2019 Nissan Versa Sedan vs. 2019 Ford Fiesta

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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The Versa Sedan has standard whiplash protection, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the whiplash protection system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Fiesta doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

Both the Versa Sedan 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 Sedan is safer than the Ford Fiesta:


Versa Sedan



Rear Seat


4 Stars

4 Stars

Spine Acceleration

58 G’s

96 G’s

Hip Force

759 lbs.

900 lbs.


Into Pole


5 Stars

5 Stars




Spine Acceleration

32 G’s

39 G’s

Hip Force

584 lbs.

719 lbs.

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


A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the Versa Sedan’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.

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the Versa Sedan’s reliability 42 points higher than the Fiesta.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Versa Sedan 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.


As tested in Consumer Reports the Nissan Versa Sedan is faster than the Ford Fiesta (automatics tested):


Versa Sedan


Zero to 30 MPH

4 sec

4.3 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

10.6 sec

10.9 sec

45 to 65 MPH Passing

6.6 sec

6.9 sec

Quarter Mile

18.1 sec

18.4 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

79.6 MPH

79.5 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Versa Sedan gets better fuel mileage than the Fiesta:





Versa Sedan



1.6 DOHC 4 cyl.

27 city/36 hwy



1.6 DOHC 4 cyl.

31 city/39 hwy




1.6 DOHC 4 cyl.

27 city/35 hwy



1.6 DOHC 4 cyl.

27 city/37 hwy


The Versa Sedan offers an optional 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 Sedan stops shorter than the Fiesta:


Versa Sedan



70 to 0 MPH

179 feet

181 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

140 feet

142 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

152 feet

159 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

The Versa Sedan SV 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 Sedan has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Versa Sedan 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 Sedan’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 Sedan is .6 inches wider in the front and 1.5 inches wider in the rear than on the Fiesta.


The design of the Nissan Versa Sedan amounts to more than styling. The Versa Sedan has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .319 Cd (optional .288 Cd with CVT). That is lower than the Fiesta (.33) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the Versa Sedan get better fuel mileage.

Passenger Space

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Versa Sedan a Compact car, while the Fiesta Sedan is rated a Subcompact.

The Versa Sedan has 5.1 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Fiesta (90.2 vs. 85.1).

The Versa Sedan has .7 inches more front headroom, 5.8 inches more rear legroom and 2.9 inches more rear shoulder room than the Fiesta Sedan.

Cargo Capacity

The Versa Sedan has a much larger trunk than the Fiesta Sedan (14.9 vs. 12.8 cubic feet).


The Versa Sedan 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.

Consumer Reports rated the Versa Sedan’s headlight performance “Very Good,” a higher rating than the Fiesta’s headlights, which were rated “Good.”

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

Economic Advantages

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

The Versa Sedan will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Versa Sedan will retain 37.96% to 42.35% 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 Sedan 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 Sedan than the Fiesta, including $60 less for a water pump and $85 less for a muffler.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Nissan Versa Sedan will be $1410 to $2698 less than for the Ford Fiesta.


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

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

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