The Versa is all-new for 2020 and the Yaris is actually a rebadged Mazda2.
Both cars offer attractive pricing, great fuel economy and surprisingly nice interiors.
After years of boasting the title of the most affordable car in America, the subcompact Nissan Versa got a long-overdue update for the 2020 model year. This means a price increase over the previous model, but it’s also improved in many ways with a new look, new tech and a more attractive car overall that’s still an excellent value.
One of the Versa’s top competitors is the Toyota Yaris, which is similar in size and price. The Yaris, however, is different from other Toyota models because it’s actually a Toyota version of the Mazda2, which Mazda doesn’t currently sell in the U.S. Let’s take a look at how these two small cars compete in 2020.
Although these cars are both in the subcompact segment, they’re proportioned a bit differently. The Versa is longer, wider and a little lower to the ground than the Yaris. That means the Nissan has a little bit of a sportier stance to it than the Yaris and is also a bigger car overall. See the 2020 Nissan Versa models for sale near you
We think the Versa looks a little sharper than the Yaris. The Versa borrows some design cues from bigger Nissan models like the Altima and the Maxima, and it works well on this smaller car. The look of the Yaris is a little divisive — of course, which is better-looking is subjective — but we like the look of the new Versa. See the 2020 Toyota Yaris models for sale near you
The interior is a highlight of both of these small sedans. By the standard of an affordable subcompact, these cars have well-designed cabins with surprisingly high-quality materials for this price point. As for interior space, they’re both reasonably comfortable in the front seats but have cramped back seats and small trunks. This isn’t a big surprise, considering these cars’ sizes, but some competitors have roomier interiors, making them more family-friendly. However, the back seats in the Yaris and the Versa are fine for occasional use.
2020 Nissan Versa Engine
1.6-liter inline four; 122 horsepower, 114 lb-ft of torque; up to 32 mpg city/40 mpg hwy (automatic), 27 mpg city/35 mpg hwy (manual)
2020 Toyota Yaris Engine
1.5-liter inline four; 106 hp, 103 lb-ft of torque; up to 32 mpg city/40 mpg hwy (automatic), 30 mpg city/39 mpg hwy mpg (manual)
You can see by the numbers that both of these engines prioritize efficiency over performance. The miles per gallon are identical for the automatic transmissions, but the performance in the Versa is a little stronger. However, the 6-speed manual in the Yaris is more efficient than the 5-speed manual in the Versa.
The Versa comes standard with a 7-in touchscreen infotainment system, three USB ports, pedestrian detection, forward collision warning, forward and reverse automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning and automatic high beams. The optional tech you can get in the Versa includes Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, driver alert monitoring and a rear-seat reminder.
The standard infotainment system in the Yaris is also a 7-in touchscreen, and we think it’s a little more user-friendly and more responsive than the one in the Versa. However, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay aren’t optional at all on the Yaris. Every Yaris comes standard with automatic emergency braking and low-speed forward collision warning, but it doesn’t offer much else in terms of modern driver assistance tech.
When it comes to smartphone connectivity and safety tech, the Versa has some big advantages over the Yaris.
The Versa has a starting MSRP of $14,730, while the Yaris starts at $15,650. If you want the most affordable versions of these cars, you’ll have to opt for the manual transmission. In the Versa, the only trim with the manual is the base S model, but in the Yaris, you can get the manual in the base L model or the midrange LE. On the higher end, the Versa SR starts at $18,240, and the Yaris XLE is $18,750.
With all of the new updates, including a sharp look and tons of modern technology, we think the new Versa is a better value than the Yaris. The Versa also has a stronger engine and a lower starting price. The Yaris is still a good choice in subcompact sedans, but the Versa is a more modern car. Find a Nissan Versa for sale or Find a Toyota Yaris for sale