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The Kia Rio and Nissan Versa are appealing subcompact cars thanks to their features, superb fuel efficiency, and affordable purchase price. These two models are no-frills, dependable daily drivers. So, which cheap new car goes home with more customers, the 2023 Kia Rio or the 2023 Nissan Versa?

Kia Rio vs. Nissan Versa: U.S. sales numbers

A front corner view of the 2023 Nissan Versa
2023 Nissan Versa | Nissan

In the first six months of 2023, Kia sold 14,196 Rio units. The previous year, the South Korean automaker delivered 27,065 Rio cars.

As for Nissan, the Japanese auto giant sold 11,014 Versa units in the first half of 2023. And in all of 2022, the company moved only 13,399 Versa cars.

So, the Rio is outperforming the Versa in 2023 by over 3,000 units. And last year, the Kia car outsold Nissan’s subcompact by 13,666.

A silver 2023 Kia Rio parked in front of a city skyline
2023 Kia Rio | Kia

The average price paid for a 2023 Kia Rio sedan is about $18,400, while the 2023 Nissan Versa’s price is approximately $19,270. And the MSRP of a comparably equipped Rio is also lower than the Versa’s. That could explain why more shoppers have chosen the Rio over the Versa.

The two cars’ performance is similar. However, the Rio’s handling is a bit better than the Versa’s. The Rio’s reduced turning means this little car is easier to maneuver than the Versa. Those could be other reasons why more buyers select the Rio instead of the Versa.

In addition, the 2023 Rio has superior warranty coverage. Learn more about both cars below.

2023 Kia Rio vs. 2023 Nissan Versa: Price, mpg, and space

In terms of pricing, the MSRP of the 2023 Kia Rio subcompact sedan is $16,750, while that of the 2023 Nissan Versa is $15,980. However, that number is for the Versa base model with a manual transmission; one with a continuously variable automatic transmission starts at $17,650.

Also, Kia’s 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty provides peace of mind for Rio drivers. The Versa has an industry-standard five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Furthermore, the 2023 Rio is available as a five-door hatchback or a four-door sedan, whereas Versa comes in only one body style: a four-door sedan. Both seat five riders. Because the Rio is available as a hatchback, users have slightly more storage and cargo space. The hatchback’s versatility allows owners additional flexibility, especially when carrying larger items that might be difficult to fit into a sedan’s trunk.

As for gas mileage, the 2023 Kia Rio gets an EPA-estimated 32 mpg in the city and 41 mpg on the highway. Meanwhile, the 2023 Nissan Versa gets 27 to 32 mpg in the city and 35 to 40 mpg on the highway, U.S. News reports.

Other benefits of the 2023 Rio are impressive noise insulation and a tuned suspension that provides a comfortable and smooth ride. In addition, the slightly increased legroom and headroom in the Rio’s rear row give backseat passengers a more comfortable area to stretch out than the Nissan Versa.

However, most owners like the Versa’s comfortable ride on smooth terrain. It’s also a better car for taller drivers due to its slightly more generous front legroom and headroom than the Rio.

Both cheap new cars are similar in price, features, and benefits. But only one can be more popular: the 2023 Kia Rio.