2013 Hyundai Accent vs 2014 Nissan Versa Note. Click image to enlarge
Review and photos by Lesley Wimbush
I have a long-held fondness for “cheap and cheerfuls” – those economy hatchbacks that are the unsung heroes of the roadway and the bread and butter of our industry. For every lushly outfitted Audi or Bimmer I drive, I temper with a dose of economy car reality. Because let’s face it folks; these are the cars that most of us can afford.
In one form or another, there’s been a version of what I like to call these “honest cars” in my driveway for the past two decades. And though it might sound crazy to the enthusiasts who think our jobs consist mainly of blatting around the Nürburgring in the latest Carrera – we look forward to and take these cars just as seriously as those worth six figures.
Here are two such examples.
Autos.ca Editor Jacob Black and I spent the day pitting these two reasonably priced cars against one another, on the highway and through subdivisions, gauging their ease of connectivity and the roominess of both trunk and rear seating space in an effort to decide which one offers the best bang for the buck.
In one corner, we’ve got the smallest offering available from Hyundai – the Korean juggernaut whose ascendancy from dismally miserable to one of the top five automakers in the world has probably surprised even them. I’ve driven the Accent in most of its recent iterations, and the current one is by far the best.
In the other – the latest version of Japanese automaker Nissan’s little Versa. The Versa Note has been re-proportioned to make the most of its conservatively sized footprint while offering a bounty of technological goodies.
Opinions on appearance being subjective, there are equal points in favour of the design of both cars. Both Jacob and I preferred the sharply sculpted lines of the streamlined Accent to the softly rounded Versa – which Jacob referred to as “dorky” but could also be viewed as “cute”. While the Accent hunkers down and gives at least a mild impression of sportiness, the Versa is tall and upright with an expanded greenhouse.