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2012 Nissan Versa Revealed in Shanghai

The Nissan Versa made a splash when it went on sale in the United States in 2006. Although still resilient with consumers, the Versa has reached the end of its current lifecycle. Today Nissan unveiled its second-generation Versa to the crowd in Shanghai.

We got our first glimpse of the next Versa in the form of a teaser sketch earlier this year, but it wasn't until today that Nissan fully pulled the wraps off its new global hatchback. Like the current Versa, Nissan focuses on providing good looks with economical packaging.

Exterior designers take the Versa to new levels by completely revamping its sheetmetal. Nissan describes the exterior shape as "fluid and brisk" with its flowing, yet sharp lines. New headlights travel up the hood farther than before, while the front fascia receives a taught, new look also.

Class-leading comfort is said to be in play for the interior, and based on the early photos provided, it appears to be the case. Helping to meet that goal, engineers lengthened its wheelbase by nearly 4 inches to give it best-in-class rear leg room according to the automaker. Calm and refined are the words Nissan uses to describe the interior presence, and from what we can gather, the cabin is vastly improved. Cushy armrests and comfortable seats are also highlights of the new model.

Nissan has yet to confirm packaging for United States customers, but the Chinese show car employs the same 1.6-liter I-4 currently found in the compact car, which is expected to carry over. There's no official word on when the new Versa is scheduled to hit American shores, but we wouldn't be surprised to see it before the end of the year. The U.S.-spec Versa is expected to be unveiled at the New York auto show later this week.