2010 Nissan Versa Sedan 1.6

Fourteen-inch wheels! Wow! Unlike Evan, those were the source of my first retro flashback when I drove the Versa 1.6. The other was in the opening and closing of the trunk. Since there's no sound-deadening material inside and no remote trunk release, you're rewarded with a satisfying metallic plonk as you turn the key and the lid simultaneously pops open. I swear it sounds exactly like opening the trunk of my dad's 1973 Dodge Dart Sport. The memories came flooding back ...

Shockingly, though, the Versa evokes no memories of noisy, uncomfortable old cars. As my colleagues have aptly mentioned, the Nissan is surprisingly quiet on the highway and around town. Since there are no distractions in the car, I found myself driving faster and faster. Acceleration and handling were acceptable for such law-breaking temptations, too, although I'd definitely stick with a standard manual gearbox if I were to buy a 1.6-liter Versa. Which I'd actually be tempted to do, based on the cost savings and the fact that the smaller engine gets a bump in fuel economy versus the "upmarket" 1.8-liter (the 1.6 automatic is EPA rated at 26/33 mpg city/highway, while the 1.8 automatic gets a 24/32 mpg rating). Honestly, though, I'd rather have the more versatile and attractive-looking hatchback, but the smaller engine isn't available in that body style.

As impressive as the basic Versa is, though, I have to wonder how many people actually buy such a basic car these days. And how many wouldn't rather spend similar money on a slightly used Sentra or Altima ...

Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor

I have an 09 Versa sedan, 1.8S with 6spd. It is excellent, very roomy, spritely enough round town and as mentioned above a surprising accomplished highway cruiser. We've used it for a 3200 mile road trip with two kids and returned just under 33 mpg average on a mix of highways at 65-70 and interstates at 80. No space problem at all what with the huge back seat and large trunk. More comfortable and quieter than my parent's Fit, although the Fit has a better clutch feel and nicer gear change. As long as you accept it for what it is then the Versa is a great value.

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