Nissan redesigned its Versa sedan last year. While the car's styling isn't particularly memorable, buyers will appreciate the roomy interior, low starting price and fuel efficiency. The Versa is one of the most affordable cars in the U.S. Competitors include the Hyundai Accent, Toyota Yaris and Ford Fiesta.
Nissan still sells a Versa hatchback — which is considerably more expensive than the sedan — that's based on the previous-generation car.
New for 2013
Versa sedans with the continuously variable automatic transmission are now rated at an EPA-estimated 40 mpg on the highway, and the different trim levels come with more features. The base S adds a trunk light and the SV gains cloth door trim, chrome door handles and a driver's-seat armrest. The top-level SL adds Nissan's Intelligent Key, remote trunk release and sun-visor extenders. The Versa hatchback continues to be sold as a 2012 model through the end of the 2012 calendar year.
We've seen striking designs trickle down to economy cars lately with the introduction of the Ford Fiesta and redesigned Hyundai Accent, but Nissan seems to have de-emphasized design with the Versa sedan, which has a largely forgettable exterior. The design does, however, let the Versa slip smoothly through the air, as the sedan has a 0.31 drag coefficient. Exterior features include:
- 15-inch steel wheels with covers standard; 16-inch wheels available
- Available fog lights
- Available rear spoiler
The Versa sedan's cabin quality is disappointing because its basic materials and controls are a step backward from the prior-generation car. However, the Versa remains a space-efficient car and can comfortably accommodate adult passengers in the front and rear seats at the same time. Interior features include:
- Air conditioning
- CD stereo
- Available power windows, mirrors and cruise control
- Available 60/40-split folding backseat
- Available navigation system
Under the Hood
The Versa sedan has a 109-horsepower, 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine while the hatchback uses a 122-hp, 1.8-liter four-cylinder. Mechanical features include:
- Sedan can have a five-speed manual, four-speed automatic or a continuously variable automatic transmission
- Hatchback can have a six-speed manual, four-speed automatic or a CVT
- Front-wheel drive
Safety features include:
- Antilock brakes
- Side-impact airbags for the front seats
- Side curtain airbags
- Electronic stability system
- Available backup camera
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