The 2012 Nissan Versa sedan is all new, with a new chassis and engineering not shared with other Nissan vehicles. While its engines don't offer the same horsepower as some competitors, the 2012 Versa is still a solid car for the price. The Versa's base model gets a 1.6-liter four-cylinder and is priced just under $11,000 making it the cheapest vehicle offered by Nissan, and one of the least expensive new cars available in the U.S. market. Two transmissions are offered: A five-speed manual and an Xtronic CVT transmission.
The low price is definitely appealing and the Nissan Versa offers versatility and a lot of options. Available features include a navigation system, XM Radio, Bluetooth connectivity and more. It has the most cabin space in its class with plenty of legroom in the rear seating area. With all these options Nissan seems to have forgotten to focus on the most important reason why most people are buying small cars today: fuel economy. The Versa's fuel economy has improved with this new generation, but its 30 mpg city and 37 mpg highway still lag many of its competitors. While the sedan is all-new for the 2012 model year, the hatchback will be updated for 2013.
Engine: 1.6-liter inline-4
Transmission: Five-speed manual transmission; continuously variable automatic transmission
Model: S, SV, SL
The Versa is totally redesigned for the 2012 model year, with the most notable changes being a new grille design and oval-shaped headlights modeled after the larger Altima and Maxima. Reshaped taillights creep around the Versa's trunk and onto the rear quarter panel. Crinkled lines break up the hood and sides giving the Versa a new look and the new roofline slopes toward the trunk giving it a coupe-like look.
Nissan offers the Versa in three models, each available with one option package. The base model S won't have much more than ABS, stability control, side and curtain airbags and a CD player. The SV adds cruise control and some power accessories while the SL adds alloy wheels, fog lights and a split-folding rear seat.
Versa comes in a four-door sedan and five-door hatchback. The sedan gets a total facelift for the 2012 model year. A new Nissan signature front grille, multi-reflector halogen lights and body-color front and rear bumpers all come standard. Chrome door handles, body-color dual power remote-controlled side view mirrors and fog lights also adorn the Versa.
Seating for five makes Versa the most spacious car in its class. The rear seat has plenty of leg and knee room, and Nissan boasts that there's more space inside then the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes Benz E-Class. The seats are wrapped in cloth and an AM/FM/CD audio system sits upfront in the center tower. Power windows, XM NavTraffic, Bluetooth, XM Satellite Radio, cruise control and a 60/40-split fold-down rear seats are also available.
Performance & Handling
The 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine puts out 109 horsepower at 6000 rpm and 107 pound-feet of torque at 4400 rpm. While a five-speed manual is standard, a CVT automatic is available. The new CVT adds an auxiliary gearbox using planetary gearing helping improve efficiency. Low rolling resistance all-season tires wrap 15-inch aluminum-alloy wheels.
Standard safety features include the advanced air bag system which includes dual-stage front air bags and front seat side-impact air bags for chest protection. Seat-mounted driver and front passenger side-impact air bags and roof-mounted curtain side-impact air bags for front and rear outboard occupant head protection are standard. Additional safety features include standard LATCH system, child safety rear door locks, child seat upper tether anchors and Tire Pressure Monitoring System, Vehicle Dynamic Control and Traction Control System.
EPA Fuel Economy
Versa sedan: 27-30/36-38 mpg city/highway
- Fuel economy
You Won't Like
Good, but not great
If You Like This Vehicle
- Ford Fiesta
- Chevrolet Volt
- Honda Fit
- Hyundai Accent