New for 2015
After the introduction of the Nissan Versa Note hatchback last year, the sedan gains larger headlights, a revised grille, and a center stack inside that closer resembles the one from the Versa Note, which also adds SR and SL trim levels.
The Nissan Versa sedan and Versa Note hatchback are a pair of subcompacts that strive to provide value, simplicity, and lots of interior passenger space. The Nissan Versa sits below the Sentra as the automaker’s smallest and least expensive car.
The 2015 Nissan Versa, and Versa Note, is powered by a 1.6-liter I-4 that makes 109 hp and 107 lb-ft of torque that drives the front wheels. The Versa sedan makes three transmissions available: the S model can be equipped with a five-speed manual (the only sedan trim level that can be so-equipped), which is good for an EPA-estimated 27/36 mpg city/highway, or a four-speed automatic that gets an EPA-estimated 26/35 mpg. All other trim levels of the Versa sedan are equipped with a CVT that is good for 31/40 mpg.
We’d recommend going for the CVT-equipped Versa SV or SL unless you’re buying for a fleet or laser-focused on a low price, as those trims include features that most buyers now consider must-haves (cruise control, power windows, remote keyless entry, Bluetooth). The Nissan Versa Note is powered by the same 1.6-liter I-4 but instead offers a five-speed manual, 27/36 mpg, or a CVT, 31/40 mpg, on all trim levels. For 2015 the Versa Note SR and SL trim levels are just that, trim levels, and even though the SR promises more sport with its revised styling, the same powerplant is retained.
The 2015 Nissan Versa received a four-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA (out of a possible five stars), and in IIHS testing the sedan received four ratings of good and one of poor in the new – and more difficult – small overlap front category; the Versa Note received one rating of good for moderate overlap front (the highest possible rating is good).
What We Think
The 2015 Nissan Versa sedan starts at $12,815, and the Versa Note at $15,005, including the destination charge. The Nissan Versa is a value proposition. A vehicle that satisfies the practical side in budget-conscious buyers by providing a low entry price, reasonable (if not class-leading) fuel efficiency, a cabin that gives generously to all the passengers, and an acceptable driving experience.
Like the redesigned Versa sedan, the Versa Note improves on the solid attributes of its predecessor. Ride quality is a little less harsh than before, and the Versa Note feels slightly steadier on its feet than prior Versa hatch models, although large bumps do occasionally unsettle the rear beam axle. The Versa Note isn’t necessarily the most engaging subcompact we’ve driven, but its steering is both sharp and decently weighted at speed.
In our Editor’s Notebook review of a 2012 Nissan Versa SL sedan, one editor summed up the problem with the otherwise logical Versa:
The test model I drove does not cost $11,750, but rather, $16,320. That extra $4600 buys power locks and windows, an automatic transmission, and remote keyless entry as well as a few goodies like Bluetooth and fifteen-inch aluminum wheels. However, it does not buy you the vastly more upscale interior materials of a Ford Fiesta, the superior reflexes of a Mazda 2, or the style of a Fiat 500. In other words, it’s a nonstarter. The Versa is a very good “super cheap” car but not a very good “kind of cheap” car.
- Cabin is roomy for passengers
- Incredibly low entry price
- Chassis is improved over previous generations
You Won’t Like
- Adding what ought to be standard features makes the price much less competitive
- S models are very basic transportation
- Stick shift on only the most basic sedan
- Honda Fit
- Toyota Yaris
- Ford Fiesta
- Fiat 500