Toyota Yaris Vs. Nissan Versa Note: Tiny Hatchbacks Battle

By Justin Cupler | November 28th, 2018

Whether you’re commuting from Waukegan to McHenry or just heading to Crystal Lake for some R&R, a subcompact hatchback can get you and your family there efficiently. Two models tuned just for that are the 2018 Toyota Yaris and 2019 Nissan Versa Note. But which is better for our Fox Lake area car shoppers? Find out below.

Exterior

On the outside, these tiny hatchbacks are no supermodels, but they are functional. The Nissan Versa Note takes on the most utilitarian look of the two, as its high roofline throws its proportions off, but it’s like that to increase headroom and cargo space. The Yaris, however, takes on a slightly sportier look with its big air intake and sporty SE trim. The Yaris adds a small wrinkle into the competition with its two body styles: three- and five-door.

In terms of overall size, the 2018 Yaris is 155.5 inches long, 66.7 inches wide, and 59.4 inches tall. The Yaris rides on a tiny 98.8-inch wheelbase. The 2019 Nissan Versa Note shares the Yaris’ width, but it is longer at 163 inches and taller at 60.5 inches. The Versa Note’s wheelbase is also longer at 102.4 inches.

Advantage: 2019 Toyota Yaris

  • Tiny footprint makes parking a breeze
  • Two body styles
  • Sportier look (relatively)

Advantage: 2019 Nissan Versa Note

  • More modern appearance
  • Higher roofline leads to more headroom

Interior

Inside, the 2018 Toyota Yaris and 2019 Nissan Versa Note accomplish their respective jobs of keeping their prices low, but the Yaris stuffs in a few things to make it not feel as bare bones as the Versa Note. These extra goodies include standard six-way adjustable driver’s seat, black-and-gray seating, power windows, power door locks, a six-speaker audio system, and a USB port.

On top of having additional standard features, the 2018 Toyota Yaris’ cabin feels sportier than the Versa Note with its rounded air vents and climate-control knobs, and three-spoke steering wheel with circular horn button.

In interior roominess, the 2018 Toyota Yaris’ small footprint limits space. Its front seats offer 39.3 inches of headroom, 40.6 inches of legroom, 52.5 inches of shoulder room, and 50 inches of hiproom. The Versa Note’s front seats offer an extra 1.5 inches of headroom and 0.7 inches of legroom but come up short in shoulder room by 0.8 inches and hiproom by 1.5 inches.

In its rear seats, the Toyota Yaris has 37.6 inches of headroom, 33.3 inches of legroom, 51.8 inches of shoulder room, and 49.8 (three-door) to 50.1 inches (five-door) of hiproom. The 2019 Nissan Versa offers an extra 0.4 inches of headroom, 5 inches of legroom, and 1.8 inches of hip room. The only place the Versa Note loses out is its 48.8 inches of shoulder room, which is 3 inches tighter than the Yaris.

Cargo room is always a little tighter in subcompact hatchbacks, but they get the job done for most buyers. The Toyota Yaris rolls in with 15.3 cubic feet of room in the three-door model and 15.6 cubes in the five-door version. Unfortunately, Toyota hasn’t released the Yaris’ maximum capacity with the seats folded. The Nissan Versa Note comes in stronger with 18.8 cubic feet with the seats upright and 38.3 cubes with the seats folded.

Advantage: 2018 Toyota Yaris

  • Higher-quality interior look and feel
  • More standard features

Advantage: 2019 Nissan Versa Note

  • Surprising rear legroom
  • Great headroom
  • Loads of cargo room for its size

Performance

As subcompact hatchbacks, the 2018 Toyota Yaris and 2019 Nissan Versa Note are not speedsters. Instead, they focus on thriftiness. Head to head, though, the Versa Note feels very soft and its tires are not happy in the corners. The Yaris, on the other hand, has a tighter suspension that helps it feel a little more confident in the twisty stuff.

Under its hood, the 2018 Toyota Yaris has a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 106 horsepower and 103 pound-feet of torque. This pairs with a standard five-speed manual transmission or an optional four-speed automatic. In independent testing, this powertrain gets the Yaris to 60 mph in 10.2 seconds.

The 2019 Nissan Versa also has a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine, but its power is a touch higher at 109 horsepower and 107 pound-feet of torque. This all routes through a continuously variable transmission and out to the front wheels for a 9.9-second sprint to 60 mph in independent testing.

Fuel economy is where these small hatchbacks shine. The 2018 Toyota Yaris checks in with 30 mpg city, 36 highway, and 33 combined with manual transmission. Swap out the manual for the automatic transmission, and the mileage slips to 30 mpg city, 35 highway, and 32 combined. The Versa Note delivers a slight advantage in fuel economy at 31 mpg city, 39 highway, and 34 combined.

Advantage: 2018 Toyota Yaris

  • Better handling
  • Available manual transmission

Advantage: 2019 Nissan Versa Note

  • Better fuel economy
  • Quicker sprint to 60 mph

Pricing and Features

The 2018 Toyota Yaris is available in three trims — L, LE, and SE — and their starting prices range from $15,635 to $18,260.

