Comparing the Mazda Verisa,Honda Fit, Toyota Vitz and the Nissan Tiida
Despite the falling fuel prices there are still a few reasons why you would still need a small sub compact car here in Kenya. Some reasons being the traffic that makes cars use up more fuel and the heavy customs duty imposed on vehicles by the KRA nowadays.
If this is the case there are some nice cars that you can look into in order for you to make an informed decision. These cars include the Honda Fit, the Mazda Verisa, the Toyota Vitz and the Nissan Tiida.
These four cars have been compared in this review primarily because they are more commonplace in the country and they roughly cost the same amount of money on purchase.
A quick look into what each car offers
We will begin with the Mazda Verisa, a car that has remained largely the same since its inception in 2004 the Verisa was brought in by Mazda through a partnership with Ford so as to provide the consumer with a simple design, comfort and quality that meets the needs of that person with a small family looking for an affordable car.
The Nissan Tiida was also introduced by Nissan as upgrade to the Nissan Pulsar however due to popular demand the Pulsar stayed in the market. The Tiida also sports quality design especially in the interior, a nice traffic oriented engine and transmission making it simple to drive at lower speeds and RPM and at good mileage. It was a compromise for those who sought quality without feeling the need to pay that premium for the comfort.
The Honda Fit also known as the Honda Jazz in Europe was designed to be an affordable road going point A to point B kind of car. This efficient car was designed to be as simple as possible and offer the bear minimum functionality at the highest possible reliability, same for the Toyota Vitz.
In terms of exterior design we will compare cars within the 2009 – 2010 design period. Looking at the Mazda Verisa we can see that it has elegant lines that give it that smooth look and feel of quality. This car looks good in a majority of its colors however it feels a bit too mature hence it is better suited to a more mature audience.
The Tiida on the other hand looks a bit awkward sort of like that pretty fat chiq you remember from your schooling days, this awkward design is what gives the Tiida additional space on the interior and distinguishes it from the rest of the pack in a very unique way.
The Honda Fit looks very youthful, its aggressive front facia makes it looks as if the front is being sucked into a time warp accelerating it into the future. The R version of the Honda Fit is very good looking perhaps as a characteristic for speed.
The Toyota Vitz is just the same Toyota Vitz, Toyota does little in order to improve the visual appeal of its cars however we find it a bit stale in looks and has no distinguishing factor other than a very meek character that does not really inspire poetic description. Just like that partner you have had for a very long time now, he/she is dependable; you can’t live without him/her yet you find it hard to complement them now and then.
So the Mazda wins the beauty contest followed closely by the Honda.
The Mazda has one of the best dashboard and interior designs I have ever seen in an economy car. The way everything has been laid out with such care and understanding of how the human mind works is astonishing, there are few buttons on the dash, which makes operating accessories easier while driving. The only problem I had with the dash was the low position of the screen in the model I drove which totally disconnected my vision from the road while I tried to operate it. The seats are comfortable and well bolstered with flanges to hold onto my body as I approached corners and rocked about during the ride. The interior space is fantastic for this model.
The Tiida also does a fantastic job with the interior. Quality material has been used for the seats and roof lining, even though the dashboard looks great there are complaints that the dash skin/cover peels off and bubbles under the suns heat hence the dashboard always has to be covered while the car has been parked in the sun. This problem affects other Nissan models including the Fuga, Skyline the Dualis. The interior is very spacious even for 3 people seated at the back.
The Honda Fit has the worst interior orientation in this group. The way all the buttons have been clamped into one corner of the dash does not add to the visual appeal or the usability. In fact this car is so much economy in the inside with hard plastics everywhere. The interior is a bit cramped a compromise for a bigger boot.
The Vitz maintains a very simple interior with comfortable seats ample space in the interior and simple dashboard design that makes it easy to operate. The interior space is also a bit crammed mainly due to the compact design.
In this test the Mazda takes it once more followed closely by the Tiida.
Engine and Performance
The Nissan easily out performs the other cars in the category producing more power and more twisting force while driving however consideration has to be given to the slightly larger engine. At 133 HP for the 1.8L engine. However the less common 1.5L produces 108HP.
The Honda fit comes slightly second with a good performance and fun ride. At 117 HP for the 1.5L engine. However the R version takes the cherry on this test but since we are comparing normal cars we will restrain from mentioning how well the R drives.
The Mazda comes third with a much more soft ride optimized for handing potholes and bumps a bit better, this is a compromise on the handling which affects the cars driving characteristics around corners. The Mazda’s engine produces 111 HP.
The Toyota comes last here with the least amount of power and handling prowess. The Toyota’s engine produces only 100HP with the bigger 1.3L engine.
The Nissan takes it in this test followed closely by the Honda.
Reliability and consumption
The Toyota presents the best fuel consumption numbers with the car averaging 17 km per litre of fuel consumed. This was a test on a day to and from the office along Mombasa road. The Mazda Verisa came close at 16 kms per litre, Nissan Tiida at 15 Km per litre, and finally the Honda at 14 km per litre closely followed it. All very economical cars however the Nissan seems to hold that balance between power and consumption very well.
In terms of reliability Honda’s have been know to make very reliable cars and there is no reason this is different. The Toyota is also reliable with a majority of its parts locally available. The Nissan is not bad however you have to watch out for those electronic faults and wonky CVT gearbox that may cause issues down the road. The Mazda has a reputation of being well made; there have been few issues experienced by Verisa owners here in Kenya.
The Toyota wins in this particular test followed closely by the Mazda.
The real contenders in this head to head were the Mazda Verisa and the Nissan Tiida. Where the Tiida fails in refinement the Mazda clinches it however the Tiida offers better handling and more power despite having a very nice interior to work with. The Tiida is also slightly heavy with a stronger chassis and body, which can come in handy in case of an accident. Common faults include brake light harnesses disconnecting, stiffer ride and peeling dashboard. The Verisa on the other hand is only sold in Japan, which can make getting parts a bit difficult hence you need to be on the look out for that. The winner of this head to head, by a very narrow margin will have to be the Mazda Verisa.