The Versa offers incredible value for the money. The base S model starts at the remarkably low price of $11,750. It lacks such features as power locks and windows, cruise control, and keyless entry, so many buyers will gravitate to the pricier and better-equipped SV and SL trims. Navigation, Bluetooth, satellite radio, and keyless entry are all available on higher models. Many of the interior fittings and plastics look and feel cheap; it’s clear that the Versa was built with cost saving in mind. However, it will satisfy people looking for basic, affordable transportation. The Versa is easy to drive and comfortable, but acceleration is only adequate. The sedan gets a new 1.6-liter engine that has a host of revisions to improve fuel economy. Versa sedans equipped with the continuously variable transmission are rated at 38 highway mpg. In spite of its compact exterior dimensions, the Versa has a spacious cabin with a roomy back seat and a surprisingly large trunk. Drivers and passengers will feel comfortable rather than cramped. Switchgear and gauges are clear and easy to use, if basic. The Versa hatchback did not receive the same revisions as the sedan and continues with its 1.8-liter engine. It remains a pleasing car with plenty of passenger room and impressive cargo space, especially with the rear seats folded. Fuel economy is slightly lower than the sedan’s but is impressive for a car of its size. Whether opting for the bargain-basement S or a better-equipped sedan or hatchback, Versa buyers will find themselves behind the wheel of an agreeable and inexpensive small car.

Drive: Front-wheel

Trim levels: S, SV, SL

Body styles: Sedan, hatchback, 5-passenger

Engine: 1.6L I-4, 109 hp, 107 lb-ft
1.8L I-4, 122 hp, 127 lb-ft

Transmissions: 5- or 6-speed manual, 4-speed automatic, continuously variable

Passenger volume: (sedan/hatchback)
90.0/94.7 cu ft

Cargo space: (sedan) 14.8 cu ft; (hatchback, rear seats up/down) 17.8/50.4 cu ft

The Versa sedan is redesigned for 2012. It is marginally better equipped, has nicer exterior styling, and receives a freshened interior. It rides on a new platform claimed to be 150 pounds lighter than that of the 2011 car. The Versa hatchback, however, is unchanged for 2012. Sedans receive a new 1.6-liter in-line four-cylinder engine; hatchbacks continue to employ a 1.8-liter in-line four-cylinder.

Front, side, and side curtain air bags are standard, as are stability control, traction control, ABS with brake assist, and a tire-pressure monitoring system.

All: 24-30 mpg city/31-38 mpg highway

  • Extremely inexpensive
  • Roomy interior
  • Agreeable driving experience
  • Few amenities on base S
  • Acceleration only adequate
  • Interior feels cheap

Agreeable, inexpensive transportation.

  • Chevrolet Sonic
  • Ford Fiesta
  • Honda Fit
  • Hyundai Accent

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