Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2011 Nissan Versa VS 2011 Ford Fiesta Near Scottsdale, AZ

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2011 Nissan Versa

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2011 Ford Fiesta

Safety Comparison

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

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

Engine Comparison

The Versa’s optional 1.8 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 2 more horsepower (122 vs. 120) and 15 lbs.-ft. more torque (127 vs. 112) than the Fiesta’s 1.6 DOHC 4 cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the Nissan Versa 1.6 4 cyl. is faster than the Ford Fiesta (manual transmissions tested):



Zero to 30 MPH

2.8 sec

3.3 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

8.9 sec

9.5 sec

Zero to 80 MPH

16.2 sec

17.7 sec

Passing 45 to 65 MPH

5.1 sec

5.3 sec

Quarter Mile

16.8 sec

17.4 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

81.5 MPH

79.2 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

The Versa has 1.2 gallons more fuel capacity than the Fiesta (13.2 vs. 12 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

For better stopping power the Versa’s brake rotors and drums are larger than those on the Fiesta:



Front Rotors

11.02 inches

10.2 inches

Rear Drums

9 inches

7.9 inches

In an emergency stopping situation, many drivers don’t press the brakes with enough force to stop the vehicle in the shortest distance. The Versa offers an optional brake assist system with its available antilock brakes to detect emergency braking situations (by how hard and how quickly the brake pedal is pressed) and then automatically apply maximum braking immediately in order to help prevent a collision. The Fiesta doesn’t offer a brake assist feature.

The Versa with optional antilock brakes stops shorter than the Fiesta with antilock brakes:



60 to 0 MPH

137 feet

142 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

152 feet

159 feet

Consumer Reports

Suspension and Handling Comparison

The Versa has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Versa 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’s wheelbase is 4.4 inches longer than on the Fiesta (102.4 inches vs. 98 inches).

The Versa’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (53% to 47%) than the Fiesta’s (59.4% to 40.6%). This gives the Versa more stable handling and braking.

The Versa 1.8 S Hatchback goes through Road & Track’s slalom 1 MPH faster than the Fiesta SES Five-Door Hatchback (63.2 vs. 62.2 MPH).

Chassis Comparison

The design of the Nissan Versa amounts to more than styling. The Versa has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .31 Cd. That is lower than the Fiesta (.33) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the Versa get better fuel mileage.

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the Versa 1.8 SL Hatchback is quieter than the Fiesta SES Five-Door Hatchback:



At idle

40 dB

46 dB


74 dB

75 dB

70 MPH Cruising

70 dB

72 dB

Passenger Space Comparison

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

The Versa Sedan has 9.2 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Fiesta (94.3 vs. 85.1).

The Versa Sedan has 1.5 inches more front headroom, .8 inches more front shoulder room, .8 inches more rear headroom, 6.8 inches more rear legroom and 1.7 inches more rear shoulder room than the Fiesta Sedan.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The Versa Sedan has a larger trunk than the Fiesta Sedan (13.8 vs. 12.8 cubic feet).

The Versa Hatchback has a much larger cargo area with its rear seat up than the Fiesta Five-Door Hatchback with its rear seat up (17.8 vs. 15.4 cubic feet). The Versa Hatchback has a much larger trunk with its rear seat folded than the Fiesta Five-Door Hatchback with its rear seat folded (50.4 vs. 26 cubic feet).

Ergonomics Comparison

The Versa’s available power locks have a lockout prevention feature. When the key’s in the ignition and the driver’s door is open, the power locks won’t lock. The Fiesta doesn’t provide lockout prevention.

The Versa 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 improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Versa has a standard rear fixed intermittent wiper with a full on position. The rear wiper standard on the Fiesta only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.

The Versa SL has a standard center folding armrest for the driver and front passenger. A center armrest helps combat driver fatigue. The Fiesta doesn’t offer a front seat center armrest.

The Versa SL 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.

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