2019 Nissan Versa Note vs. 2019 Ford Fiesta

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Versa Note SL has a standard Around View® Monitor to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Fiesta only offers a rear monitor and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the front or sides.

Both the Versa Note and the Fiesta have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding and rearview cameras.

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 and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Nissan Versa Note is safer than the Ford Fiesta:

 

Versa Note

Fiesta

OVERALL STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Chest Movement

1.2 inches

1.2 inches

Hip Force

403 lbs.

413 lbs.

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

271

307

Spine Acceleration

67 G’s

96 G’s

Hip Force

842 lbs.

900 lbs.

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

195

282

Spine Acceleration

34 G’s

39 G’s

Hip Force

641 lbs.

719 lbs.

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

Reliability

A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the Versa Note’s engine. A rubber cam drive belt that needs periodic replacement drives the Fiesta’s camshafts. If the Fiesta’s belt breaks, the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Versa Note second among small cars in their 2018 Initial Quality Study. The Fiesta isn’t in the top three.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Nissan vehicles are more reliable than Ford vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Nissan 10th in reliability, above the industry average. With 19 more problems per 100 vehicles, Ford is ranked 16th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Nissan vehicles are more reliable than Ford vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Nissan 4 places higher in reliability than Ford.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Versa Note gets better fuel mileage than the Fiesta Auto (31 city/39 hwy vs. 27 city/37 hwy). The Versa Note gets better fuel mileage than the Fiesta Manual (31 city/39 hwy vs. 27 city/35 hwy).

Transmission

The Nissan Versa Note comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the Fiesta.

The Versa Note has a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The Fiesta doesn’t offer a CVT.

Brakes and Stopping

The Versa Note stops shorter than the Fiesta:

 

Versa Note

Fiesta

 

60 to 0 MPH

135 feet

142 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

149 feet

159 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

The Versa Note (except S) offers an optional easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The Fiesta doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

The Versa Note has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Versa Note flat and controlled during cornering. The Fiesta’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Versa Note’s wheelbase is 4.4 inches longer than on the Fiesta (102.4 inches vs. 98 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Versa Note is .6 inches wider in the front and 1.5 inches wider in the rear than on the Fiesta.

Chassis

The front grille of the Versa Note uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Fiesta doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

The Versa Note has 9 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Fiesta (94.1 vs. 85.1).

Cargo Capacity

The Versa Note has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the Fiesta Hatch with its rear seat up (18.8 vs. 14.9 cubic feet). The Versa Note has a much larger trunk with its rear seat folded than the Fiesta Hatch with its rear seat folded (38.3 vs. 25.4 cubic feet).

Ergonomics

The Versa Note has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The Fiesta doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the Versa Note has standard extendable sun visors. The Fiesta doesn’t offer extendable visors.

The Versa Note SR has a standard center folding armrest for the rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable. The Fiesta doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Versa Note owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the Versa Note with a number “1” insurance rate while the Fiesta is rated higher at a number “3” rate.

The Versa Note will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Versa Note will retain 40.76% to 41.22% of its original price after five years, while the Fiesta only retains 32.01% to 34.95%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Versa Note is less expensive to operate than the Fiesta because it costs $234 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost less on the Versa Note than the Fiesta, including $60 less for a water pump and $85 less for a muffler.

Recommendations

The Nissan Versa outsold the Ford Fiesta by 47% during 2018.

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

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