2021 Lemon Aid New Car Reviews - Superminis

Superminis (referred to also as B-Segment cars) were once a major market segment in Canada but those days are gone. Over the last few years, Ford abandoned its Fiesta, Hyundai discontinued the Accent, leaving the Venue as its cheapest car, but one priced much higher than the Accent it obstensibly replaced. Nissan terminated its Micra and Versa Note hatchback several years ago but replaced them with the Kicks and Versa Sedan. Honda, with the Fit and Toyota, with the Yaris, were long-time players in this segment, have left the scene. Mtsubishi treated its Mirage to a late-cycle refresh for 2021 but only the hatchback returned. Kia continues with the Rio, but only the hatchback is offered this year.

Cars in this class used to be cramped, slow and hoisy. However, unless you need more cabin or cargo space, any of the cars in this class could easily serve as the main car for most people as they all perform well and are refined enough of long trips. 


The better cars in this class are economical to operate and are reliable. However, unless you are a cash buyer, please pay attention to monthly payments for financing and especially leasing, which are often as high as they are for more expensive cars in the next size class up.

Once covered in this section, the MINI Cooper has been moved to the Premium Compact section as most examples carry enough options to push the model out of the supermini price segment.

Chevrolet Spark  Hyundai Veloster N  Kia Soul  Nissan Kicks 
Hyundai Venue  Kia Rio5  Mitsubishi Mirage  Nissan Versa Sedan 

2021 Chevrolet Spark

 


 

What’s new
No changes of note for 2021.

Performance
The $10,198 manual transmission LS base model tested by the APA was a revelation. The 1.4L four is smooth, flexible and surprisingly punchy. While clutch engagement is a bit late in its travel, the clutch is light and easy to modulate. The gearchange is not the last word in precision but is nicely weighted and never fails to find the gear selected. Overall gearing is a bit on the high side, which permits low-rev cruising but does demand you drop a gear for even modest hills. Steering lacks in road feel but is quick and nicely weighted. The brakes work well but could use greater initial bite. Some controlled lean is experienced while cornering but handling is sound and is allied to a surprisingly supple ride for a car with such a short wheelbase. Driven briefly, the CVT works unobtrusively and keeps revs low while cruising at highway speeds. Wind noise and road noise are well suppressed but tire noise borders on intrusive.
Spark drivers face a clear, very conventional appearing gauge package. Even on the base model, the top-centre of the dash is dominated by a large touch screen, below of which are simple audio controls as well as a straightforward three dial climate controls. Seat fabrics and other cabin trim are more attractive than most people will expect for $10,198. Some APA testers thought the front seats to be a bit on the small side, they were quite deeply padded and acceptably supportive. Access to the rear seat is better than expected and rear seat space (especially on the passenger side if the front passenger gives up some room for those in the rear) is surprising for such a small car. Trunk space, while not copious, is tall and regularly shaped. The sound quality of the base two-speaker audio system in the Spark LS is impressive and even the base car is equipped with Android Auto/Apple CarPlay.
Comments
Though sold for many generations overseas under the Daewoo Matiz nameplate, the new Spark is only the second-generation of the car to reach North America. The Spark is powered by a 1.4L four that produces 98 horsepower that sends power to the front wheels via either a five-speed manual transmission or a CVT. Available active safety equipment includes blind spot and lane departure warnings as well as low-speed autonomous emergency braking. With sales of 6287 in Canada in 2020, the Spark handily outsold the Kia Rio and the Mitsubishi Mirage. 

Pricing

The base LS is a very competent car for just over $10,000, but the lack of air-conditioning and automatic transmission, even as options, leaves it on the sideline for most buyers. The LS CVT model includes the automatic transmission and air conditioning, and little else, for $4300, more than twice the value of the equipment. If Chevrolet offered an LS with air conditioning an a CVT for around $2400, sales might increase. Moving up to the 1LT, brings a power group (windows, locks, mirrors and cruise control), heated mirrors and an audio system with six-speakers, renders a car equipped to suit most buyers and is good value. The 2LT range topper includes Keyless Go, a sunroof, heated seats, a sunroof, rear parking sonar, a forward collision warning, low-speed autonomous emergency braking and a lane departure warning, at a fair price. That said, at over $19,000, the Spark 2LT is looking expensive and cars like the Kia Rio and Nissan Versa Sedan look more tempting. Poor leasing terms for 2021 demonstrate that Chevrolet does not want this car back after a lease.  

