08 Corolla or 08 Versa

Ok, I think I have narrowed it down to these two choices for a new car purchase. Both have small drawbacks—the driving position on the Corolla is a bit cramped leg-wise, and the Versa seems better in legroom but perhaps more squidgy side to side.

I thought I’d like to have a hatchback for flexibility-sake, putting bike in, etc. but I’m not sure of the Versa’s track record, or how it compares in the real world to the Corolla. I was less impressed with the Matrix, even tho’ it is supposedly a Corolla.

Great gas mileage, safety and no hassles are key.



Try for the Scion next. Maybe you could use a Camry.

Neither. Keep looking given you have complaints about both that bother you enough during a (short?) test drive to remember it can a sign of an unhappy marriage. Like divorce getting rid of an new car is hard on the wallet.

Check out a Mazda 3

The Versa will probably be a bit more thrifty on gas than the Corolla, but the long-term reliability of the Versa is an unknown. While Toyota has a record of consistently good reliability (at least on the Corolla), the Versa is a new design and Nissan has a somewhat spotty reliability record with its smaller cars.

And, Nissan’s recent association with Renault probably will not help in the reliability department. Personally, I would go with the Corolla, but since you have to be comfortable behind the wheel, only you can decide which one fits you better.

Agree with others - neither sounds like a perfect fit for you. Between just those two, I’d take the Corolla every time. Its gas mileage is just as good (or better), has a better reliability rep, and it is made either in California or Ontario… the Versa comes from Mexico…

Others you may want to check are the Mazda3, Ford Focus (the cheaper cousin to the 3 - older platform, same basic powertrain), or a Honda Civic (not all that cheap)

If you really want a hatchback, I would go with the Mazda 3; it has proven reliability, a lot of space, great seats, and sportscar-like handling.

Repairs should be about the same during the first 5 years of ownership. That is based on the cost of an extended warranty for both cars. It’s an educated guess on repair likelihood from the insurer and they have access to repair records from the manufacturers to make their decisions.

The big difference will be in maintenance costs, which are almost guaranteed. Edmunds reports that the Corolla will be about $1800 higher than the Versa. That’s $1800 insurance against repairs if you buy the Versa.

Sentra is the comparable Nissan to the Corolla. The Corolla’s maintenance cost is over $1500 higher than the Sentra’s in the first 5 years. But if you are comfortable with the Versa, go for it.

Does anyone know where Edmunds pulls those maintenance cost numbers from?

I always do ALL recommended maintenance and a lot more, and my costs have consistently been thousands less than they claim they should be… And I’ve had different cars where the recommended maintenance was identical, yet Edmunds claim it should have been hundreds to thousands of dollars in difference…

Actually, I think I know where they pull them from…

One of the prior posts, we learned that Edmunds bases this on the cost of the extended warranty! This does not make a great deal of sense to me since the extended warranty is sold as a moneymaker, and I turned down the offer when I bought my Toyota, since it basically covered things that don’t break easily. Extended warranties are priced based on what the market will bear!

To speculate that a Toyota with one of the best repair records will cost $1500 more than a Versa which is an unproven, Renault quality inspired car is absurd!

There are countless Corolla owners (see the owners feedback site) who spent virtually nothing on repairs the first 5 years of ownership.

If I was buying a Versa tomorrow, I would be inclined to budget at least $1500 more for repairs on the Versa!

We also own a Nissan Sentra, 1994, and the first 5 years (100,000 miles)the repair costs (not maintenance) came to $2615. But these Nissans were built before the quality went downhill.

Edmunds takes maintenance costs from warranty costs? I highly doubt that.

Nissan makes cars with average reliability. Average is very good nowadays. Only Toyotaphiles would assume you need to budget $1500 more for repairs on a Nissan vs. a Toyota.

On all our cars, we have rarely spent anything on repairs the first 5 years, regardless of brand. After that, I have rarely approached $1500 over 10. The worst offenders have consistently been Corollas, in fact, despite an overabundance of Fords in the family. Not that the Corollas have been bad.

In any case, the disparity we’re talking about is maintenance not repair. It is in maintenance, not repair, that Edmunds says to budget $1500 extra for in the case of the Corolla. And there is no logic for there being that sort of disparity.

