Compact cars as a class are generally meant to be commuter vehicles: with excellent gas mileage, an entry-level price point, and decent safety ratings for those who are on the road the majority of their time. These cars also make excellent college or starter vehicles for new families.
The Nissan Versa offers non-quirky styling, generous equipment, and an upscale feel so it will appeal to a wide range of buyers and it is a bargain for a number of reasons. The surge in small car popularity was helped by both of these vehicles as automakers planned ahead for a cost increase on gas. The Saturn Ion includes models that are equipped with an optional Enhanced Performance Package that brings a new, larger engine and additional stabilizer bars. Both of these vehicles are just a smidge above $10,000 brand new, making them the ultimate in low-cost transportation.
As expected, both of these vehicles offer great efficiency for highway with the Ion bringing across 35 mpg and the Versa showing up with 34 mpg; the discrepancy is with the city mpg where the Versa continues its good showing with 30 mpg as opposed to the 26 mpg that the Ion delivers. If you’re going to be driving in the city, you might want to consider the more economical Versa. The fuel tanks are paltry at best, with only 13.2 gallons held by the Versa and 13 gallons even in the Saturn Ion.
Interior Features and Options
You’re not going to find a lot of high-end interior options in a just-over-$10,000 vehicle, but there are some decent selections and both vehicles at least offer a carpeted interior. Service interval warnings, low fuel warnings and interior lights are all well-represented in both vehicles so you’re going to have everything that you need to get you there safely and comfortably; if not in a great deal of style. Where you’re really going to feel the difference is in the leg room for the second row – the Versa’s 38.0 inches is going to feel much nicer than the stingy 33.3 inches for the Ion; although the two additional inches of hip room offered by the Ion will certainly be appreciated.
When you need solid, basic transportation to get you and maybe a few kids and friends to your destination, these two vehicles are good options to choose from.