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The subcompact car category has been dwindling over the years. The Honda Fit and Toyota Yaris were front runners for years, but they no longer exist. Nowadays, the Nissan Versa is a big fish in the small subcompact pond, and although it does have a couple of rivals, there’s only one that we would recommend.

What car is comparable to the Nissan Versa?

A blue 2023 Kia Rio subcompact car travels on a city street
2023 Kia Rio | Kia

In addition to the Nissan Versa, the subcompact car category is populated by contenders like the Kia Rio and Mitsubishi Mirage. Out of those two rivals, we recommend checking out the 2023 Kia Rio for its confident driving manners and tech-savvy features.

Like the Nissan Versa, the Kia Rio comes with a bevy of tech features like an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system, wireless Apple Carplay/Android Auto, and Bluetooth. Stepping up to the up-level Rio S trim adds a sliding armrest, a smart key, and remote keyless entry. The Rio is also pretty slow, with its 120-hp engine. But, like the Versa, power isn’t the point of this car.

Instead, the Kia Rio is meant for fuel efficiency. As such, the EPA estimates the Rio can get up to 32 mpg in the city and 41 mpg on the highway. By comparison, the Versa is estimated to reach 40 mpg on the highway and the same city fuel economy.

We recommend the Kia Rio for its solid driving dynamics and practicality. The editors at Car and Driver noted, “The Rio soaks up bumps well for such a small car thanks to its solid structure and well-tuned suspension.” Furthermore, it’s cheap.

The 2023 Kia Rio starts at $16,750 for the base model and $17,390 for the up-level S trim. That’s very inexpensive, considering our 2023 Nissan Versa tester was priced at $22,460 fully loaded. So, value is the most important factor here.

The Mitsubishi Mirage offers plenty of value but not much quality

Red 2023 Mitsubishi Mirage sedan front 3/4 view
2023 Mitsubishi Mirage sedan | Mitsubishi

The other Nissan Versa contender is the 2024 Mitsubishi Mirage. It’s a compact hatchback that gets 39 mpg (combined), seats five adults, and comes with a 10-year/100,000-mile warranty. It sounds great, doesn’t it?

However, the Mitsubishi Mirage is a mirage for budget-savvy buyers as it presents itself well with its low price tag and impressive feature set. The base Mirage ES trim comes standard with basic necessities like Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, cruise control, and an auto climate control system.

Stepping up to the highest Mirage doesn’t add much aside from larger wheels, a push-button start, and remote keyless entry. But at a low price of $18,595, it could be worth the upgrade.

Speaking of price, the base Mirage ES starts at $16,695, which is still more expensive than the base Nissan Versa. But the real kicker is the car’s lackluster driving dynamics, highlighted by its weak 76-hp engine.

The Mitsubishi Mirage may provide a tempting value package over the Versa regarding its features and fuel efficiency. However, its higher price and cheap quality aren’t worth the trade-off.

The Nissan Versa is a leader in the category

A rear view of the 2023 Nissan Versa parked on a city block
2023 Nissan Versa | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

Since the Honda Fit and Toyota Yaris no longer exist, we consider the Nissan Versa ahead of the pack in its category. The Versa’s comfortable driving dynamics, superb fuel efficiency, and value-packed featured set make it a top contender.

However, if the Versa doesn’t work for you, we recommend checking out the Kia Rio.


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