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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
7.7
Out of 10

Based on 116 Ratings for the 2012 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.3/10
    Quality
    7.6/10
  • Reliability
    8.6/10
    Performance
    6.9/10
  • Comfort
    7.9/10
    Styling
    7.5/10

Great on gas and reliable

By on Friday, February 20, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 50,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Roomy, great gas milage"

Cons: "no amenities, no power locks"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"I purchased this car in August 2013 and have since piled on 50,000 miles on it. The interior is roomy and can fit 4 larger people in it quite comfortably. I have the 5 speed S model and the lack of amenities do take some getting used to, especially the one key entry and no power locks. You can't even pop the trunk and need the key to open it manually. But overall I love this car. The manual transmission gets 35 mpg on average and most times I enjoy driving a manual. My advice: spend an extra 500 bucks or so to get a decent after market radio and 4 speakers (there are rear speaker slots that can be hooked up). Now I have bluetooth and and can enjoy my tunes."

4 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Great for value

By on Wednesday, February 18, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 13,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Surprisingly spacious!"

Cons: "With only 109 hp don't expect much pop."

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

"Solid little car with all the features. Drives like a small car, therefore small car gas price! Came with all the lights and bells possible for a Versa Note. Have parked in many a tight spots with the 360 degree cameras!"

4 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Great Commuter and Small Family Car (though basic)

By on Saturday, February 07, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 6,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Comfort, Room, MPG, Price"

Cons: "Not for people with Egos"

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

"I have been impressed overall. At this point, I've owned this car for 6 months and it has performed well. My budget was small - and when shopping for a car I knew only that I needed a comfortable car with good gas mileage. I also wanted a manual transmission to save money. I originally was looking used, but the Versa impressed me because it was a new car for used car money, so I took the bait. It is a great commuter car (I do 60 miles a day roundtrip and have been averaging between 38-39 mpg - though the computer says 42, my measurements calc @ 38-39). I also routinely take my kids (teens and preteens) to sporting events and there is plenty of room for both kids and gear. The thing to remember is that this is a basic car. You'll only be happy with it if you can live without a few things. For example, you don't get cruise control, there are only 2 speakers, and no remote key-fob entry, and no power locks. The windows are hand-cranked too. The back seat also doesn't fold down to increase the trunk for longer items (though the trunk is pretty big.) I've read other reviews about excessive noise and I don't find it that bad. It's louder than most, but not horribly so. On sandy roads you can hear the pinging of sand bits. Nothing to complain about. For me, none of this stuff is a big deal. On the plus side, you get everything you really need. It's got enough power for everyday (I admittedly can't race anyone at stoplights). The manual transmission is easy to shift. The seats are comfortable. The ride is smooth (not a Buick, but pretty darn good for a small car). There is a lot of interior room. I am 6'3" and can easily sit behind my own driving position comfortably (this was important because my kids will only grow). It comes standard with air conditioning, hands free radio, blue tooth (I find all very convenient). There are plenty of cup holders and enough storage spaces. Lastly, the car just rides nice. Again, I'm sure there are better riding cars(and better handling cars), but the Versa is still good. It is even very good in the snow (nice for New England winters) - it just crawls through unplowed roads without much fuss (no Jeep,but still good). Overall, the Versa is a real good car. Just leave your ego at the door. If you can do that, you'll enjoy a good little machine."

27 people out of 51 found this review helpful

Reliable, comfortable, some bells & whistles in SL

By on Friday, February 06, 2015

I want this car

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Reliable, roomy, excellent gas mileage"

Cons: "Loud at high speeds, some buffeting in strong wind"

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

"I've driven 60k miles in my 2012 Versa S+ and have been very pleased overall. I want to upgrade to an SL which has more comfortable seats, electric windows & locks, premium audio system, blue tooth, GPS and fog lights. The S+ lacks these extra features. My experience with the Versa has been very positive as far as overall performance goes. Some have complained that it's loud at high speeds and this doesn't bother me, except when I'm giving my GPS voice commands and it doesn't understand because of the ambient noise. The Versa is roomy in the cabin and the trunk. I do a lot of freeway driving and it handles well there unless you're really close to a semi or hit strong wind gusts and then you feel a little buffeting but not it's not that bad. Pickup isn't great but it's adequate on freeway ramps and for passing. If you're looking for a sports car, this isn't it, but the Versa is fun to drive and it gets excellent gas mileage. I've gotten 45-50 mpg on a straight flat road while driving 55 mph. I was looking for an inexpensive car that was reliable, roomy and great on gas, and this is it."

8 people out of 15 found this review helpful

Budget commuter

By on Monday, February 02, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,300

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "low price, good gas mileage"

Cons: "lack of power, loud, cheap interior"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5

"I bought my Versa S brand new. First let me start with the good. Its GREAT on gas (41mpg highway @ 60mph), reliable, and it has decent room inside for being a small car. The bads: Cheap, cheap interior. So much plastic everywhere! VERY underpowered at 109hp which isnt an issue in stop & go traffic but it is a problem when entering the expressway and merging. Engine is also very loud. When going above 60mph the car starts getting "floaty" because it sits high and has NARROW 15x5.5 wheels. bottom line: If your looking for a small car thats reliable, affordable, and gets good gas mileage the Versa is great. I would not recommend for travel or if you do a lot of expressway/highway driving. Get something with more power."

10 people out of 20 found this review helpful

LOUDest car I've ever driven and I'm 60!

By on Saturday, January 31, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 22,000

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
1/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Roomy, reasonable visability."

Cons: "LOUD: Very, very loud motor."

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

"My mother sold me this car after she had it for 2 years, claiming it was too noisy. I had no idea what she meant at the time, but do now. It is a very easy car to drive, roomy and reasonable viewing. However, it is extremely noisy and not available with a larger motor. Either it is not insulated well, or the motor is undersized for the car. I have no idea, but am selling it now and would not recommend it to anyone except for guest, kids, or someone with no hearing."

7 people out of 11 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

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