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 Spark only offers a rear monitor and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the front or sides.
Both the Versa Note and the Spark have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control and electronic stability systems to prevent skidding.
The Versa Note’s corrosion warranty is unlimited miles longer than the Spark’s (unlimited vs. 100,000 miles).
To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the Versa Note has a standard 110-amp alternator. The Spark’s 80-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.
To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Versa Note has a standard 470-amp battery. The Spark’s 375-amp battery isn’t as powerful.
The Versa Note’s 1.6 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 11 more horsepower (109 vs. 98) and 13 lbs.-ft. more torque (107 vs. 94) than the Spark’s 1.4 DOHC 4 cyl.
On the EPA test cycle the Versa Note gets better fuel mileage than the Spark Auto (31 city/39 hwy vs. 30 city/38 hwy).
The Versa Note has 1.8 gallons more fuel capacity than the Spark (10.8 vs. 9 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.
For better stopping power the Versa Note’s brake rotors and drums are larger than those on the Spark:
For better traction, the Versa Note SR/SL’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Spark (195/55R16 vs. 185/55R15).
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Versa Note SR/SL has standard 16-inch wheels. The Spark’s largest wheels are only 15-inches.
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 Spark doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.
The Versa Note has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Versa Note flat and controlled during cornering. The Spark’s suspension doesn’t offer stabilizer bars.
The Versa Note has vehicle speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Spark doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Versa Note’s wheelbase is 8.5 inches longer than on the Spark (102.4 inches vs. 93.9 inches).
For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Versa Note is 3.8 inches wider in the front and 4 inches wider in the rear than on the Spark.
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 Spark doesn’t offer active grille shutters.
Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the Versa Note is rated a Compact car by the EPA, while the Spark is rated a Small Station Wagon.
The Versa Note has standard seating for 5 passengers; the Spark can only carry 4.
The Versa Note has 11.1 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Spark (94.1 vs. 83).
The Versa Note has 1.8 inches more front headroom, .3 inches more front hip room, .9 inches more front shoulder room, 1 inch more rear headroom, 5.3 inches more rear legroom, .8 inches more rear hip room and 2.1 inches more rear shoulder room than the Spark.
The Versa Note has a much larger cargo area with its rear seat up than the Spark with its rear seat up (18.8 vs. 11.1 cubic feet). The Versa Note has a much larger cargo area with its rear seat folded than the Spark with its rear seat folded (38.3 vs. 27.2 cubic feet).
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 Chevrolet Spark’s available Passive Entry with Keyless Start doesn’t unlock the trunk.
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 Spark doesn’t offer extendable visors.
The Versa Note’s optional 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 Spark doesn’t offer the luxury of an automatic dimming rear view mirror.
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 Spark doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.
The Versa Note (except S Plus/SV)’s available GPS navigation system has a real-time traffic update feature that plots alternative routes to automatically bypass traffic problems. (Service not available in all areas.) The Spark’s available navigation system doesn’t offer real-time traffic updates.
With available voice command, the Versa Note offers the driver hands free control of the radio and the navigation computer by simply speaking. The Spark doesn’t offer a voice control system.
According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Versa Note is less expensive to operate than the Spark because typical repairs cost much less on the Versa Note than the Spark, including $90 less for a water pump, $109 less for an alternator, $7 less for front brake pads, $21 less for a timing belt/chain and $225 less for a power steering pump.
Consumer Reports® recommends the Nissan Versa Note, based on reliability, safety and performance.
The Nissan Versa outsold the Chevrolet Spark by over four to one during the 2016 model year.