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2012 Nissan Versa

Overview
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2012 Nissan Versa Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 6.2

The Nissan Versa is the Toyota Camry of the subcompact segment: Boring but a best seller. Of course, boring cars are only boring to those looking to make a fashion statement or generate an adrenalin rush with their transportation – a minority group. To its many happy buyers, the Versa is the roomiest, most comfortable new car available in the neighborhood of $15,000. And even though Nissan's designers have blessed the all-new 2012 Versa Sedan with considerably handsomer sheet metal, the basic recipe remains the same. The Versa Hatchback remains essentially unchanged for 2012.

You'll Like This Car If...

The 2012 Nissan Versa is about as roomy and comfortable as it gets in the subcompact, sub-$15,000 category.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you like your economy cars with a pinch of driving excitement, you'll have to go to another dealership.

What's New for 2012

More sophisticated sheet metal and improved fuel economy are the most important improvements on the all-new 2012 Nissan Versa Sedan. The Nissan Versa Hatchback continues mostly unchanged for 2012.

Driving the Versa

Driving Impressions Subcompact cars are neither smooth nor quiet. But some are smoother and quieter than others, and the 2012 Nissan Versa is tuned to be just that. If the category has...

a cruiser, the new Versa is it. But it's also easy around town and in parking lots, with light steering, a tight turning radius and good visibility. The continuously variable transmission (CVT) remains a polarizing proposition in the automotive world, but Nissan has made great strides in recent years and, especially in when used in conjunction with a car like the Versa, we're fans. If you're looking for a lively dance partner, check out something like the pricier Ford Fiesta. If you're more intrigued by the idea of a condensed version of a comfortable mid-size sedan, you'll like the Versa.

Rear Legroom
It isn't fast, it isn't flashy, but it sure is roomy. If you plan on taking long road trips with more than one passenger, the Nissan Versa is the most humane choice in the category.

CVT
Continuously variable transmissions take some getting used to, but you grow to appreciate the smoothness. Nissan committed to the CVT several years ago and is now doing them better than any other automaker.

2012 Nissan Versa Details
2012 Nissan Versa photo Interior

Nissan is quick to point out that the 2012 Nissan Versa has best-in-class rear legroom – more, even, than the BMW 5 Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class and Lexus LS 460. The Versa also boasts the subcompact category's roomiest trunk – roomier, in fact, that it's Versa Hatchback sibling (14.8 cubic feet vs. 13.8). The front seats are acceptable – about as good as it gets in the category – and the interior is otherwise clean and simple. We prefer the look of the Sandstone interior, which feels richer than the Charcoal option.

Exterior
2012 Nissan Versa photo

It's still among the category's most conservative designs, but the next-gen Nissan Versa Sedan looks much better than the awkwardly proportioned outgoing model. Making its debut on the 2012 Nissan Versa is a new signature grille for Nissan sedans. The base-model Versa S can be identified by its black trim, and if you want alloy wheels instead of covered steel wheels, you have to go all the way to the top-line SL trim. The same can be said for the Versa Hatchback, which offer 15-inch steel wheels with full covers on the base model and 16-inch alloys and a rear roof spoiler and side sills on the higher SL trim.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The 2012 Nissan Versa S starts at $11,750 (Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price plus destination) with a 5-speed manual transmission, air conditioning, 2-speaker AM/FM/CD/Aux stereo system and not much more. Missing in action are power windows, power door locks and a folding rear seat back. For about $3,500 more, the mid-grade Versa SV remedies the manual windows and locks situation, and adds cruise control, nicer seat cloth and a variety of visual upgrades inside and out.

Optional Equipment

A 2012 Nissan Versa SL with Tech Package has an MSRP of $17,020. For that you get Bluetooth phone and USB/iPod audio connectivity, and the Tech Package adds navigation with a 5-inch screen plus traffic info and satellite radio.

Under the Hood

The all-new 2012 Nissan Versa Sedan pairs a brand new 1.6-liter engine with a brand-new, second-generation version of Nissan's small-car CVT. Fuel economy is up significantly compared to the outgoing Versa and now competitive with category leaders, but the 2012 Hyundai Accent manages similar fuel economy while delivering 26 percent more horsepower. The 2012 Versa Sedan is the first Nissan to wear a "PUREDRIVE" badge, which the automaker says will denote cars with unspecified fuel-saving technologies. So, when people ask you what "PUREDRIVE" means, "nothing, really" is an appropriate answer. The Versa Hatchback retains the 1.8-liter engine that it always had, which can be mated to a selection of three transmissions including a 6-speed manual, 4-speed automatic and a CVT.