Reliability
Insufficient data on reliability but few complaints have been received regarding the current Spark that went on sale for the 2014 model year. Previous GM cars from South Korea had a poor reputation for reliability.   

Specifications


Body Style: 4HB
Occupants: 2/3
Engines:
1.4L-4 (98 HP)

Transmissions: 5M, CVT* 
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive
City Fuel Economy:  7.7L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  6.2L/100 km
Active Safety Features: Optional forward collision warning with low-speed autonomous emergency braking and lane departure warning
Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/100,000
Current Generation Debut:  2016
Country of Origin:  South Korea

IIHS Ratings:

Sm. Front Driver: NR

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: NR

Sm. Front Pass.: NR

Head/Seat: NR

Headlight: NR

 

NHTSA Rating:


2021 Hyundai Venue

 


 

What’s new
A wireless iOS-Android cellphone interface is standard on all trims for 2021.
Performance
The 121 horsepower four is surprisingly smooth, quiet enough when pushed hard, and fades into the background while cruising. The CVT automatic is well-adapted to the 1.6L four, reconciles acceleration, fuel economy and refinement very well. The Sport mode of the CVT enlivens performance but is a bit too “sporty” to endure for more than a few minutes of fun.
The Venue’s steering is not the last word in road feel, but it is quickly geared, nicely-weighted and holds its line well enough on the highway. The ride-handling balance is quite acceptable for a car in this segment. The Venue's structure feels very stout, which may make the ride feel better as there is no flex in the structure.

Comments
Although marketed as a crossover, the Venue, lacking all-wheel drive, is just a tall hatchback. The sole engine offered is a 121 horsepower 1.6L four. It can be linked with either a six-speed manual transmission for a CVT. Active safety equipment has been migrating downmarket for a few years; forward collision warning with autonomous emergency braking, blind spot, rear cross traffic and driver awareness monitors are available on the Venue. Despite its late entry, mid-way 2020, the Venue, with 8706 sold, has been a tremendous expense. It appears Accent intenders were diverted by the crossover looks of the Venue and were happy to pay around 10 percent more than the Accent and weren't concerned that all-wheel drive is not available.  

Pricing 

With air condtioning, a wireless iOS-Android cellphone interface, heated seats, power locks, mirrors and windows, a tilt and telescope wheel and a luggage cover, the base Essential trim is very nicely equipped. The CVT transmission is standard on all trims except for the Essential, where it is packaged with cruise control for $1300. The Preferred trim adds alloy wheels, blind spot, rear cross traffic and lane departure  warnings, a lane-keep assist system, a forward collision warning, including pedestrians, as well as autonomous emergency braking, is very good value and is the most popular trim. The supplement to ascend to the Trend trim, which adds a sunroof among other things, is good value. The Urban package adds L.E.D. headlights, two-tone paint, but lacks the sunroof of the Trend, rendering it poor value. The range-tipping Ultimate trim, which adds auto climate control and navigation, is overpriced. The Venue is a reasonable lease value for 2021. This new Hyundai will certainly hurt the sales of the Nissan Kicks, its key competitor. 

Reliability
Average to above average reliability is predicted during the warranty period.

Specifications


Body Style: 4HB
Occupants: 2/3
Engines:
1.6L-4 (121 HP)

Transmissions: 6M, CVT 
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive
City Fuel Economy: 7.9L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  7.0L/100 km

Active Safety Features: Optional forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking, blind spot and rear cross traffic monitors


Warranty: 5/100,000
Current Generation Debut:  2018
Country of Origin:  South Korea

IIHS Ratings:

Sm. Front Driver: G

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: G

Sm. Front Pass.: G

Head/Seat: G

Headlight: M

 

NHTSA Rating:


2021 Hyundai Veloster N

 


 

What’s new
Only the premium-priced, super-sporty N model returns for 2021. An eight-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission replaces the seven-speed unit used last year. The front seats are a new, lighter and more body-locating than previously.

