Ancira Nissan Compares 2017 Nissan Versa Note VS 2017 Fiat 500 Near San Antonio, TX

Responsive image

2017 Nissan Versa Note

Responsive image

2017 Fiat 500

Safety Comparison

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Nissan Versa Note are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The Fiat 500 doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

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 500 only offers rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

Both the Versa Note and the 500 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control and electronic stability systems to prevent skidding.

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 Fiat 500:


Versa Note



Front Seat


5 Stars

5 Stars




Hip Force

403 lbs.

684 lbs.


Rear Seat


5 Stars

5 Stars




Spine Acceleration

67 G’s

70 G’s

Hip Force

842 lbs.

852 lbs.


Into Pole


5 Stars

3 Stars




Spine Acceleration

34 G’s

54 G’s

Hip Force

641 lbs.

1103 lbs.

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

Warranty Comparison

Nissan’s powertrain warranty covers the Versa Note 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Fiat covers the 500. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 5 years or 60,000 miles. Coverage on the 500 ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

There are over 5 times as many Nissan dealers as there are Fiat dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Versa Note’s warranty.

Reliability Comparison

The camshafts in the Versa Note’s engine are driven by a hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs. The 500’s camshaft is driven by a rubber belt that needs periodic replacement. If the 500’s cam drive 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 their vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports predicts that the Versa Note’s reliability will be 125% better than the 500.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2016 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Nissan vehicles are better in initial quality than Fiat vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Nissan 10th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 73 more problems per 100 vehicles, Fiat is ranked 31st, below the industry average.

Engine Comparison

The Versa Note’s 1.6 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 8 more horsepower (109 vs. 101) and 9 lbs.-ft. more torque (107 vs. 98) than the 500’s standard 1.4 SOHC 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

On the EPA test cycle the Versa Note gets better fuel mileage than the 500 Auto with its standard engine (31 city/39 hwy vs. 27 city/33 hwy). The Versa Note gets better fuel mileage than the 500 Manual with its standard engine (31 city/39 hwy vs. 31 city/38 hwy).

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Nissan Versa Note uses regular unleaded gasoline. The 500 requires premium for maximum efficiency, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

The Versa Note stops shorter than the 500:


Versa Note



60 to 0 MPH

122 feet

131 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels Comparison

The Versa Note SL 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 500 doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

The Versa Note has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Versa Note flat and controlled during cornering. The 500 base model’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Versa Note’s wheelbase is 11.8 inches longer than on the 500 (102.4 inches vs. 90.6 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Versa Note is 2.9 inches wider in the front and 3.5 inches wider in the rear than on the 500.

The Versa Note’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (60.2% to 39.8%) than the 500’s (63% to 37%). This gives the Versa Note more stable handling and braking.

Chassis Comparison

The design of the Nissan Versa Note amounts to more than styling. The Versa Note offers aerodynamic coefficients of drag from .298 to .3 Cd (depending on bodystyle and options). That is significantly lower than the 500 (.332 to .359) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the Versa Note get better fuel mileage.

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 500 doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space Comparison

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the Versa Note is rated a Compact car by the EPA, while the 500 is rated a Subcompact.

The Versa Note has standard seating for 5 passengers; the 500 can only carry 4.

The Versa Note has 18.6 cubic feet more passenger volume than the 500 (94.1 vs. 75.5).

The Versa Note has 1.9 inches more front headroom, .6 inches more front legroom, .6 inches more front hip room, 2.3 inches more front shoulder room, 2.4 inches more rear headroom, 6.6 inches more rear legroom, 6.2 inches more rear hip room and 5.5 inches more rear shoulder room than the 500.

Ergonomics Comparison

The Versa Note’s standard power windows have a locking feature to keep children from operating them. Fiat does not offer a locking feature on the 500’s standard power windows.

The Versa Note’s standard power window controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The 500’s available power window controls are spread out on the center console where they can’t be seen without the driver completely removing his eyes from the road.

The Intelligent Key standard on the Versa Note SL allows you to unlock the driver’s door, trunk and start the engine all without removing a key from pocket or purse. This eliminates searching for keys before loading groceries, getting in the vehicle in bad weather or making a hurried start to your trip. The Fiat 500 doesn’t offer an advanced key system.

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 500 doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Versa Note has a standard rear fixed intermittent wiper with a full on position. The rear wiper standard on the 500 only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.

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 500 doesn’t offer extendable visors.

The Versa Note SR/SL has a standard center folding armrest for the rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable. The 500 doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.

Economic Advantages Comparison

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 500 is rated higher at a number “5” 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 53.47% to 54.66% of its original price after five years, while the 500 only retains 41.82% to 44.72%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Versa Note is less expensive to operate than the 500 because it costs $36 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Versa Note than the 500, including $244 less for a water pump, $119 less for fuel injection, $36 less for a fuel pump and $87 less for a power steering pump.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Nissan Versa Note will be $3538 to $6279 less than for the Fiat 500.

Recommendations Comparison

Consumer Reports® recommends the Nissan Versa Note, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Fiat 500 isn't recommended.

The Nissan Versa outsold the Fiat 500 by over 9 to one during the 2016 model year.

© 1991-2016 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. Who We Are
Click here to view the disclaimers, limitations and notices about EPA fuel mileage, crash tests, coprights, trademarks, and other issues.