Jones Ford Buckeye Compares 2011 Ford Fiesta VS 2011 Nissan Versa Near Phoenix, AZ

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2011 Ford Fiesta

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2011 Nissan Versa

Safety Comparison

The Fiesta has standard four wheel antilock brakes for quicker stops and controlled steering ability, especially under poor traction conditions. Antilock brakes cost extra on the Versa.

The Fiesta has standard AdvanceTrac™, which uses the antilock brake hardware along with powerful software and additional sensors to detect the beginning of a skid. The AdvanceTrac™ then intervenes by automatically applying the brake at one appropriate wheel, preventing a skid. A skid prevention system costs extra on the Versa. A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study showed that skid control systems reduced single-vehicle car crashes by 30%.

The Fiesta offers optional 911 Assist, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to get driving directions or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Versa doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies.

Both the Fiesta and the Versa have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front-wheel drive, height-adjustable front shoulder belts and plastic fuel tanks.

For its top level performance in frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, and its standard AdvanceTrac™, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rates the Fiesta Sedan as a “Top Pick” for 2010, a rating only granted to 55 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Versa was not a “Top Pick.”

Warranty Comparison

The Fiesta comes with free roadside assistance for 5 years 60,000 miles. Ford will send help if you run out of gas, need a jump start, lock your keys in or need any assistance on the road. Nissan doesn’t give free roadside assistance for the Versa.

There are almost 4 times as many Ford dealers as there are Nissan dealers, which makes it much easier to get service under the Fiesta’s warranty.

Reliability Comparison

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

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2010 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Ford vehicles are better in initial quality than Nissan vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Ford fifth in initial quality, above the industry average. With 18 more problems per 100 vehicles, Nissan is ranked 12th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ surveys of the owners of three-year-old cars provide the long-term dependability statistics that show that Ford vehicles are more reliable than Nissan vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Ford 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 39 more problems per 100 vehicles, Nissan is ranked 25th.

Engine Comparison

The Fiesta’s 1.6 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 13 more horsepower (120 vs. 107) and 1 lbs.-ft. more torque (112 vs. 111) than the Versa’s standard 1.6 DOHC 4 cyl.

As tested in Car and Driver the Ford Fiesta is faster than the Nissan Versa 1.8 DOHC 4 cyl. (manual transmissions tested):



Zero to 60 MPH

9.3 sec

9.4 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

29.1 sec

30.7 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

82 MPH

81 MPH

Top Speed

119 MPH

117 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

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



1.6 4 cyl./Manual

28 city/37 hwy

26 city/34 hwy

1.6 4 cyl./Manual


26 city/31 hwy

1.8 4 cyl./Manual

1.6 4 cyl./6-spd Auto

29 city/40 hwy

28 city/34 hwy

1.8 4 cyl./CVT


25 city/33 hwy

1.6 4 cyl./Auto


24 city/32 hwy

1.8 4 cyl./Auto

The Fiesta has a standard capless fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation which causes pollution. The Versa doesn’t offer a capless fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

The Fiesta with its standard antilock brakes stops much shorter than the Versa with antilock brakes:



80 to 0 MPH

138 feet

232 feet

Road & Track

70 to 0 MPH

175 feet

183 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

116 feet

138 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels Comparison

The Fiesta SES’ tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Versa 1.8 SL Hatchback’s optional 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Fiesta has standard 15-inch wheels. Smaller 14-inch wheels are standard on the Versa Sedan 1.6. The Fiesta’s optional 17-inch wheels are larger than the 16-inch wheels optional on the Versa 1.8 SL Hatchback.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

The Fiesta’s drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The Versa doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

The Fiesta SES Five-Door Hatchback handles at .81 G’s, while the Versa 1.8 S Hatchback pulls only .74 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Fiesta SES Five-Door Hatchback executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Versa 1.8 SL Hatchback (28 seconds @ .58 average G’s vs. 28.8 seconds @ .56 average G’s).

Chassis Comparison

The Fiesta is shorter than the Versa, making the Fiesta easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces:




173.6 inches

176 inches

Station Wagon

160.1 inches

169.1 inches

Passenger Space Comparison

The Fiesta Sedan has .8 inches more front legroom, 1.8 inches more front hip room and 2 inches more rear hip room than the Versa Sedan.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The Fiesta’s standard rear seats fold to accommodate long and bulky cargo. The Versa 1.6/S Sedan doesn’t offer folding rear seats, only a ski pass-through.

Ergonomics Comparison

The engine computer on the Fiesta automatically engages the starter until the car starts with one twist of the key and disables the starter while the engine is running. The Versa’s starter can be accidentally engaged while the engine is running, making a grinding noise and possibly damaging the starter and ring gear.

To help each driver find a more comfortable driving position, the Fiesta 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 Versa doesn’t offer a telescoping steering wheel.

The power windows available on both the Fiesta and the Versa have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Fiesta is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Versa prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The Fiesta’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Versa’s optional passenger windows don’t open or close automatically.

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the available exterior keypad. The Versa doesn’t offer an exterior keypad entry system.

The Fiesta has standard power remote mirrors. The Versa 1.6 doesn’t offer either a remote driver side or passenger side mirror. The driver will have to roll down the windows and reach across the car to adjust the mirrors.

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

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

The Fiesta SEL/SES’ standard rear view mirror has an automatic dimming feature. This mirror can be set to automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on it, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Versa doesn’t offer the luxury of an automatic dimming rear view mirror.

The Fiesta’s optional heated front seats keep the driver and front passenger extremely comfortable in the winter. The Versa doesn’t offer heated seats.

For greater rear passenger comfort, the Fiesta has standard rear heat vents to keep rear occupants more comfortable. The Versa doesn’t offer rear vents.

With available voice command, the Fiesta offers the driver hands free control of the radio, cell phone and the navigation computer by simply speaking. The Versa doesn’t offer a voice control system.

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