2019 Fiat 500 vs. 2019 Nissan Versa Sedan

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Fiat 500 has Daytime Running Lights to help keep it more visible under all conditions. Canadian government studies show that driving with lights during the day reduces accidents by 11% by making vehicles more conspicuous. The Versa Sedan doesn’t offer Daytime Running Lights.

The 500’s blind spot mirrors use wide-angle convex mirrors mounted in the corner of each side view mirror to reveal objects that may be in the driver’s blind spots. The Versa Sedan doesn’t offer a system to reveal objects in the driver’s blind spots.

Both the 500 and the Versa Sedan have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front-wheel drive, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, rearview cameras and available rear parking sensors.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Fiat 500 is safer than the Nissan Versa Sedan:

 

500

Versa Sedan

 

Driver

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

Neck Stress

406 lbs.

418 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

436/571 lbs.

751/789 lbs.

 

Passenger

STARS

3 Stars

3 Stars

HIC

301

561

Chest Compression

.6 inches

.6 inches

Neck Injury Risk

49%

62%

Neck Compression

24 lbs.

162 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH, results indicate that the Fiat 500 is safer than the Nissan Versa Sedan:

 

500

Versa Sedan

OVERALL STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

166

216

Chest Movement

.7 inches

1.5 inches

Abdominal Force

199 G’s

220 G’s

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

382

686

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The Fiat 500 has a better fatality history. The 500 was involved in fatal accidents at a rate 82% lower per vehicle registered than the Versa Sedan, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Warranty

The 500 comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes free 24-hour roadside assistance. The Versa Sedan’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

Reliability

The Fiat 500’s engines use a cast iron block for durability, while the Versa Sedan’s engine uses an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

The engines in the 500 have a single overhead cam for simplicity. The engine in the Versa Sedan has dual overhead cams, which add to the number of moving parts and the complexity of the cylinder heads.

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the 500 has a standard 120-amp alternator. The Versa Sedan’s 110-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the 500 has a standard 500-amp battery. The Versa Sedan’s 470-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

Engine

The 500’s standard 1.4 turbo 4 cyl. produces 26 more horsepower (135 vs. 109) and 43 lbs.-ft. more torque (150 vs. 107) than the Versa Sedan’s 1.6 DOHC 4 cyl. The 500 Abarth’s optional 1.4 turbo 4 cyl. produces 48 more horsepower (157 vs. 109) and 76 lbs.-ft. more torque (183 vs. 107) than the Versa Sedan’s 1.6 DOHC 4 cyl. The 500 Abarth’s standard 1.4 turbo 4 cyl. produces 51 more horsepower (160 vs. 109) and 63 lbs.-ft. more torque (170 vs. 107) than the Versa Sedan’s 1.6 DOHC 4 cyl.

Transmission

To facilitate fast shifting and allow the driver to focus on the road, the 500 Abarth has a standard up-shift light to indicate when the engine is approaching redline. The Versa Sedan doesn’t offer an up-shift light.

A standard “hill holder” feature keeps the Fiat 500 with manual transmission from rolling backwards on a steep slope. The Versa Sedan doesn’t offer a hill holder feature.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the 500’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Versa Sedan:

 

500

Versa Sedan

Front Rotors

11.1 inches

10 inches

Rear Rotors

9.4 inches

8” drums

The Fiat 500 has standard four-wheel disc brakes for better stopping power and improved directional control in poor weather. Only rear drums come on the Versa Sedan. Drums can heat up and make stops longer, especially with antilock brakes that work much harder than conventional brakes.

The 500 stops much shorter than the Versa Sedan:

 

500

Versa Sedan

 

70 to 0 MPH

172 feet

179 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

125 feet

140 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

126 feet

152 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the 500 has larger standard tires than the Versa Sedan (195/45R16 vs. 185/65R15). The 500 Abarth’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Versa Sedan (205/40R17 vs. 185/65R15).

The 500’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Versa Sedan’s standard 65 series tires. The 500 Abarth’s optional tires have a lower 40 series profile than the Versa Sedan’s 65 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the 500 has standard 16-inch wheels. Only 15-inch wheels are available on the Versa Sedan. The 500 Abarth offers optional 17-inch wheels.

Chassis

The 500 is 2 feet, 7 inches shorter than the Versa Sedan, making the 500 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Cargo Capacity

To allow full utilization of available cargo room, the 500’s hatch uses gas strut supported hinges that don’t intrude into the cargo area. The Versa Sedan’s useful trunk space is reduced by its intrusive beam hinge.

Servicing Ease

The 500 has a maintenance free battery for long life without checking the battery’s water level. The Versa Sedan doesn’t have a maintenance free battery, so the water level in the battery’s cells must be checked often to prevent damage.

Ergonomics

The 500’s standard power windows allow the driver or passenger to lower and raise the windows without leaning over or being distracted. Power windows are only available on the Versa Sedan SV.

The 500’s front power windows lower with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The Versa Sedan SV’s passenger windows don’t open automatically.

The 500’s standard power locks allow the driver or passenger to lock or unlock all the doors at a touch without leaning over, or reaching to the back seat. Power locks are only available on the Versa Sedan SV.

The 500’s speed-sensitive wipers speed up when the vehicle does, so that the driver doesn’t have to continually adjust the speed of the wipers. The Versa Sedan’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the 500 has a standard rear wiper. The Versa Sedan doesn’t offer a rear wiper.

The 500’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. The Versa Sedan doesn’t offer heated side mirrors.

The 500’s power mirror controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The Versa Sedan’s power mirror controls are on the dash, hidden behind the steering wheel, where they are awkward to manipulate.

The 500 (except Pop) offers optional heated front seats, which keep the driver and front passenger extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated seats aren’t available in the Versa Sedan.

The 500’s optional automatic temperature control maintains the temperature you set, automatically controlling fan speed, vents and temperature to maintain a consistent, comfortable environment. The Versa Sedan doesn’t offer automatic air conditioning.

A built-in pollen filter removes pollen, exhaust fumes and other pollutants from the 500’s passenger compartment. This helps prevent lung and/or sinus irritation, which can trigger allergies or asthma. The Versa Sedan doesn’t offer a filtration system.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the 500 is less expensive to operate than the Versa Sedan because typical repairs cost less on the 500 than the Versa Sedan, including $49 less for a muffler, $21 less for front brake pads, $93 less for a starter, $98 less for front struts and $72 less for a timing belt/chain.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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