Performance
Power stems from a turbocharged 2L four that cranks out 275 horsepower. The engine is strong, flexible, zingy and acceptably muted in day-to-day operation. However, if you engage the “N” mode, the engine bellows as it approaches the redline and pops and crackles on the over-run. Hyundai wisely makes the “fun” aspects of the N available when you are in the mood for them but lets you enjoy reasonable refinement otherwise.
The clutch of the N is light in weight and smooth in engagement. The gearchange is both precise; with little lost motion.
Steering is beautifully weighted and precise but doesn't follow grooves in the road like some other cars shod with wide, low profile tires.
The ride-handling compromise, with firm control combined with enough resiliency to prevent beating passengers up, reflects a lot of very careful development by Hyundai.
In practical terms, front occupants enjoy enough space as well as the wonderfully locating but not confining front seats. The rear seat has reasonable space for a small, sporty car and the rear door on the passenger side of the car eases access considerably. The trunk is amply spacious and with a hatchback, versatile.

Comments
Based on the now-discontinued Accent, the Veloster exhibits similar design cues as its predecessor. The asymmetric door format remains and affords easy entry to the rear seat. The 'N' model (named after Hyundai's Namyang technical facility and the Nürburgring), has a 2L turbo four under its hood.

Pricing

The Veloster is sold in just a singe "N" trim for 2021, with an eight-speed dual clutch automated manual being the sole option. The Veloster is a very good lease value for 2021. 

Reliability
Predicted reliability is average to above average during the warranty period. 

Specifications


Body Style: 3HB
Occupants: 2/2
Engines:
1.6L-4 T (201 HP), 2L-4 (147 HP)*, 2L-4 T (275 HP) 
Transmissions: 6M, 6A, 7A (clutchless manual: turbo)
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive
City Fuel Economy: 12L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy: 8.6L/100 km
Active Safety Features: Standard forward collision warning, including pedestrian and autonomous emergency braking. Standard blind spot. rear cross traffic monitors and lane departure warnings and a lane keep assist feature. 
Warranty: 5/100,000
Current Generation Debut:  2019
Country of Origin: South Korea

IIHS Ratings:

Sm. Front Driver: G

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: G

Sm. Front Pass.: G

Head/Seat: G

Headlight: P

 

NHTSA Rating:


 

2021 Kia Rio5

 


 

 

What’s new
The sedan body style has been discontinued, leaving only the hatchback this year. Revised front fascia. Trim levels reduced from five to four, resulting in multiple packaging changes. An eight inch infotainment screen is standard on all trims for 2021 and all models feature a wireless version of the iOS-Android cellphone interface. Active safety equipment returns to the Rio for 2021. With the departure of the Honda Fit, Hyundai Accent and Toyota Yaris, the only B-Segment competitor for the Rio this year is the Nissan Versa sedan.

Comments

The Rio's cabin is conservatively stylish, with expensive looking crisply marked gauges and a dash centre dominated by a large free-standing screen which is flanked on each side by infotainment access buttons and a rotating knob in each lower corner for volume and tuning. Upscale features like heated seats and heated steering wheel are standard on all trims. 
Buyers in other markets have a wide variety of engines available but the sole powerplant for Canada is a new 120 horsepower 1.6L four Kia calls Gamma II. Transmission choices include a six-speed manual or a CVT. Driven with the previous powertrain, the Rio was a quick and refined car with good road manners that was, for those who don't need more space, good enough to be the sole vehicle for most drivers. Once a very strong seller, only 3902 Rios were sold in Canada last year. Many buyers seemed to be happy to pay a bit more for the superior utility of the Kia Soul based on the same component set. 

Pricing

With heated seats, air-conditioning, cruise control, power windows, locks, keyless entry and heated door mirrors, the base LX+ Rio is nicely equipped. The CVT transmission, marketed as the IVT, is a $1200 option on the LX+ and standard on the other trims. Moving up to the LX Premium, which adds alloy wheels, a sunroof, heated steering wheel and blind spot monitors, is a bargain. The range-topping EX Premium trim features a forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking, including pedestrians, a lane keep assist system, keyless go, auto climate control, telescoping steering wheel and rain sense wipers, and is priced to reflect the value of its content. The Rio is an acceptable lease value for 2021. 
Reliability
Predicted reliability is average to above average during the warranty period. 

Specifications


Body Style: 4HB
Occupants: 2/3
Engines:
1.6L‑4 (130 HP) 

Transmissions: 6M, CVT* 
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  7.2L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy: 6.0L/100 km


Active Safety Features: Optional forward collision warning, including pedestrians, autonomous emergency braking and a lane-keep assist system. 


Warranty: 5/100,000
Current Generation Debut:  2018
Country of Origin: South Korea

IIHS Ratings:

Sm. Front Driver: G

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: G

Sm. Front Pass.: A

Head/Seat: G

Headlight: NR

 

NHTSA Rating:


2021 Kia Soul

 


 

 

What’s new
Reduced model range with the EX Anniversary and GT Line Premium trims discontinued. Equipment levels shuffled to reflect the revised model lineup.

Performance
With 147 horsepower, the 2L normally-aspirated four furnishes more than adequate power under all conditions and unless really pushed hard, is quite refined as well. The new-to-Kia CVT is well matched to the 2L four, is smooth, keen to downshift, can mimic the operation of a conventional automatic and avoids the “rubber banding” that was so much a part of earlier CVTs. With a generally quiet engine and good suppression of noise from the wind and road, the Soul is a quiet highway cruiser. The steering of the Soul is nicely weighted and is geared to deliver both quick response and good directional stability at speed.
The Soul feels very solid and there is no suspension jiggling over large bumps or over curbs like those experienced when you enter a driveway from the street. The ride of the EX Limited is firmly compliant most of the time and copes well with most surfaces except for long wave speed bumps on side streets, where the need to slow down is more pronounced than it is with other cars driven on the same roads.
The brakes feel over boosted at first but once you are used to them they are strong, easy to modulate and are non-fatiguing in stop-and-go driving. The air conditioning of the Soul can keep occupants cool and refreshed in the hottest weather.

Comments
The design of the new Soul is a refinement of its predecessor and immediately identifiable as a Soul, if not as an all-new car. Built on the same architecture that underpins the Rio that debuted for 2018, the Soul is essentially the same size as its predecessor.
Cabin styling follows previous Soul themes and features the simple, logical controls that are becoming a Hyundai-Kia hallmark. A 10.25 inch infotainment screen with crisp graphics is available, as is a head up display system. Cabin materials are very attractive, especially for this segment. Seating is comfortable front and rear, and rear seat riders have good legroom and plenty of space under the front seats to rest their feet. Trunk space is good for a car in this segment and the trunk is deep below the window line.

The only gasoline engine is a 147 horsepower 2L four used in a number of Hyundai Kia products. The sole transmission offered with the 2L engine is a CVT marketed as the iVT. Two electrics, the 248 kilometre Premium and the 383 kilometre Limited, are available.

Kia sold over 8000 Souls in Canada last year, which may explain where all the Rio buyers have gone.  

Pricing
The Soul model range is not as vast as it was last year but there is enough variety for customers to find whatever suits them. At just over $23,000 with freight /PDI, the base LX is equipped to suit a number of buyers but does lack cruise control, an important feature for some buyers. Moving up to the EX adds alloy wheels, a heated steering wheel, forward collision, blind spot, rear cross traffic and driver awareness monitors as well as lane keep assist system and autonomous emergency braking, at a bargain price. Les versions EX+ and EX Premium are priced to reflect the value of the extra content offered by the upgrades. Moving from the EX Premium to the GT Line Limited range topper adds leather seating, a power driver's seat, a Harmon-Kardon audio system, a head up display and a plethora of comfort and convenience features at a price less than half the value of the additional content. The Soul is a very good lease value for 2021. 
Electric
Two trims, the Premium and Limited, are available. For $9000, the Limited upgrade adds greater range, a more powerfull engine, and a variety of comfort and convenience features such as leather seatng, heated rear seats, a heat-pump, ventilated front seats, a head up display and an upgaded audio system. The additional equipment is worth about $5000, with the rest attributable to the more powerful battery. The Soul EV had a long delivery time last year but now the cars are generally available. Substantial rebates are available from Quebec, B.C., and the Federal government. The Soul electric is a very good lease value for 2021.

Reliability
Average to above average reliability predicted during the warranty period. 

Specifications


Body Style: 4HB
Occupants: 2/3
Engines:
2L-4 (147 HP)*, Electric motor (134 HP (Premium; 201 HP Limited)

Transmissions:  CVT*
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  8.5L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  7.0L/100 km


Active Safety Features: Optional forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking, blind spot and rear cross traffic monitors and adaptive cruise control 

Additional airbags: None
Warranty: 5/100,000
Current Generation Debut:  2020
Country of Origin:  South Korea

IIHS Ratings:

Sm. Front Driver: G

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: G

Sm. Front Pass.: G

Head/Seat: G

Headlight: P

 

NHTSA Rating:


2021 Mitsubishi Mirage

 


 

What's new
The 2021 Mirage is treated to a very late cycle update with revised styling and the addition of a number of available active safety features. 

Comments
The revised Mirage is new from the windshield forward and displays Mitsubishi's "Dynamic Shield" styling theme featuring horizontally-arrayed chrome accent pieces. The cabin is updated as well and incorporates a display audio screen and the availability of the iOS/Android cellphone interface.
Power stems from a 1.2L inline triple churning out 78 horsepower. Transmission choices include a five-speed manual and a CVT. Driven before its update, the Mirage, with a good heater and volcanic seat heaters, shrugs off winter conditions. The Mirage rides pretty well for such a small, light car, especially in town but handling becomes nautical when the car is pushed. The Mirage's steering is relatively precise but lightly weighted and lacks any sensation of the road rolling underneath its wheels. The CVT ekes out every bit of performance available from the 1.2L triple and allows for surprisingly serene cruising, but performance is lacklustre and unless at a steady speed, the engine sounds like a diesel with an exhaust leak. Noise from grit pinging off the bottom or the car and wind noise over the roof (not the windows) betray a lack of sound proofing.
Comfortable front seats but the rear seat is small, hard and flat. Cabin space is quite good considering the Mirage's tight dimensions and two adults can wedge themselves into the back seat for cross-town hops easily enough. Reasonable cabin fit and finish. The trunk is regularly shaped and deep below the window line. Fuel mileage is unimpressive considering the performance disadvantage the Mirage represents compared with its competitors. The Mirage racked up only 1370 sales in 2020, compared with over 6000 sales for the directly competitive Chevrolet Spark. 

Pricing
At nearly $14,000, the base Mirage, the ES manual, is not really that cheap for a small and marginally powered car. A CVT transmission is a $1200 option. Moving up to the SE trim adds alloy wheels, a larger infotainment screen and the iOS-Android cellphone interface, but looks a bit expensive. The range-topping GT includes L.E.D. headlamps, forward collision warning, including pedestrians, autonomous emergency braking, a lane departure warning, heated front seats and steering wheel and keyless entry and Go, among other things, but is expensive for what you get. At over $21,000, the GT looks expensive and makes cars like the Nissan Versa Sedan, Kia Rio, Hyundai Venue and Chevrolet Spark, look like better value. The Mirage is a poor lease value for 2021, demonstrating that Mitsubishi doesn't want this car back at the end of the lease. 

Reliability
Only partial data is available as too few cars have been sold. Unknown CVT durability. The hard-working three-cylinder engine is lubricated by only 3L of oil so check your oil level frequently and keep all oil change receipts in the event of an engine problem. Mitsubishi's 10 year/160,000 powertrain warranty does instill some confidence that the powertrain will go the distance. 

Specifications


Body Style:  4HB
Occupants: 2/3
Engines:
1.2L‑3 (78 HP) 

Transmissions: 5M, CVT* 
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  6.6L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  5.6L/100 km


Active Safety Features: Optional forward collision and autonomous emergency braking and a lane departure warning 


Additional airbags: No information available
Warranty: 3/100,000, 10/160,000
Current Generation Debut:  2014
Country of Origin: Thailand

IIHS Ratings:

Sm. Front Driver: NR

Mod. Front: NR

Side: NR

Roof: NR

Sm. Front Pass.: NR

Head/Seat: NR

Headlight: NR

 

NHTSA Rating:


2021 Nissan Kicks

 

 

 

What’s new
Mid-cycle remake for 2021 includes a new grille, headlights and fascia up front and restyled rear fascia and taillights as well. Cabin updates encompass revised infotainment screens, different upholstery and new seats and door trim on the SV and SR models. Revised packages and packaging, including a new Premium Package on the SR trim with features that were standard on that model last year. 

