Just because the 2013 Nissan Versa and the 2013 Honda Fit compete in the subcompact segment, does not mean that they are anything alike. Sure, they may both offer fun exterior styling, great safety scores and fantastic fuel economy, but they are quite different in many ways. These are definitely vehicles that you will want to test drive around Orange County; you will likely find that one tends to have a bit more of a shining moment where handling is concerned.
One of the biggest differences between the two is that Nissan provides one reliable engine, while Honda adds on an electric option. The 2013 Versa gets a 1.6-liter four-cylinder that is good for 109 horsepower and 107 pound-feet of torque. The S model gets a standard five-speed manual, but a four-speed automatic is available. All other trims can opt for a CVT. Versa is not winning any races against the Mustang, by any means, taking 10.4 seconds to reach 60 mph, but fuel economy is unreal, yielding 31 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway.
Standard engine in the 2013 Honda Fit is a 1.5-iter four-cylinder that returns 27 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. Although fuel economy is still respectable, it is nowhere near being as generous as what Versa gives you.
Honda Fit EV is a brand new model for 2013. The electric motor and lithium-ion battery pack are rated at 123 horsepower, delivering an average of 82 miles on a full charge. Acceleration is actually impressive, taking 8.5 seconds to reach 60 mph. If you have a 240-volt charger, Fit can charge in three hours, otherwise, it will take 15 hours to reach a full charge using a 120-volt. Not to mention, 82 miles is not all that far, so don’t plan on doing too much driving around Southern California without coming home to charge.
Driving and Handling
It only takes one test drive to discover that the ride comfort in Versa is significantly better than what you will receive in Fit. Versa has a fantastic suspension for such a small car. Most assume that they will be jarred around by every bump in the road in a subcompact, but that is hardly the case in the 2013 Nissan Versa. Also, the CVT is surprisingly smooth as well. Car enthusiasts typically frown on these transmissions, simply because there have been complaints in the past, but Nissan really delivered on this one.
The 2013 Honda Fit does offer responsive steering and the vehicle can be fun to drive with the manual transmission. It is a little loud, especially on the highway, which is disappointing considering acoustic insulation was added last year. It should be noted that Honda Fit EV handles considerably better than the gasoline version.
If you are one who assumes you need to be in a large vehicle to the safe, you can throw those theories out the window! Both the Versa and Fit received top safety scores by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in front, side and roof-strength protection.
When it comes to braking capabilities, the 2013 Versa comes out ahead taking a respectable 128 feet to stop from 60 mph. Fit is longer than average at 134 feet. Both vehicles give you similar safety features, such as airbags, antilock brakes, child seat anchors and stability control.
The biggest difference between the two vehicles is with exterior styling. Versa is a sedan while Fit is a hatchback. It is hard to believe Versa has a starting MSRP of only $11,990 because its styling makes it look significantly more expensive. Although its sloped roof looks like it would compromise interior headroom, it actually doesn’t.
Not to totally rip apart the 2013 Honda Fit, but the starting MSRP is significantly higher at $15,425, but it looks cheap. The body looks plastic-like and the wheels are definitely not doing it any favors.
You will find a surprising amount of leg and headroom in the rear seat of both of these cars. Plus, front seats are quite comfortable. The first thing you notice in the 2013 Nissan Versa are the gauges and controls; they are clearly marked and thoughtfully placed within reach.
Fit has a “Magic” 60/40 seat that is a nice feature. You can flip the seat bottom open to create an opening for taller cargo. Plus, Fit gives you 57.3 cubic feet of cargo space, which is as much as some crossovers.
Technology and Entertainment
Don’t expect to be blown away by technology, but there are definitely a few highlights to appreciate. The 2013 Fit offers the Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System™ with voice recognition while Versa has the Nissan Navigation System. Versa also offers the Nissan Intelligent Key®, so you never have to fumble in your purse or pocket for your keys. Plus, a rearview monitor is available as well; a feature you might not expect to find on a vehicle with such a low price point.