2020 Nissan Versa vs. 2018 Mazda 3

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

In the past twenty years hundreds of infants and young children have died after being left in vehicles, usually by accident. When turning the vehicle off, drivers of the Versa SV/SR are reminded to check the back seat if they opened the rear door before starting out. The Mazda 3 doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Versa has standard Rear Automatic Braking that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Mazda 3 doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The Versa SV/SR’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 Mazda 3 doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Versa and the Mazda 3 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, crash mitigating brakes, rearview cameras, available daytime running lights, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

There are over 86 percent more Nissan dealers than there are Mazda dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Versa’s warranty.

Reliability

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the Versa has a 120-amp alternator. The Mazda 3’s standard 100-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Nissan vehicles are better in initial quality than Mazda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Nissan 7th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 8 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mazda is ranked 12th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Nissan vehicles are more reliable than Mazda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Nissan 15th in reliability. With 22 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mazda is ranked 21st.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Versa gets better fuel mileage than the Mazda 3:

MPG

Versa

1.6 DOHC 4 cyl.

32 city/40 hwy

Mazda 3

2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

28 city/37 hwy

Transmission

The Versa offers an optional continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The Mazda 3 doesn’t offer a CVT.

Tires and Wheels

The Versa has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The Mazda 3 doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Chassis

The Nissan Versa may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 300 to 350 pounds less than the Mazda 3.

The Versa is 3.3 inches shorter than the Mazda 3 4-Door, making the Versa easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

The Versa has .9 inches more front headroom and 2.3 inches more front legroom than the Mazda 3.

Cargo Capacity

The Versa has a much larger trunk than the Mazda 3 4-Door (14.7 vs. 12.4 cubic feet).

Ergonomics

The Versa has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The Mazda 3 only offers an automatic headlight on/off feature as an extra cost option.

Recommendations

The Nissan Versa outsold the Mazda 3 by 17% during 2018.

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

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