My only comment on Toyota is do not expect a miracle anymore. Their star the newly designed 2008 Camry is a dud in both the 4 cylinder and 6 cylinder versions. There is a known shifting problem without a fix currently on both. I know at least 2nd or 3rd repeat buyer who are sorely disappointed by a poorly shifting vehicle. These are people who tend not to who care much on cars (typ Camry owner) but they notice this prominent problem.

Just looked at my Corolla maintenance manual, and for the first 5 years, the following are recommended:

  1. 12 oil& filter changes (approx. $360)
  2. 5 10,000 mile ispections ($250)
  3. 1 engine coolant change ($75)
  4. 5 cabin ir filters ($100)

Total about $750

My mistake in confusing mainteance with repair; in bot cases Edmunds is out to luch, I believe.

The inspections is something my mchanic will do for about $50 maximum, So I am puzzled why Edmunds can add up those itmes and have them cost $1500 MORE than the maintenance on a Versa. It might be that Toyota charges exhobitant prices for just looking at your car to see if anything is wrong.

Shorty; just added up my 1994 Nissan Sentra maintenance for 100,000 miles (11 years of driving)and it came to $1282, using synthetic oil and doing it by-the-book. So Edmunds would imply that a Corolla would be $1800 more than that, or $3032! For that you can maintain a Mercedes.

I think Edmunds sells these services to fleet mangers who would use them for budgeting. Like the AAA figures on what it costs to operate a car, they are wildly out of line compared to what real owners’ experience.

“Edmunds takes maintenance costs from warranty costs? I highly doubt that.”

They infer repair costs from the extended warranty cost, not maintenance costs. Here’s what they say about repairs:

“This is the estimated expense for repairs not covered by the vehicle manufacturer’s warranties over the five years from the date of purchase, assuming an average of 15,000 miles are driven annually. This expense is based on the cost of a typical “zero deductible” extended warranty for the vehicle, minus the estimated amount of that cost that consists of the warranty provider’s overhead and profit.”

And maintenance costs:

“This is the estimated expense of two types of maintenance: scheduled and unscheduled. Scheduled maintenance is the performance of factory-recommended items at periodic mileage and/or calendar intervals. Unscheduled maintenance includes wheel alignment and the replacement of items such as the battery, brakes, headlamps, hoses, exhaust system parts, taillight/turn signal bulbs, tires and wiper blades/inserts. Estimated tire replacement costs are supplied to Edmunds.com by The Tire Rack, Inc.”

Thanks for clearing up the confusion.

With respect to projected repair costs, the cost of extended warranty is a highly marked up (100% or so) figure, and is a very rich figure indeed. To put it into perspective, my Nissan Sentra for the first 75,000 miles was maintained by the book (synthetic oil) and incurred $1118 in mainteance expenses and $1430 in repairs and replacements.

The 5 year projected maintenance on my Corolla is $750, which can’t be $1800 more than a Versa.

In another post we talked about the value and cost of extended warranties. I kept track of 11 household appliances over a 5 year period, all had a 1 year factory warranty. The repairs incurred not covered by warranty in the remaining 4 years came to $106.00. The cost of the extended warranties, if I had taken them would have been $1150.00. I rest my case as to how good an indicator extended warranties are of repair costs. Many other posters will likely agree.

With respect to maintenance, the Tire Rack figures look like worst case scenarios. It is entirely possible that someone incurs these costs, but, as many poster will agree, most of us don’t, except those that own luxury cars.

I would invite others who keep track of their expenses to give us their experience.

That’s exactly what I’ve seen… no car I have ever owned has come anywhere close to what they say the maintenance costs are… they have all, without fail, been hundreds to thousands less.

That’s one reason why I put no faith in Edmunds’ “true cost to own” numbers. Others are that I buy in cash (no financing), which they used to not even consider as possible, and also that I keep cars until the wheels fall off. So depreciation expense over 5 years doesn’t matter - its the depreciation over 15 that matters. A car that depreciates quickly at first then levels off (like my Taurus) isn’t necessarily worse than one that has a linear depreciation (my Camry). The first few years the Taurus was much worse on depreciation, now its much better… :slight_smile: