2020 Nissan Versa vs. 2020 Chevrolet Sonic

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 Sonic doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

The Versa has standard Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, 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 Sonic offers an available collision warning system without the automated brake feature that would prevent or reduce the collision if the driver fails to react.

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 Sonic doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

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 Sonic 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 Sonic doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Versa and the Sonic have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front and rear side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee 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, rearview cameras, available daytime running lights and blind spot warning systems.

Warranty

The Versa’s corrosion warranty is unlimited miles longer than the Sonic’s (unlimited vs. 100,000 miles).

Reliability

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

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Nissan vehicles are more reliable than Chevrolet vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Nissan 9 places higher in reliability than Chevrolet.

Fuel Economy and Range

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

MPG

Versa

Manual

1.6 DOHC 4 cyl.

27 city/35 hwy

Auto

1.6 DOHC 4 cyl.

32 city/40 hwy

Sonic

Auto

1.4 Turbo 4 cyl.

26 city/34 hwy

Transmission

The Versa offers a manual transmission for better acceleration, control and fuel economy. The Sonic doesn’t offer a manual 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 Sonic 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 Sonic 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 Sonic’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Versa’s wheelbase is 3.7 inches longer than on the Sonic (103.1 inches vs. 99.4 inches).

Chassis

The Nissan Versa may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 200 to 250 pounds less than the Chevrolet Sonic.

For excellent aerodynamics, the Versa has standard flush composite headlights. The Sonic has recessed headlights that spoil its aerodynamic shape and create extra drag.

Passenger Space

The Versa has .8 inches more front headroom, 2.7 inches more front legroom and .6 inches more rear shoulder room than the Sonic Sedan.

Ergonomics

The Versa’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 Sonic LT/Premier.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the Versa detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Sonic doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

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 Sonic doesn’t offer extendable visors.

The Versa SR’s standard automatic temperature control maintains the temperature you set, automatically controlling fan speed, vents and temperature to maintain a consistent, comfortable environment. The Sonic doesn’t offer automatic air conditioning.

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 Sonic doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

Recommendations

The Nissan Versa outsold the Chevrolet Sonic by almost four to one during 2018.

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

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