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In the past twenty years hundreds of infants and young children have died after being left in vehicles, usually by accident. When turning the vehicle off, drivers of the Versa SV/SR are reminded to check the back seat if they opened the rear door before starting out. The Spark doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.
Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Versa has standard Rear Automatic Braking that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Spark doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.
The Versa SV/SR’s blind spot warning system uses digital cameras monitored by computer to alert the driver to moving objects in the vehicle’s blind spots where the side view mirrors don’t reveal them. The Spark doesn’t offer a system to reveal objects in the driver’s blind spots.
To help make backing safer, the Versa SV/SR’s cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The Spark doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.
The Versa SV/SR’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Spark doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.
Both the Versa and the Spark have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front and rear side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, rearview cameras and available daytime running lights.
The Versa’s corrosion warranty is unlimited miles longer than the Spark’s (unlimited vs. 100,000 miles).
To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the Versa has a standard 120-amp alternator. The Spark’s 80-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.
From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Nissan vehicles are more reliable than Chevrolet vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Nissan 14 places higher in reliability than Chevrolet.
The Versa’s 1.6 DOHC 4-cylinder produces 24 more horsepower (122 vs. 98) and 20 lbs.-ft. more torque (114 vs. 94) than the Spark’s 1.4 DOHC 4-cylinder.
On the EPA test cycle the Versa CVT gets better fuel mileage than the Spark CVT (32 city/40 hwy vs. 30 city/38 hwy).
The Versa has 1.8 gallons more fuel capacity than the Spark (10.8 vs. 9 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.
In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Nissan Versa higher (7 out of 10) than the Chevrolet Spark (5). This means the Versa produces up to 8 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Spark every 15,000 miles.
The EPA certifies the Nissan Versa as a “Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle” (SULEV). The Chevrolet Spark is only certified to “Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle” (ULEV) standards.
For better stopping power the Versa’s brake rotors and drums are larger than those on the Spark:
For better traction, the Versa has larger standard tires than the Spark (195/65R15 vs. 185/55R15). The Versa SV’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Spark (205/55R16 vs. 185/55R15).
The Versa SR’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Spark’s 55 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Versa SR has standard 17-inch wheels. The Spark’s largest wheels are only 15-inches.
The Versa has a standard 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 Spark doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.
The Versa has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Versa flat and controlled during cornering. The Spark’s suspension doesn’t offer stabilizer bars.
The Versa has vehicle speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Spark doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Versa’s wheelbase is 9.2 inches longer than on the Spark (103.1 inches vs. 93.9 inches).
For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Versa is 5 inches wider in the front and 5.4 inches wider in the rear than the track on the Spark.
The Versa has standard seating for 5 passengers; the Spark can only carry 4.
The Versa has 5.9 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Spark (88.9 vs. 83).
The Versa has .5 inches more front headroom, 2.8 inches more front legroom, 2.7 inches more front hip room, 2.3 inches more front shoulder room, 2.1 inches more rear hip room and 3.8 inches more rear shoulder room than the Spark.
The Versa has a much larger trunk than the Spark with its rear seat up (14.7 vs. 11.1 cubic feet).
The Versa SR has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The Spark doesn’t offer a remote starting system.
To help each driver find a more comfortable driving position, the Versa has a telescoping steering wheel. Much better than just a tilt steering wheel or adjustable seat, this allows a short driver to sit further from the steering wheel while maintaining contact with the pedals. The Spark doesn’t offer a telescoping steering wheel.
The Versa’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 Spark LT/ACTIV.
The Versa’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. The Spark LS doesn’t offer power locks.
While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the Versa detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Spark doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.
To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the Versa has standard extendable sun visors. The Spark doesn’t offer extendable visors.
The Versa SR’s standard automatic temperature control maintains the temperature you set, automatically controlling fan speed, vents and temperature to maintain a consistent, comfortable environment. The Spark doesn’t offer automatic air conditioning.
To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Versa SR offers an optional Intelligent Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The Spark doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.
With standard voice command, the Versa offers the driver hands free control of the radio by simply speaking. The Spark doesn’t offer a voice control system.
The Nissan Versa comes in sedan and station wagon bodystyles; the Chevrolet Spark isn’t available as a sedan.
The Nissan Versa outsold the Chevrolet Spark by over two to one during 2019.
© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.
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