By Aaron Bragman on April 11, 2014
Competes with: Ford Fiesta, Toyota Yaris, Honda Fit, Chevrolet Sonic, Mitsubishi Mirage
Looks like: A mild revision of the current Versa
Powertrains: 109-horsepower, 1.6-liter four-cylinder; five-speed manual or four-speed automatic (base model only), CVT (all other trim levels)
Hits dealerships: TBD
MSRP: $12,800 including destination
Nissan has updated its Versa subcompact sedan, addressing some of the issues that the press and public have had with the roomy entry-level car while holding the line on its super-low price. The new 2015 Versa will debut at next week's 2014 New York International Auto Show, where it will join the new 2015 Nissan Murano on the show floor.
This is just a mild refresh of the Versa, with changes fairly limited. A new front grille, headlights, fog-light surrounds and wheels comprise the external changes, but the updates don't look especially new, just different. Larger headlights give the Versa a wide-eyed appearance meant to align the car with the rest of Nissan's lineup.
Interior updates include a new center stack that looks better than the Versa's outgoing el-cheapo plastic version, a nicer steering wheel and standard Bluetooth connectivity. As with most new small cars today, you can option a 2015 Versa with all manner of electronic goodies, including a 5.8-inch touch-screen with app capability, voice commands and navigation. The Versa's surprisingly roomy interior remains a strong point, with one of the biggest passenger cabins in its class and a copious 14.9 cubic feet of trunk space.
The powertrain is unchanged. It remains a 109-horsepower, 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that's mated to either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission in the base S trim or a standard continuously variable automatic transmission in the S Plus, SL and SV trims. Fuel economy is also unchanged for the Versa, coming in at 27/36/30 mpg city/highway/combined for base cars equipped with the five-speed manual, dropping to 26/35/30 mpg with the four-speed automatic, but rising to 31/40/35 mpg for cars equipped with the CVT.
Pricing is also a strong point for the new Versa, with Nissan maintaining the lowest new-car price in America title. The Versa S will start at just $12,800, including a destination fee, when it goes on sale, which is the same price as the 2014 model that's on sale now. Nissan has not yet said when the new sedan will appear at dealerships.
Detroit Bureau Chief Aaron Bragman grew up in the Detroit area, comes from an automotive family and is based in Ann Arbor, Mich. Email Aaron