2015 Honda Fit vs. 2015 Nissan Versa Note
Were The Honda Fit and Nissan Versa Note Separated at Birth?
The other day I walked past the 2015 Nissan Versa Note and thought it was the 2015 Honda Fit. I had to do a double take to confirm which car I was looking at. Side by side comparisons clearly show how I could have made such a foolish blunder. Although the two hatchbacks share several design characteristics on the outside, the interior is a different story. Let’s take a closer look at the current Honda Fit and Nissan Versa Note as they do battle in the subcompact segment.
In a front on front comparison the Honda Fit has a larger grille while the Nissan Versa Note has bigger headlights. Both grilles cut into the bottom of the headlights creating a sharp and aggressive appearance. The bumpers also look similar having encased fog lights and a lower grille that tapers out. A noticeable difference is how the side mirrors on the Honda make the Fit look more confident compared to the Note’s tiny, Shrek-like ears.
In the rear the Note has curves while the Fit prefers sharp angles. The position and layout of the tail lights are similar with both connecting the rear window to the trunk. The biggest similarities are visible when viewed from the side and angles. The silhouettes are almost identical down to the small window in front of the side mirror. The rear quarter differs a bit as the Note has a larger rear side window and appears to have a longer trunk. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it has more space inside.
It’s much easier to tell the two hatchbacks apart once you get inside. The Nissan Versa Note isn’t shy about looking like the inexpensive subcompact that it is. The interior looks and feels a lot cheaper than that of the Honda Fit. Like on the exterior, the Fit’s dash includes angles that seamlessly combine dials, entertainment system and vents into a compact space. The Versa Note has a mix of round dials and vents that look like they were an after thought. Regardless, the compact interior allows you to easily find the buttons and dials you need. Functional buttons on each steering wheel let you control music volume and answer phone calls without taking your hands off the steering wheel.
Despite the compact frame both the Fit and Note have seating for five with plenty of legroom behind the front seats. Both offer split fold-down rear seats that lay flat to provide convenient storage options. With the seats down the Fit leads the segment with the most cargo space.
Honda designers have been perfecting the Fit’s interior for three generations. They are masters at making every inch of the Fit useful. The key to Honda’s versatility is the Magic Seats, which fold in several ways that maximize interior space. You can even lay the front seat down in a way that allows you to sit in the back and stretch your legs out onto the front seat. The Note isn’t as versatile but it does have a nifty Divide-N-Hide floor in the trunk where you can place smaller, flatter items on the bottom and cover them with a ‘subfloor’ that can store larger items. This comes in handy when you need to hide electronics or valuables that you don’t want others to know about.
Technology – Honda EX-L; Nissan SL
The rapid advancement in technology means that automakers are putting bells and whistles in smaller models that would be offered only in luxury sedans just a few years ago. Infotainment systems, bluetooth, cameras, and many other safety features are all available on both hatchbacks. But to get all that technology you’ll have to choose the highest trim level.
The Nissan Versa Note SL has NissanConnect viewable on a 5.8-inch touchscreen; the Honda Fit EX-L has HondaLink accessible on a 7-inch touchscreen. After downloading special apps both systems offer smartphone connectivity. Although you won’t be able to see your actual smartphone screen you can stay connected through social media, google search, and even plan your route with traffic updates. You can also play songs from your phone or choose from several music apps such as Pandora and Rdio.
Both NissanConnect and HondaLink help reduce driver distraction by allowing you to answer or make phone calls and listen to text messages using steering wheel buttons without having to look at your phone. The Honda Fit is partial to the iPhone by offering Siri ‘Eyes Free’ integration, which provides even more hands-free interactive options. Fear not Google users, HondaLink is compatible with Android smartphones; you just won’t have Siri to talk to.
Honda Fit may have a larger touchscreen and Siri’s soothing voice but when it comes to knowing your surroundings the Note offers a piece of technology that you won’t find on any other car in the segment. The Around View Monitor employs several cameras around the vehicle and combines them to give you an aerial view of your car. It’s as if there was a helicopter with a camera above your car. This makes parking, reversing, and getting in and out of tight spaces a cinch.
The Fit comes with a multi-angle rearview camera that lets you see what’s behind you using three distinct angles: wide, normal and top-down. It also comes equipped with Honda LaneWatch; a camera under the passenger side mirror eliminates the blind spot by displaying a real-time feed on your touchscreen. This allows you to see two lanes of traffic without having to turn your head, and helps avoid smaller objects that you can’t see from inside your vehicle. It may take some time getting used to looking down at the screen instead of behind you but once you trust the system it will prevent any guesswork.
Performance & Pricing
Both hatchbacks offer manual or CVT transmissions connected to four-cylinder engines. The Fit easily outperforms the Note with a 1.5 litre, 130 horsepower engine compared to the Note’s 1.6 litre, 109 horsepower unit. Despite having more horses the Fit gets better fuel economy with 7/5.7 L/100km (city/highway) while the Note comes in at 7.5/6 L/100km (city/highway). In terms of cost, the top of the line Nissan Versa Note SL is almost $5000 less expensive starting at $18,248 compared to the highest trim level Honda Fit EX-L sticker price of $23,048.15.
The two subcompacts share similarities on the outside but offer different features that make each one unique. It’s a matter of what styling and features you prefer. You can test drive both models at a dealership near you to see which meets your needs.