|27.2||Cargo Space (cu.ft.)||14.7|
|Yes||Apple CarPlay Standard||No|
|Yes||4G LTE Hotspot||No|
New vehicles don’t always have to cost an exuberant amount of money, and in fact, certain new models can be found for less than some of the used cars out on the market. With a more accessible price tag, these affordable vehicles are a great option for anyone looking for a new car on a budget. Two of the top options to be compared in this segment are the 2021 Chevy Spark vs 2021 Nissan Versa. Both of these subcompact cars start at under $15,000, but there are a few different factors to take into consideration before you make your purchase. The first one comes down to something that most drivers can agree on, and that’s affordability.
The 2021 Chevy Spark is available in four trim levels, starting with the LS at an MSRP of just $13,400.* Even with this shockingly low MSRP for a brand-new vehicle, the Spark is nothing short of impressive with an array of modern tech features that come standard with every model. These features, such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, are also available on the 2021 Versa, but not on the base trim. This is even more incredible when you consider that the 2021 Versa’s base model starts at a higher MSRP of $14,980.* Additionally, with only three trim levels to select from, there’s less choice and customizability with the Versa. Even at the top-end of the chain, the most expensive Chevy Spark 2LT still holds a lower MSRP than the top Nissan Versa SR.
Both the 2021 Spark and Versa have vastly different interiors, but what the main difference comes down to is cargo space. If you’re a driver who either wants or needs extra cargo space, then you’re better off with the 2021 Spark, as it can nearly double the amount of space as the Versa despite having a smaller overall footprint. This is because the Spark has an SUV-like rear cargo area, and the rear seats of the Spark to be folded down to accommodate 27.2 cu ft of cargo.
With the sedan-style Versa, you’ll be stuck with no more than 15 cu ft of cargo space in the trunk. Any driver who plans on taking their vehicle out for a road trip or use it to bring home furniture or hardware will certainly favor the option with more space. With greater versatility at a lower price tag, opting for the Chevy Spark is the obvious choice.
Sitting inside each vehicle also feels like a different experience, although both the Spark and Versa have similar headroom in the front row. Legroom in the front row of the Spark is noticeably lower with 41.7 inches instead of the Versa’s 44.5 inches, but both are certainly generous. However, passengers sitting in the second row will have a better time in the Spark as it has both greater headroom and legroom for backseat passengers.
The Spark gives back seat passengers 37 inches of headroom and 33 inches of legroom, while the Versa lends backseat passengers with 36.3-inches of headroom and 31-inches of legroom. Although some drivers may overlook the dimensions of a cabin before their purchase, it’s a crucial component of the shopping process to remember if you want to be comfortable in your new ride.
Cloth seats come standard with both vehicles. However, both the Spark and Versa allow you to swap this for a leatherette upholstery on their higher trims. Other amenities, such as a leather-wrapped steering wheel and heated seats, are also available on both vehicles. They are also identical in regards to audio setups for listening to music on the road as a 4-speaker setup comes standard on each vehicle, with the option to swap this out for a higher-quality 6-speaker setup. Comfort is certainly a strong selling point for both vehicles, but with the lower cost of the Spark, it’s the easier one to recommend.
Integrated technology features see the Spark and Versa separate from one another even further. The main tech difference between the Spark and Versa is a lack of many features on the base model Versa, all of which come standard on the Spark. Both the Spark and Versa include infotainment centers with every trim, and they both come with 7-inch screens. But on the base models, in particular, the Versa falls behind in a few notable ways.
The only connectivity feature on the Versa is Bluetooth, which is rather limited and comes standard on most infotainment centers nowadays. Perhaps the most significant difference for those who are looking for a more relevant vehicle is that every Spark comes with a standard 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, while you won’t find this feature in any capacity on the Versa. Hotspots are used to provide a private internet connection, essentially acting as a Wi-Fi router, and with the Spark having one built-in, there’s far more reason for a smartphone owner to purchase a Spark.
Another feature that comes standard on the base Spark is smartphone integration through Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. However, those who purchase the base model Versa will be out of luck. Drivers who own iPhones and Android phones can connect their devices to their infotainment center, allowing them to search directions, browse their music library, and access contacts for phone calls and text messages through the infotainment system.
Drivers who are familiar with virtual assistants such as Siri will also be pleased to know that they’re easily accessible via these features, and this means that you can send messages, ask for weather or directions, and much more. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto aren’t completely absent from the Versa, but they require purchasing a trim that’s pricer than the base model. For a vehicle that’s already more expensive than its competitor, this is a massive disadvantage for the Versa and a clear win for the Spark.
Trim levels can make or break a vehicle in regards to customization. Drivers are usually excited by being able to choose what kind of features their new car will have, giving them a vehicle that fits their personal needs. For some vehicles, it’s understandable why the manufacturer simplified the number of trims, especially pricier examples. However, for the Spark and Versa, less simply doesn’t mean more, and you should certainly consider how many trim levels are offered. With four available trims and a number of packages for the Spark against only three on the Versa, drivers will have more choices when purchasing the Spark.
The base Versa is rather barebones, and this is far more evident once the Spark comes into the picture. Chevy understands that many drivers are drawn towards the base trim of a model, and Chevy doesn’t want to leave these drivers in the dust. After the base LS trim for the Spark, the 1LT adds features such as media controls integrated into your steering wheel, and the ACTIV trim replaces the cloth front seats with leatherette and adds accompanying roof rails, among other extras. The 2LT then closes out the Spark’s lineup with a full cabin of leatherette seats and a genuine leather steering wheel.
Trim levels on the Versa vary from weak to decent, with the base S trim lacking the majority of the stellar features that are found on the Spark’s base model, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The SV is the first trim for the Versa that can generally compete with an accompanying suite of safety features and the same infotainment center amenities found on the Spark, albeit without a hotspot and costing over $4,000 more. The SR trim includes a leather steering wheel but retains the basic cloth seats - another letdown given its higher price. It should be clear why the Chevy Spark is our recommended choice for drivers who are on a budget but still want the customization and features they deserve.