Comments
Like Mazda, which elected to pass on the Mazda 2 for Canada, Nissan has passed on the current-generation Micra in Canada. However, like Mazda with the CX-3, Nissan has spun the components from a small hatchback into a format it can make a good profit on; hence the Kicks. This strategy worked spectacularly well for Mazda and Nissan has done will with the KIcks.  
The Kicks is powered by Nissan's ubiquitous 1.6L four which mates up to a CVT exclusively. 
The exterior was the first car of the style renaissance for Nissan that has now issued the chic Altima and attractive Sentra, Versa and Rogue. The cabin design is refreshingly clean, uncluttered and features very functional controls. The seating position is good for the driver with plenty of headroom and legroom up front. Larger front passengers feel quite constrained by the centre console. The rear seat is supportive, legroom is reasonable for this class of car and the big doors and high roof make access quite easy. The regularly shaped cargo area is ample and very deep below the window line. The rear seatbacks do not fold flat but cargo space is good with them folded.

Nissan looks to have optimized performance and fuel economy when it was thinking of the Kicks. Unless really pushed hard, the 1.6L four moves the Kicks with sufficient speed and is quite refined around town and at highway speeds. The only time when it becomes a touch vocal is when incremental speed is summoned at highway speeds. The 1.6L four mates well with a CVT transmission that mimics the shift patterns of a conventional automatic transmission and avoids the rubber banding that used to be so much a part of the CVT experience. Steering is accurate but lacks much road feel and the ride-handling compromise arrived at by Nissan will please most buyers. Overall the Kicks is a good package and, considering the cars Nissan has issued over the last decade, the car was a bit of a breakthrough.  With over 13,000 sold in Canada is 2020, the Kicks has been a major hit for Nissan here. It will be interesting to see whether the new Versa sedan, essentially a Kicks with a trunk, hurts sales of the Kicks. 

The air conditioning in the Kicks coped well with tropical weather in Toronto and seemed cool enough despite the fact that the lowest possible temperature is 18 centigrade. Aiming the dash vents to send air to the face proved to be a challenge. The Bose-branded audio system on the SR Premium tested was, with a very muddy sound, disappointing. Sound from the  novel headrest mounted speakers were, despite watching several online tutorials to figure out how they are engaged, proved as elusive on this example as it was on two previous ones. Screen graphics were acceptable in a car at this price point.  



Pricing
With a CVT, air conditioning, Bluetooth, cruise control, forward collision warning and autonomous emergenty braking, including in reverse, blind spot, rear cross traffic and lane departure warnings, the base Kick, the S, is very nicely equipped. Moving up to the SV trim adds alloy wheels, automatic temperature control, heated front seats, a heated, leather-wrapped steering wheel, active cruise control and a variety of minor features, resulting in a nicely equipped car at a reasonable price. Migrating to the SR trim brings L.E.D. headlamps, fog lights, turn signals in the door mirrors, upgraded fabric and auto-dim rearview mirror, at a fair price. The Premium package on the SR, adds a Bose-branded audio system with a driver's headrest speaker, an alarm system, a 360 degree monitor and a luggage cover, and is very good value.  The Nissan build configurator did not have any payment details available on the 2021 in late June of 2021.  

Reliability
Predicted reliability is below average to average. Smaller Nissans generate much higher than average servicing and repair costs. The CVT transmission often expires just after the warranty ends and premature failure of components such a ball joints are accompanied by massive repair bills.     

