2020 Nissan Versa vs. 2019 Toyota Yaris

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 Yaris 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 Yaris doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The Versa’s lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane. The Yaris doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The Versa SV/SR’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 Yaris doesn’t offer a system to reveal objects in the driver’s blind spots.

To help make backing safer, the Versa SV/SR’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 Yaris doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

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 Yaris doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Versa and the Yaris 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 and available daytime running lights.

Reliability

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 Toyota vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Nissan 7th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 4 more problems per 100 vehicles, Toyota is ranked 8th.

Engine

The Versa’s 1.6 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 16 more horsepower (122 vs. 106) and 11 lbs.-ft. more torque (114 vs. 103) than the Yaris’ 1.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

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 Yaris doesn’t offer a CVT.

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Versa has larger standard tires than the Yaris (195/65R15 vs. 185/60R16). The Versa SV’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Yaris (205/55R16 vs. 185/60R16).

The Versa SR’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Yaris LE/XLE’s 60 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Versa SR has standard 17-inch wheels. The Yaris’ largest wheels are only 16-inches.

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 Yaris doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

The Versa has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Versa flat and controlled during cornering. The Yaris’ suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

The Versa has vehicle speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Yaris doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Versa’s wheelbase is 1.9 inches longer than on the Yaris (103.1 inches vs. 101.2 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Versa is .6 inches wider in the front and 1.4 inches wider in the rear than the track on the Yaris.

Passenger Space

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Versa a Compact car, while the Yaris is rated a Subcompact.

The Versa has 3 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Yaris (88.9 vs. 85.9).

The Versa has 1.3 inches more front headroom, 2.6 inches more front legroom, 2.3 inches more front hip room, .6 inches more rear hip room and 3.6 inches more rear shoulder room than the Yaris.

Cargo Capacity

The Versa has a much larger trunk than the Yaris (14.7 vs. 13.5 cubic feet).

Ergonomics

The Versa SR has a standard 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 climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The Yaris doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

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 Yaris has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the XLE.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the Versa has standard extendable sun visors. The Yaris doesn’t offer extendable visors.

The Versa SR offers optional heated front seats, which keep the driver and front passenger extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated seats aren’t available in the Yaris.

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

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Versa SR offers an optional Intelligent 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 Yaris doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

Model Availability

The Nissan Versa comes in sedan and station wagon bodystyles; the Toyota Yaris isn’t available as a station wagon.

Recommendations

The Nissan Versa outsold the Toyota Yaris by almost three to one during 2018.

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

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