Nissan’s global B platform is used for many of the company’s models. Perhaps the smallest is the Nissan Versa. A full step below the Sentra in both price and size. The Versa is in fact, the most inexpensive new car available in the Nissan line, With a base price of just over 10,000USD. There are certainly compromises that must be made to keep the cost of this car so exceedingly low, but it remains an excellent value for the money, offering excellent options such as Navigation and Satellite radio. The Versa is even able to offer more rear seat legroom than the much larger and more expensive Maxima. Cost considerations much come into play somewhere though, and this shows itself in the form of its strut suspension, drum brakes, and standard 14″ wheels. None of these tradeoffs keep the Versa from being an excellent inexpensive, high economy car.

There are two engines available on the Versa. The base 1.6 liter four cylinder produces 107 Hp and the optional 1.8 liter four cylinder puts out 122 HP. Transmission options include a four speed automatic, five and six speed manuals, and a continuously variable transmission. (CVT)

Bodystyles: Sedan, four-door hatchback
Engines: 1.6L I-4, 1.8L I-4
Transmissions: 6-speed manual, 5-speed manual, 4-speed automatic, continuously variable transmission (CVT)
Models: 1.6 Base, 1.6, 1.8 S, 1.8 SL

The 2011 Versa gets a light helping of new kit, notably a standard six-disc CD audio system for the 1.8 S sedan and anti-lock brakes on all models sans the entry-level 1.6 Base. That said the 2010 model year saw the Versa receive myriad refinements, including a new grille, fresh wheels, and availability of stability and traction control and navigation.

Versa comes in four-door sedan and hatchback bodystyles, both adorned with inconspicuous sheetmetal. To dress up the rather bland appearance, the Versa offers 16-inch alloy wheels, a rear spoiler, side sill extensions, and fog lamps.

Unlike most small cars, the Versa offers a roomy cabin for five, replete with 38.0-inches of rear legroom and 13.8 (sedan) to 17.8 (hatch) cubic feet of cargo space. The hatchback’s 60/40-split folding backseat enlarges cargo to 50.4 cubic-feet.

Versa offers a pair of engines along with a foursome of transmissions. The 1.6-liter 107-horsepower mill found in 1.6 Base and 1.6 models come teamed to either a four-speed automatic or five- or six-speed manual. The 1.8-liter, 122-horsepower unit in 1.8 S and 1.8 SL models is teamed with a six-speed manual, four-speed auto, or CVT. Versa’s suspension features front struts and a rear torsion beam.

The Versa comes with a barrage of safety equipment, including front, front-side, and side curtain airbags as well as front-seat active head restraints, a tire pressure monitoring system, and, on the 1.8 SL model, anti-lock brakes and stability control.

1.6 (manual): 26 mpg city/34 mpg highway
1.6 (automatic): 25 mpg city/33 mpg highway
1.8 (CVT): 28 mpg city/34 mpg highway
1.8 (manual): 26 mpg city/31 mpg highway
1.8 (automatic): 23 mpg city/32 mpg highway

  • Roomy backseat
  • Generous cargo hold
  • Fuel economy
  • Available nav and Bluetooth
  • Ho-hum styling
  • Anemic 1.6-liter

Capacious and versatile, albeit a bit boring


  • Ford Fiesta
  • Honda Fit
  • Hyundai Accent
  • Kia Rio
  • Toyota Yaris

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