Specifications


Body Style:  4SD
Occupants:  2/3
Engines:
1.6L-4 (122 HP)

Transmissions: CVT 
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  7.7L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  6.6L/100 km


Active Safety Features: Standard forward collision warning, including pedestrians with autonomous emergency braking, including in reverse. Blind spot, rear cross traffic and lane departure warnings. Optional active cruise control

Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/100,000


Current Generation Debut: 2018
Country of Origin: Mexico

IIHS Ratings:

Sm. Front Driver: G

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: G

Sm. Front Pass.: G

Head/Seat: G

Headlight: P

 

NHTSA Rating:


2021 Nissan Versa Sedan 

 

NEW

 

 

What’s new
Not expected in Canada, the Versa sedan, based on the same platform as the Kicks, went on sale in the fall of 2020.  
Comments
When the latest Versa sedan was shown in New York in April of 2019, Nissan Canada reps stated the car would not be sold here. However, the attrition of vehicles in the segment,  including Nissan’s own Micra and Versa Note, the Chevrolet Sonic, Ford Fiesta, Hyundai Accent, Honda Fit and Toyota Yaris, has opened up enough marketing space for Nissan to think the car has a good chance here now. 
Along with the Nissan Kicks, the Versa sedan is built on the new-generation Micra platform that debuted in other markets for the 2017 model year. Like the current Altima and Sentra, the Versa is an attractive, contemporary design. The Versa has the same wheelbase as the Kicks, but is 201 mm (7.9 inches) longer, slightly narrower, 130 mm (5.1 inches) lower and about 40 kilograms lighter.
Essentially a Kicks sedan, the Versa shares most of the cabin features, including the dashboard, with its tall hatchback showroom mate. The gauges are easy to scan and all controls are logical and work with a satisfying precision. Fit and finish are much better than in small Nissans of the recent past but there is a lot of hard, and perhaps, too shiny plastic, on the doors. 


Power for the Versa stems from Nissan’s ubiquitous 1.6L four that is rated at 122 horsepower. Torque will reach the front wheels via either a five-speed manual transmission or a CVT.
The Nissan 360 Safety shield, with intelligent autonomous emergency braking, including pedestrian detection and rear self-stopping, will be offered, as will lane departure, rear cross traffic and blind spot warnings.

Driven briefly, the Versa is, like the Kicks, quite refined for a car in its class unless it is really pushed hard, when it becomes a bit vocal. Like the Kicks, the Versa delivers adequate power and no more, and requires a lot of throttle to gain any incremental speed on the highway. However, once a steady cruising speed is attained, refinement, except for perhaps too much roadnoise, is quite impressive for a car in this segment. The Versa's steering is not as tactile as that of the related Kicks and it didn't hold its line on highway as well either. 

The front seats feel a bit thin at first but have nicely contoured backrests and prove comfortable enough over a several hour run. Compared with the Kicks, rear seat room is diminished by the lower roofline and the lower-mounted seats. 

The unbranded audio system in our SR sedan sounded better than the Bose-branded equipment in the Kicks SR Premium, but the air-conditioner was barely adequate to the sweltering weather Toronto was experiencing during our week with the car. 



Pricing
With air conditioning, autonomous emergency braking including pedestrians and in reverse and a lane-departure warning system, the base, manual-transmission S trim is very good value. In addition to the transmission, the $1500 CVT upgrade on the S trim includes heated mirrors, door mirror-mounted turn signals and a 60/40 split-fold rear seat, rendering it very good value. The SV trim, with alloy wheels, blind spot and rear cross traffic monitors, auto climate control, heated front seats and the iOS/Android cellphone interface, is a bargain. The SR adds some "go faster" styling tweaks L.E.D. headlamps and remote starting, at a fair price. The Sentra Sedan is an acceptable lease value for 2021. With other makers abandoning the supermini sedan market, it will be interesting to see if the Versa sedan becomes the choice for those 

Reliability
Predicted reliability is average to below average. Smaller Nissans generate much higher than average servicing and repair costs. The CVT transmission often expires just after the warranty ends and premature failure of components such a ball joints are accompanied by massive repair bills.

Specifications


Body Style:  4SD
Occupants:  2/3
Engines:
1.6L-4 (122 HP estimated)

Transmissions: 5M, CVT
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  7.4L/100 km

Highway Fuel Economy:  5.9L/100 km


Active Safety Features: Standard forward collision warning, including for pedestrians, autonomous emergency braking, including in reverse and a lane departure warning. Optional rear cross traffic and blind spot monitors 


Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/100,000
Current Generation Debut: 2021
Country of Origin: Mexico

IIHS Ratings:

Sm. Front Driver: NR

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: NR

Sm. Front Pass.: NR

Head/Seat: NR

Headlight: NR

 

NHTSA Rating: