Agreeable, inexpensive transportation.
The Versa is the cheapest new Nissan you can buy, but it offers incredible value for the money. Although the base models have attractive low prices, they lack such features as power locks and windows, cruise control, and keyless entry. Many buyers will instead gravitate to the pricier and better-equipped SV and SL trim levels on which navigation, Bluetooth, satellite radio, and keyless entry are available. Many of the interior fittings and plastics look and feel cheap. However, it will satisfy people looking for basic, affordable transportation. The Versa is comfortable and easy to drive, but acceleration is only adequate. The sedan has an efficient 1.6-liter engine that can return as much as 40 mpg. In spite of its compact exterior dimensions, the Versa has a spacious cabin with a roomy back seat and a surprisingly large trunk. Drivers and passengers will feel comfortable rather than cramped. The switchgear and gauges are clear and easy to use, if basic. The Versa sedan was dramatically revised for 2012, but the Versa hatchback did not receive those tweaks and continues with an older 1.8-liter engine. The Versa hatch will be updated at the end of 2012. Whether opting for the bargain-basement Versa S or a better-equipped sedan or hatchback, buyers will find themselves behind the wheel of an agreeable and inexpensive small car.
new for 2013
The Versa sedan was all-new for 2012 and receives only modest changes this year. There’s a new 1.6 S model with a four-speed automatic transmission, which is cheaper than models with a CVT. Models with the CVT will now return 40 mpg on the highway, thanks to new aerodynamic parts and some powertrain tuning. The Versa hatchback is unchanged but is due for a redesign at the end of 2012.
Front, side, and side curtain air bags are standard, as are stability and traction control, ABS with brake assist, and a tire-pressure monitoring system.
Agreeable driving experience
Few amenities on base S
Acceleration only adequate
Interior feels cheap
Base Price Range: $12,000–$19,500 (est.)
TRIM LEVELS: S, SV, SL
BODY STYLES: Sedan, hatchback, 5-passenger
ENGINES: 1.6L I-4, 109 hp, 107 lb-ft
1.8L I-4, 122 hp, 127 lb-ft
TRANSMISSIONS: 5- or 6-speed manual, 4-speed automatic, continuously variable
PASSENGER VOLUME: (sedan/hatchback) 90.0/94.7 cu ft
CARGO SPACE: (sedan) 14.8 cu ft; (hatchback, rear seats up/down) 17.8/50.4 cu ft