2020 Toyota Corolla vs. 2019 Nissan Versa Sedan

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Corolla has standard Pre-Collision System, 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 Corolla has a standard Secondary Collision Brake, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Versa Sedan doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

The Toyota Corolla 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 Corolla’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 Corolla (except L/Manual)’s optional 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.

The Corolla’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 Corolla has standard Safety Connect, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to 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 Corolla 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 Toyota Corolla weighs 416 to 755 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.

Warranty

Toyota pays for scheduled maintenance on the Corolla for 2 years and 25000 miles. Toyota will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Nissan doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Versa Sedan.

There are over 13 percent more Toyota dealers than there are Nissan dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the Corolla’s warranty.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Corolla first among compact cars in their 2018 Initial Quality Study. The Versa Sedan was rated second in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Nissan vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota second in reliability, above the industry average. With 29 more problems per 100 vehicles, Nissan is ranked 15th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Nissan vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Toyota second in reliability. Nissan is ranked 14th.

Engine

The Corolla’s standard 1.8 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 30 more horsepower (139 vs. 109) and 19 lbs.-ft. more torque (126 vs. 107) than the Versa Sedan’s 1.6 DOHC 4 cyl. The Corolla SE/XSE’s standard 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 60 more horsepower (169 vs. 109) and 44 lbs.-ft. more torque (151 vs. 107) than the Versa Sedan’s 1.6 DOHC 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

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

 

 

 

MPG

Corolla

 

Manual

SE 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

29 city/36 hwy

 

Auto

1.8 DOHC 4 cyl.

30 city/38 hwy

 

 

XLE 1.8 DOHC 4 cyl.

29 city/37 hwy

 

 

SE 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

31 city/40 hwy

 

 

XSE 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

31 city/38 hwy

Versa Sedan

 

Manual

1.6 DOHC 4 cyl.

27 city/36 hwy

 

Auto

1.6 DOHC 4 cyl.

31 city/39 hwy

The Corolla has 2.4 gallons more fuel capacity than the Versa Sedan (13.2 vs. 10.8 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

The Toyota Corolla 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 optional on the Toyota Corolla SE/XSE SE, 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.

A standard “hill holder” feature keeps the Toyota Corolla from rolling backwards on a steep slope. The Versa Sedan doesn’t offer a hill holder feature.

The Toyota Corolla has a downshift rev synchronizer that automatically raises engine speed to make downshifts perfectly smooth. This keeps the car from lurching during downshifts, preventing loss of control during cornering. The Versa Sedan doesn’t offer a downshift rev synchronizer.

Brakes and Stopping

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

 

Corolla

Versa Sedan

Front Rotors

10.8 inches

10 inches

Rear Rotors

10.2 inches

8” drums

The Toyota Corolla 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.

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Corolla has larger standard tires than the Versa Sedan (195/65R15 vs. 185/65R15). The Corolla SE/XSE’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Versa Sedan (225/40R18 vs. 185/65R15).

The Corolla SE/XSE’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 Corolla SE/XSE has standard 18-inch wheels. The Versa Sedan’s largest wheels are only 15-inches.

The Toyota Corolla’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 Toyota Corolla 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 rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Corolla’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 track (width between the wheels) on the Corolla is 2 inches wider in the front and 2.3 inches wider in the rear than on the Versa Sedan.

For better maneuverability, the Corolla’s turning circle is .7 feet tighter than the Versa Sedan’s (34.1 feet vs. 34.8 feet).

Passenger Space

The Corolla has .5 inches more front legroom, 4.9 inches more front hip room, 3.1 inches more front shoulder room, .5 inches more rear headroom and 2.9 inches more rear shoulder room than the Versa Sedan.

The front step up height for the Corolla is 1.2 inches lower than the Versa Sedan (13” vs. 14.2”). The Corolla’s rear step up height is 2 inches lower than the Versa Sedan’s (13” vs. 15”).

Cargo Capacity

A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the Corolla easier. The Corolla’s trunk lift-over height is 25.5 inches, while the Versa Sedan’s liftover is 27.5 inches.

Ergonomics

The Corolla (except L/LE/Manual) 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 climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The Versa Sedan doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

To help each driver find a more comfortable driving position, the Corolla 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.

The Corolla’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 power windows standard on both the Corolla and the Versa Sedan have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Corolla is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Versa Sedan prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The Corolla’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.

If the windows are left open on the Corolla the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. (Your Toyota service department must activate this window function.) The driver of the Versa Sedan can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The Corolla’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 Corolla 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 Versa Sedan doesn’t offer automatic headlights.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the Corolla 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 Corolla XLE/XSE offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Versa Sedan doesn’t offer cornering lights.

The Corolla LE/SE/XLE/XSE’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. The Versa Sedan doesn’t offer heated side mirrors.

The Corolla’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.

The Corolla XLE/XSE 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 Corolla LE/XLE/SE/XSE 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 Corolla LE/XLE/SE/XSE’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 Corolla 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 Corolla’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 Corolla has a standard Dynamic 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.

Model Availability

The Toyota Corolla comes in sedan and four-door hatchback bodystyles; the Nissan Versa isn’t available as a four-door hatchback.

Recommendations

The Toyota Corolla outsold the Nissan Versa by over four to one during 2018.

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

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