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2012 Nissan Versa

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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 140 Ratings for the 2012 - 2016 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.2/10
    Quality
    7.5/10
  • Reliability
    8.5/10
    Performance
    7.0/10
  • Comfort
    7.9/10
    Styling
    7.6/10

Good Value but sluggish

By on Wednesday, August 26, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 13,500

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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

"The 2014 Nissan Versa Note Hatchback is one of the lesser expensive cars. PROS: Car is small and gets fairly good mileage. Seats are comfortable, and car seats 4 comfortably. Rear seat area has plenty of leg room. CONS: CVT transmission and engine are slow on acceleration. The tire air pressure sensor is a pain in the rear; going off when tire pressure changes due to temperature changes. I have never gotten the advertised 31 city MPG/40 hwy MPG, its always 4-6 MPG less no matter how I drive, and the Odometer MPG calculator is always 2-3MPG more than actual gallons of gas divided by mileage."

2 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Pretty good car

By on Saturday, August 08, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 36,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Good value and well built non-American car"

Cons: "3 yr. warranty, non-Android bluetooth"

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

"I have had my SL Versa for nearly four years now but I'm probably trading it in soon now that the warranty has been expired for about a year. It hasn't had any problems mechanically or electrically. My average gas mileage is currently 38 miles per gallon. Not bad. SL version has fog lights, cruise control, navigation screen/radio/CD player screen. It has bluetooth capability but only for I-phones, not Android devices so I don't actually get to use it. It does have a USB port and an audio jack so you can still plug your music device into the car's stereo. It has a button on the shifting handle that turns the overdrive on and off. There is a key to turn off the special traction system too if you're spinning wheels in the snow. The engine is a little loud when climbing hills but it seems to climb them OK."

This car is absolutely perfect

By on Thursday, August 06, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,500

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "best car ever! :)"

Cons: "no center console"

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

"I love this car! It's SO cute!! I see some negative reviews about the way it drives, and I think it drives perfect. I'm a 32 year old female and I'm not a racecar driver. lol. The plastic interior is something I wouldn't have even noticed if someone had not pointed it out. I will admit it could use a center console for the passenger, but it's not a big deal. This car is so great! It has tons of room and I have the SL and the navigation is great! I love the 360 view cameras! It makes parking a breeze"

I made the best decision on a limited income

By on Saturday, August 01, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 56,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "worth its value"

Cons: "If you looking to race out of the gates,NOT!"

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

"This car rides very well, considering the low cost to purchase it. I travel 44 miles back and forth five days a week. During the same week I run my errands around town (about 10 miles). I still come away with gas left over! It's not a get up and go car when you step on the gas, but if you are lookiing to save gas, and look somewhat professional going to work, or look good when going out in the evening this car is pretty good. I have no regrets. This is my second Nissan car purchase."

5 people out of 9 found this review helpful

Not a value at all.

By on Saturday, July 18, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 26,000

10 2.0
overall rating 2 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
2/10
Value
1/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
1/10
Performance
1/10
Styling
1/10
Comfort
1/10

Pros: "none."

Cons: "noise, devaluation, design, lack of power"

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

"Car appears to be a great vehicle when there is the sales pitch and test drive. this vehicle does not have the torque to make it up some hills without revving the motor to the max at 35 mph. there is no room for a car seat, stroller, and other baby related items. also the big sales pitch is on the side of great gas mileage. what they do not tell you is that the car only has a 10 gallon tank so that even though you may get 30 mpg highway that you are only going 300miles and that it will balance out with the nissan altima that you are trading for the versa note. this car is great for a grandma who just goes to the grocery store and home or possibly your childs first ever car. Do not even get me started on the various knocks and other sounds the car makes when driving. also do not plan on talking on the phone in this car because there is way too much road noise to understand who you are talking to. thats just the overall. dont even get started on the interior design... way to many flaws to count. i wish nissan would come get this car back...."

19 people out of 31 found this review helpful

Car fits like a glove. Easy to drive.

By on Saturday, July 04, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 45,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Cons: "Might be a little tight for a large family."

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

""I bought this car for commuting and reliability a year ago. I got both. With 45,00o miles on the engine I have had no mechanical problems. I get 39 mpg! I opted My family of 3 fits comfortably, with two car seats in the back, and there is ample trunk space. This is also a very good looking sleek vehicle which fits very well in formal settings." - Jerry."

13 people out of 27 found this review helpful

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