The 2019 Nissan Versa Note comes in three varieties — S, SV, and SR — and their prices range from $15,650 to $18,360

2018 Toyota Yaris Key Features and Pricing by Trim

L: $15,635 (three-door) to $16,760 (five-door)

  • 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine
  • 15-inch steel wheels with hub caps
  • Multi-reflector halogen headlamps with chrome accents
  • Daytime running lights
  • Chrome-accented grille
  • Body-color outside mirrors
  • Body-color outside door handles
  • Intermittent windshield wipers
  • Rear window wiper and defogger
  • Roof-mounted antenna
  • Air conditioning
  • Entune Audio with 6.1-inch touchscreen
  • Six-speaker audio system
  • AM/FM CD player with MP3/WMA playback capability
  • Auxiliary audio jack
  • USB 2.0 port with iPod connectivity and control
  • Advanced voice recognition
  • Bluetooth connectivity with streaming music
  • Siri Eyes Free
  • Fabric-trimmed seats
  • Six-way adjustable driver’s seat
  • Four-way adjustable front passenger seat with seatback pocket
  • 60/40 split fold-down rear seat
  • Tilt three-spoke sport steering wheel with audio controls
  • Combined black and gray interior color
  • Power windows with driver’s-side one-touch down
  • Power door locks with illuminated entry
  • Front seat map lights
  • Cargo area light
  • 12-volt auxiliary power outlet
  • Dual extendable sun visors with vanity mirrors
  • Cargo area tonneau cover
  • Nine airbags
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Lane-departure warning
  • Automatic high beams
  • Rearview camera with guidelines

LE: $17,285 (three-door) to $17,660 (five-door)

  • All L features, plus
  • Black front grille with chrome accent
  • Power outside mirrors
  • 15-inch alloy wheels
  • Cruise control
  • Metallic interior trim accents with satin-chrome interior door handles
  • Remote keyless entry system

SE: $18,260

  • All LE features, plus
  • Projector-beam headlights with black sport trim and LED accent bar
  • Integrated fog lights with chrome surround
  • LED daytime running lights
  • Black front grille with piano-black accent
  • Sport front fascia with piano-black mesh pattern grille and chrome accent
  • Rear spoiler
  • 16-inch machined alloy wheels with dark accents
  • Sport seats
  • Leather-trimmed three-spoke sport steering wheel with audio controls
  • Leather-trimmed shift lever
  • Entune Audio Plus with Connected Navigation App
  • 7-inch high-resolution touchscreen display
  • SiriusXM Satellite Radio
  • HD Radio
  • HD Radio traffic and weather in major metro areas

2019 Nissan Versa Note Key Features and Pricing by Trim

S: $15,650

  • 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine
  • Xtronic CVT
  • 15-inch steel wheels with hubcaps
  • Multi-reflector halogen headlights
  • Active grille shutter
  • Cloth seating
  • Four-way manual driver and passenger seat
  • 60/40 split-folding rear seat
  • Three-spoke steering wheel with controls
  • Four-speaker audio system with 7-inch display
  • MP3/WMA capability
  • Bluetooth connectivity with streaming audio
  • Hands-free text messaging
  • 12-volt power outlet
  • Front map lights
  • Cargo area light
  • Siri Eyes Free
  • Variable intermittent front wipers
  • Four cargo tie-down hooks
  • Rear defogger
  • Rearview camera

SV: $16,550

  • All S features, plus
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • Premium cloth seating
  • Six-way manual driver’s seat
  • Driver’s seat armrest
  • Cruise control
  • Power windows with driver’s one-touch-down window
  • Power door locks
  • Remote keyless entry
  • Second 12-volt power outlet
  • Illuminated entry
  • Divide-N-Hide adjustable floor

SR: $18,360

  • All SV features, plus
  • 16-inch aluminum-alloy wheels
  • Fog lights
  • Body-color side-sills and rear spoiler
  • Mirror-mounted turn signal indicators
  • Sport-style steering wheel
  • Sued-like seating material with colored accents and stitching
  • SiriusXM
  • NissanConnect featuring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Intelligent key with keyless ignition
  • Piano Black center cluster surround
  • Easy-fill tire alert

Who Should Buy the 2018 Toyota Yaris?

The Toyota Yaris is great for a buyer looking for a subcompact hatchback with character. Its lower roofline and sportier interior delivers that.

Who Should Buy the 2019 Nissan Versa Note?

Buyers with a growing family will prefer the 2019 Versa Note’s roomier back seat and additional cargo room. Plus, its extra fuel economy will help keep that family budget as trim as possible.

Ready to take the 2018 Toyota Yaris for a spin through the streets of Waukegan, McHenry, or Crystal Lake? Come down to Garber Fox Lake Toyota today to test drive this thrifty hatchback for yourself. If you can’t make it in today, you can also check out our available inventory online to see what Yaris models we have in stock.