Nissan Versa Sedan
1.6-liter inline-4
109 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
107 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 27/36 mpg (manual), 30/38 mpg (automatic)

Nissan Versa Hatchback
1.8-liter inline-4
122 horsepower @ 5,200 rpm
127 lb-ft of torque @ 4,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 26/31 mpg (manual), 24/32 mpg (automatic), 28/34 (CVT)

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2012 Nissan Versa Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
7.6
Out of 10

Based on 100 Ratings for the 2012 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.3/10
    Quality
    7.5/10
  • Reliability
    8.5/10
    Performance
    6.8/10
  • Comfort
    7.9/10
    Styling
    7.4/10

Decent car for what it is.

By on Thursday, September 11, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,000

10 6.0
overall rating 6 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
6/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
4/10
Comfort
1/10

Pros: "See "complete review"."

Cons: "See "complete review"."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2

"I purchased this car after being in an accident where I was hit in the back and the insurance company decided to total my car. I did not want to make car payments so I was looking for the least expensive new car I could find and that turned out to be the Nissan Versa S. I have been driving the car for about a month and what I can say is that the car starts every time I turn the ignition and it gets me where I want to go. It is surprisingly roomy as far as head room and room in the back. This car has a 5 speed manual transmission and I find that I drive in 5th gear most of the time as it get to over 3K RPM's by the time you are doing 40 MPH in 4th gear. The car after 3 fuel fill ups is averaging about 35 MPG combined highway and city. Now let me describe the down side of owing this car. This trim besides the A/C, Bluetooth and steering wheel controls for the stereo has no common amenities you would expect in any car made in the past 20 years by a major car company. It has no center storage console or any nice little storage place for things like sunglasses. It does have a crazy deep glove compartment where anything you put in it gets lost. It does not have a trunk release (key only). It has one key lock on the drivers door which makes locking and unlocking the back doors very difficult, especially the way the door locks are designed being put near the inside door handle. The thing that is taking the most getting use to for me is how the gas peddle is so close to the center dashboard column, my right leg rests against this column while driving and it is just not very comfortable. I would have purchased power door locks if that were an option on this trim model but I would have had to go up 2 trim models to get this one feature and I didn't want to pay an extra $3,000 - $4,000 since the goal was to pay as little as possible. I am going to put in some after market power door locks and trunk release to make the car a bit nicer to drive. I am also experimenting with after market center consoles for storage and an arm rest. I also found an interesting little device that fits in a cup holder that has 2 USB ports and 2 12 volt power ports that I can plug into the one existing power port behind the hand brake. It was almost like the people that engineered this car went out of their way to take out any and all of the little amenities that most of us take for grant it in any car. Even the steering wheel controls are ergonomically so badly placed to make them almost unusable. I would have given up those controls and the Bluetooth in a second for what I consider the standard amenities that I have described. All in all the car works for transportation to get from point A to point B but if you drive a lot I would not recommend it, at least not this low end S trim model as it lacks almost any of the creature comforts that most of us spoiled Americans have come to expect in a new car."

6 people out of 10 found this review helpful

Comfortable but could use some more go

By on Saturday, September 06, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 15,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
6/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "comfort, style, convenience"

Cons: "power"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"I really like this car. It is very comfortable and does not feel like a small car. I am very happy with the available cup holders that fit larger cups. There are two things that I would make me like the car better: a more powerful air conditioner and a little more power in the engine. However, I never feel like I cannot go fast enough, I would just like to start out faster."

9 people out of 15 found this review helpful

I love my car!

By on Friday, August 29, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 7,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "great on gas, fun to drive"

Cons: "outdated on the inside appliances"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Bought this as my first car and I love it! As a college student, I cant afford something fancy but I wanted something good on gas and something nice. I can say that my experience has been great so far, and i've had my car since valentines day. I got this car for 18k, how much better does that get for a NEW first car?"

3 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Not what I expected!

By on Friday, August 22, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 19,000

10 6.0
overall rating 6 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
6/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Gas mileage, trunk space, roomy!"

Cons: "Not much power, transmission, better stock tires"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4

"Nice car with great gas mileage but only owned for 2 weeks brand new and the transmission went out and had to be replaced. Not very happy.."

1 person out of 4 found this review helpful

Lots of mechanical issues

By on Wednesday, August 20, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 25,000

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
3/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
1/10
Performance
1/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"Interior is great, lots of room, comfortable. Owned 1 year has been in shop 4 times for major mechanical concerns. No get up and go. Sluggish."

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Nice low budget car

By on Thursday, July 31, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Price,looks,trunk space,mpg"

Cons: "Seat material on base model,cup holders one size"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I bought this car new for 10500 I thought it was a steel. It is what it is. Roomy for a compact car. Interior could use some up gradeing, but that will rais the price. I own the 5 speed standard modle. The mags are very wrong. It says the 5 speed has lower mpg, but if you know how to drive to save gas, I get 36 mpg in the city. Best car for the price and resale value is great."

13 people out of 19 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?