The 2009 Nissan Versa comes as either a sedan or a hatchback. It's an extremely plain car and won’t turn heads on the road. Nevertheless, it does offer a comfortable drive and suits anyone looking for a low-cost car for commuting or running errands around town. It gets the job done, and some of the trim levels come with a nice range of extras, which add to your creature comforts as you commute. Yet, the car can feel like too much of a compromise.
Compact cars like the Nissan Versa have gained in popularity, and while the Versa offers a reasonable choice, other models prove to be a lot more fun to drive. Still, the Versa wins in comfort and fuel economy. It has a quieter and more well-appointed cabin, softer seats, and more optional extras, just long as you don't mind the plain packaging. A lot of customers overlook its lack of style in favor of its economic benefits. It's just a shame that Nissan didn't spend a little more time on styling it, as in comparison with rival models, such as the Ford Fiesta and Hyundai Accent, it definitely falls behind.
Body styles: sedan, hatchback
Engines: 1.6-liter, 1.8-liter
Transmissions: five-speed manual, six-speed manual, four-speed automatic, continuously variable transmission (CVT)
Models: 1.6 Base, 1.6, 1.8 S, 1.8 SL
In 2009, the Nissan Versa introduced the 1.6 Base model and 1.6 models powered by a new four-cylinder engine.
Nissan offers this compact car as a four-door hatchback or a sedan. However, the two lowest trims (the 1.6 Base and the 1.6) are available only in sedan styles. The entry-level model, the 1.6 Base, has standard 14-inch steel wheels and little else. When you move up to the S model, you have the option of adding power windows and locks with the Power Package. The SL model includes 15-inch alloy wheels and offers the option of a sunroof. You can add the Sport package to the SL, which includes a lower body kit, foglights, and a rear-roof spoiler.
The 1.6 Base comes with intermittent wipers and a tilt steering column. The next model up, the 1.6, has air-conditioning, while the S level comes with a 60/40 split-folding rear seat back (in the hatchback version) and a four-speaker stereo with a CD player. Add the Power Package to this model to get rear-door map pockets and remote keyless entry. Nissan also offers the option of cruise control. The SL offers the addition of the Convenience Package, which adds keyless ignition/entry, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, and Bluetooth. Other options include satellite radio, iPod integration, and an audio package. All models can be fitted with interior accent lighting.
Performance & Handling
The Nissan Versa provides a reasonable option if you like travelling in comfort. It has soft suspension and well-cushioned seats, but this doesn't perform so well on roads with potholes. The soft suspension doesn’t fair too well around corners either. The 1.6-liter engine is adequate but not great, although it does keep the price low. The 1.8-liter engine provides a much better option, as does the CVT, which comes standard on the 1.8 SL. On the highway, wind and road noise can create a problem and the steering can become less responsive. The 1.6-liter engine lacks the capacity for strong acceleration. Although it only has rear-drum brakes, it does have good stopping capacity.
Front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags come standard. Anti-lock brakes (ABS) with electronic brake force distribution and brake assist remain an optional extra, although you may find most dealers only stock models with ABS as most people expect cars to come fitted with this option.
The Versa performs well in government crash tests, scoring four out of five stars for both front- and side-impact tests for all occupants. It achieves the highest possible safety rating for frontal-offset and side crash tests.
EPA Fuel Economy
Nissan Versa 1.6 Base: 26/34 mpg city/highway
Nissan Versa 1.6: 26/34 mpg city/highway
Nissan Versa 1.8 S: 24/32 mpg city/highway
Nissan Versa 1.8 SL: 27/33 mpg city/highway
- Fuel economy
- Spacious interior
- Comfortable seats
You Won't Like
- Optional ABS
- Boring to drive
- Easy to lose in the parking lot
A great choice for commuting and getting around town.
If You Like This Vehicle
- Honda Fit
- Mazda MAZDA2 Hatchback
- Mazda MAZDA3 Sedan
- Ford Fiesta
- Hyundai Accent