Nissan Versa Vs. Chevy Sonic: Surprisingly Spacious Small Sedans

By Justin Cupler | March 15th, 2019

Subcompact sedans have to balance cost with features and style to attract buyers and keep them coming back. The 2019 Nissan Versa and the 2019 Chevy Sonic do just that, but which one is the better buy for our Saginaw area car shoppers? Continue reading to find out.

Exterior

Both the 2019 Nissan Versa and 2019 Chevy Sonic are long in the tooth in terms of redesigns, as they both went through their last redesigns in 2012. That said, the Nissan Versa received a refresh in 2015, and the 2019 Sonic went through its refresh in 2017.

The refreshed Versa still has a simple design that is sure to please buyers looking for a less dramatic vehicle. Plus, with its range-topping price being roughly the same as the Sonic’s base price may help some more budget-focused buyers overlook its reserved styling.

The Chevy Sonic’s 2017 redesign abandoned the circular-lighting theme that set it apart from the crowd for years and brought in a more toned-down one-piece headlight setup. Otherwise the 2019 Sonic boasts the same sportier looks it’s had since 2012. Want something even sportier? The Sonic’s optional RS package adds side-sill extensions, black wheels, black badging, and more to dress it up.

 

2019 Nissan Versa is 175.4 inches long, 66.7 inches wide, and 59.6 inches wide. It sits atop a 102.4-inch wheelbase and weighs 2,395 to 2,494 pounds. The 2019 Chevy Sonic is 173.9 inches long, 68.3 inches wide, and 59.7 inches high. It sits on a 99.4-inch wheelbase and weighs 2,794 to 2,911 pounds.

Advantage: 2019 Nissan Versa

  • Simpler looks
  • Thinner platform is easier to maneuver in tight spaces

Advantage: 2019 Chevy Sonic

  • Sportier appearance
  • RS package adds even more sportiness

Interior

Subcompact sedans’ interiors are rarely innovators in style, and this remains true for the Sonic and Versa. The 2019 Nissan Versa’s cabin is simpler than most with its old-school dash, thick steering wheel center, and basic button positioning. Some may not appreciate this simple look, but buyers who prefer just the basics will like this setup. And while it is a simple setup, its standard 7-inch touchscreen adds a touch of class for such an inexpensive vehicle.

In the Sonic, there is more style with its split-spoke steering wheel, circular air vents, sportier accents in the higher trims, and even an optional flat-bottom steering wheel. Plus, its standard Apple CarPlay and Android auto add some value to its higher base price.

 

The 2019 Nissan Versa’s front seats offer 39.8 inches of headroom, 41.8 inches of legroom, 48.1 inches of hip room, and 51.7 inches of shoulder room. The 2019 Sonic has an extra 1.1 inches of headroom, 3.3 inches of hip room, and 2.7 inches of shoulder room. It’s 41.8 inches of front legroom matches the Versa.

 

In its rear seats, the 2019 Versa has 36.6 inches of headroom, 37 inches of legroom, 46.2 inches of hip room, and 51.9 inches of shoulder room. The 2019 Chevy Sonic offers an extra 1.2 inches of headroom, 5.4 inches of hip room, and 1.1 inches of shoulder room. The only area it falls short is in legroom by 2.4 inches.

 

While luggage room is rarely a focus for subcompact sedans, the 2019 Versa and 2019 Sonic offer 14.9 cubic feet each.

Advantage: 2019 Nissan Versa

  • Simpler design for buyers needing an uncomplex vehicle
  • Great features at a rock-bottom price

Advantage: 2019 Chevy Sonic

  • Sportier cabin
  • Standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

Performance

The 2019 Nissan Versa comes standard with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 109 horsepower and 107 pound-feet of torque. This power heads through a standard five-speed manual transmission or an optional continuously variable transmission. This adds up to a 9.2-second o-to-60 time.

The 2019 Chevy Sonic has more pep to it with a standard 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that produces 138 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque. This pairs with a six-speed manual transmission or an optional six-speed automatic transmission. Combined, this adds up to an 8.2-second 0-to-60 time.

 

Fuel economy is a huge deal in the subcompact-sedan segment, and the Versa delivers respectable thriftiness at up to 31 mpg city, 39 highway, and 34 combined**. The 2019 Sonic is thirstier at up to 27 mpg city, 38 highway, and 31 combined

Advantage: 2019 Nissan Versa

  • Better fuel economy

Advantage: 2019 Chevy Sonic

  • Peppier engines
  • Standard six-speed manual transmission

Pricing and Features

The 2019 Nissan Versa has a fairly simple lineup that includes four trim levels — S, S Plus, SV, and SV Special Edition — and their starting prices range from $12,360 to $16,790*.

 

There are three trims comprising the 2019 Chevy Sonic lineup: LS, LT, and Premier. Their starting prices range from $16,295 to $20,895.

