.6 DOHC 4-cyl.

31 city/39 hwy

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Elantra Sedan Eco’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Versa Sedan doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The Elantra Sedan has 3.2 gallons more fuel capacity than the Versa Sedan (14 vs. 10.8 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Environmental Friendliness

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certifies the Hyundai Elantra Sedan as a “Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle” (PZEV). The Nissan Versa Sedan is only certified to “Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle” (ULEV) standards.

Transmission

The Hyundai Elantra Sedan comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the Versa Sedan.

The Elantra Sedan offers an available sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is more internally efficient than a CVT but just as easy to drive. The Versa Sedan doesn’t offer an SMG.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Elantra Sedan’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the Versa Sedan:

Elantra SE/Eco

Elantra SEL/Value

Elantra Sport

Versa

Front Rotors

11 inches

11 inches

12 inches

10 inches

Rear Drums

8 inches

n/a

n/a

8 inches

Rear Rotors

n/a

10.3 inches

10.3 inches

n/a

The Elantra Sedan SEL/Value Edition/Limited has standard antilock 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.

The Elantra Sedan stops much shorter than the Versa Sedan:

Elantra

Versa

70 to 0 MPH

166 feet

179 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

116 feet

127 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Elantra Sedan has larger standard tires than the Versa Sedan (195/65R15 vs. 185/65R15). The Elantra Sedan Limited’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Versa Sedan (225/45R17 vs. 185/65R15).

The Elantra Sedan Sport’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Versa Sedan’s 65 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Elantra Sedan Sport has standard 18-inch wheels. The Versa Sedan’s largest wheels are only 15-inches.

The Hyundai Elantra Sedan’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.

Suspension and Handling

For superior ride and handling, the Elantra Sedan Sport has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Nissan Versa Sedan has a solid rear axle, with a non-independent rear suspension.

The Elantra Sedan has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Versa Sedan’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Elantra Sedan’s wheelbase is 3.9 inches longer than on the Versa Sedan (106.3 inches vs. 102.4 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Elantra Sedan is 2.8 inches wider in the front and 3.1 inches wider in the rear than the track on the Versa Sedan.

The Elantra Sedan Limited handles at .84 G’s, while the Versa Sedan pulls only .76 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Elantra Sedan Limited executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2.3 seconds quicker than the Versa Sedan (27.2 seconds @ .63 average G’s vs. 29.5 seconds @ .54 average G’s).

Passenger Space

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Elantra Sedan a Mid-size car, while the Versa Sedan is rated a Compact.

The Elantra Sedan has 5.6 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Versa Sedan (95.8 vs. 90.2).

The Elantra Sedan has .5 inches more front headroom, .4 inches more front legroom, 5.3 inches more front hip room, 4.5 inches more front shoulder room, .7 inches more rear headroom, 5.7 inches more rear hip room and 3.4 inches more rear shoulder room than the Versa Sedan.

Cargo Capacity

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Elantra Sedan Value Edition/Eco/Sport/Limited’s trunk can be opened just by waiting momentarily behind the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Versa Sedan doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its trunk, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Servicing Ease

The Elantra Sedan has a maintenance free battery for long life without checking the battery’s water level. The Versa Sedan doesn’t have a maintenance free battery, so the water level in the battery’s cells must be checked often to prevent damage.

Ergonomics

To help each driver find a more comfortable driving position, the Elantra Sedan 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 Elantra Sedan Limited, the optional memory seats and mirrors make it convenient for both. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position and outside mirror angle. The Versa Sedan doesn’t offer a memory system.

The Elantra Sedan Limited’s optional Seat Easy Access glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Versa Sedan doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The Elantra Sedan’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 Elantra Sedan SEL/Value Edition/Eco/Sport/Limited’s driver’s power window opens or closes with one touch of the window control. The Versa Sedan’s driver’s power window switch has to be held the entire time to close it fully.

The Elantra Sedan’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 Elantra Sedan’s power window, power lock and cruise control switches are lit from behind, making them plainly visible and easier to operate at night. The Versa Sedan’s power window (except driver window) and power lock switches are unlit, making them difficult to find at night and operate safely.

The Elantra Sedan SEL/Value Edition/Eco/Sport/Limited 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 Elantra Sedan Sport/Limited 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 Elantra Sedan Limited 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 Elantra Sedan’s available outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. The Versa Sedan doesn’t offer heated side mirrors.

The Elantra Sedan’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 Elantra Sedan Limited with available tilt-down mirrors 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 Elantra Sedan Value Edition/Eco/Sport/Limited has standard heated front and second row seats (second row heated seats optional on Limited) extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated seats aren’t available in the Versa Sedan.

The Elantra Sedan Sport/Limited 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 Elantra Sedan’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 Elantra Sedan’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 Elantra Sedan has standard rear heat vents to keep rear occupants more comfortable. The Versa Sedan doesn’t offer rear vents.

A built-in pollen filter removes pollen, exhaust fumes and other pollutants from the Elantra Sedan’s passenger compartment. This helps prevent lung and/or sinus irritation, which can trigger allergies or asthma. The Versa Sedan doesn’t offer a filtration system.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Elantra Sedan Limited offers an optional Smart 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.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Elantra Sedan owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Elantra Sedan will cost $240 less than the Versa Sedan over a five-year period.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Elantra Sedan is less expensive to operate than the Versa Sedan because typical repairs cost much less on the Elantra Sedan than the Versa Sedan, including $3 less for a muffler, $63 less for front brake pads, $65 less for a starter, $59 less for fuel injection, $210 less for a fuel pump and $6 less for front struts.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the Hyundai Elantra Sedan, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Nissan Versa Sedan isn't recommended.

The Hyundai Elantra outsold the Nissan Versa by almost three to one during 2018.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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