2019 Nissan Versa Key Features and Pricing by Trim

S: $12,360*

  • 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine
  • Five-speed manual transmission
  • Front disc and rear drum brakes
  • Speed-sensitive electric power steering
  • 15-inch steel wheels with hubcaps
  • Chrome-accented multireflector halogen headlights
  • Power mirrors
  • Chrome-accented grille
  • Black door handles
  • 7-inch touchscreen
  • Siri Eyes Free
  • USB port
  • Bluetooth connectivity with audio streaming
  • Hands-free text messaging
  • Tilt steering wheel
  • Variable-intermittent wiper
  • Cloth seating
  • Four-way manual driver’s seat
  • Silver-accented steering wheel
  • Black interior trim
  • Four-speaker AM/FM audio system
  • Steering-wheel-mounted controls
  • Rearview camera

 

S Plus: $14,500*

  • All S features, plus
  • CVT
  • Rear tire air deflectors
  • Rear spoiler
  • Cruise control

 

SV: $15,990*

  • All S Plus features, plus
  • Chrome door handles
  • Fine-vision gauges
  • Outside temperature display
  • Service-interval reminder
  • Keyless entry
  • Remote trunk release
  • Power door locks
  • Power windows with one-touch-down driver’s side
  • Passenger seatback pocket
  • Six-way manual driver’s seat
  • Driver’s seat armrest
  • Upgraded cloth seat trim
  • Cloth door trim
  • 60/40 split-folding rear seats
  • Silver-accented interior
  • Chrome door handles and center vent accents

 

SV Special Edition: $16,790*

  • All SV features, plus
  • 15-inch six-spoke aluminum wheels
  • Fog lights
  • NissanConnect infotainment system
  • SiriusXM radio
  • Apple CarPlay
  • Android Auto
  • Keyless unlock and ignition
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • Piano-black trim
  • Easy-Fill Tire Alert
  • Nissan immobilizer system

2019 Chevy Sonic Key Features and Pricing by Trim

LS: $16,295

  • 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine
  • Six-speed manual transmission
  • Hill-start assist
  • Electric power steering
  • Front disc and rear drum brakes
  • 15-inch steel wheels with hubcaps
  • Auto-on/off projector-beam headlights
  • LED daytime running lights
  • Body-color door handles
  • Manual, body-color mirrors
  • Variable-intermittent windshield wipers
  • Single-zone manual climate control
  • Chevrolet Infotainment System 3
  • 7-inch touchscreen
  • Four-speaker AM/FM audio system
  • Bluetooth connectivity with audio streaming
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Two USB ports
  • Power door locks
  • Manual windows
  • Front and rear floor mats
  • Jet black instrument-panel accents
  • OnStar and Chevrolet connected services capable
  • 4G LTE Wi-Fi
  • Chevrolet Connected Access
  • Remote keyless entry
  • Four-way manual driver’s seat
  • Two-way manual passenger’s seat
  • Driver’s seat armrest
  • 60/40 split-folding rear seats
  • Urethane shift knob
  • Tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel
  • Three-spoke sport steering wheel
  • Steering-wheel-mounted control
  • Outside temperature display
  • Rearview camera

 

LT: $18,795

  • All LS features, plus
  • Heated, power-adjustable mirrors
  • Chrome body-line moldings
  • 16-inch aluminum wheels
  • Six-speaker audio system
  • SiriusXM radio
  • Cruise control
  • Graphite silver metallic instrument panel accents
  • Chrome shift knob
  • Power windows with one-touch up and down front windows

 

Premier: $20,895

  • All LT features, plus
  • Sport suspension
  • Sport body kit
  • Sport exhaust system with chrome outlet
  • Fog lights
  • Sporty rocker panel moldings
  • RS badging
  • 17-inch black-painted aluminum wheels
  • Deluxe floor mats
  • Piano black instrument panel accents
  • Keyless unlock and start
  • Six-way power driver’s seat
  • Heated front seats
  • Leather sport shift knob
  • Leather-wrapped flat-bottom steering wheel with accent stitching
  • Leatherette seating with contrast stitching

Who Should Buy the 2019 Nissan Versa?

The 2019 Nissan Versa is the lowest-priced sedan available in the U.S., and it shows when its range-topping price is only $505 more than the Sonic’s starting price. This makes it the perfect car for buyers on a tight budget. Plus, it still has great features like a standard 7-inch touchscreen and available Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

Who Should Buy the 2019 Chevy Sonic?

With its standard turbocharged engine and sporty RS package, the 2019 Chevy Sonic is a great sedan for buyers looking for a little extra pep in their lives. Plus, with its wide range of youth-focused standard features, including 4G LTE Wi-Fi, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto, the 2019 Sonic if a great option for deeper-pocket young buyers.

 

Tackle your daily commute to Midland or Bay City in the thrifty 2019 Nissan Versa. Not convinced the 2019 Versa is the right subcompact sedan for you? Head to Garber Nissan serving the Saginaw area to take this economical sedan for a test drive. Can’t make it to our Sarasota area dealership today? Head to our online inventory page to see what 2019 Versa models we have in stock for you and choose the one that suits your needs.