By KBB.com Editors
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.
The 2012 Nissan Versa is about as roomy and comfortable as it gets in the subcompact, sub-$15,000 category.
If you like your economy cars with a pinch of driving excitement, you'll have to go to another dealership.
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 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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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)
By Twilight47 on Monday, March 16, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 44,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great on gas, good stearing, nice power"
Cons: "Only has 1 arm rest, harder to work with on wind"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Okay so we bought this vehicle last September because the old one had the transmission about to go! We paid 15 grand because our credit wasn't that great. Anyway first impression is it's a cute little brick red car and I know that Nissan's are dang reliable. When I opened the door, everything was spotless looking brand new. I did notice that the Versa SV only has one arm rest on the drivers side. Also the glove box isn't as big as you would think, but otherwise it's like any vehicle and the color on the inside was black. The trunk space is very spacious for the size of the vehicle. The gas gage is actually in the middle of the dashboard and electronic. I had a carfax and sure enough no problems to speak of that would persuade me not to buy it. I asked how many mpg's it would get, they said about 30 OH NO IT'S A LOT MORE! So we took it from Kansas to Indiana and back right before winter hit. The car worked like a dream! I also only had to use 50 bucks in gas total to get there and back! The suspension is fine, like any vehicle you hit a big enough pot hole you'll feel it. Our next trip was 6 months later to Arkansas, again that little car went just fine and went spent about the same amount to go there and back. The steering is very reliable, granted when the wind picks up then you have a tiny bit of an issue because it is a light weight vehicle it's not like a truck or anything, but it's got great power for a V4. If that little car can go through the Ozark mountains like nobodies business then I trust it. I'm a Nissan lover for life now!"
6 people out of 10 found this review helpful
By Mr.Am on Sunday, March 15, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,000overall rating 2 of 10rating details
Cons: "light weight, fuel on highways, pickup"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I really did not like this car, shakes when windy...can't even drive above 55+mph average is not as listed on highways 10 gallons of fuel tank :O i'm gonna sale versa then gonna buy toyota camry - which i heard and read good about toyota versa. Thanks for reading"
1 person out of 2 found this review helpful
By plantman on Sunday, March 15, 2015
I owned and sold this car
Reason: really poor heat windows constanly fog up
Pros: "Cheap, Nice radio in SL pkg. Roomy"
Cons: "Cheap, bad heat always cold, foggy windows."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I know this is a cheap car, but the heat and foggy windows made this car a pain to drive. The heated seats took a long time. The radio in the SL model was very good, The engine is loud and slow. I do think for its size the back seat could fold flatter and have more hauling room. It however, did handle decent in the snow. The spare tire under the car, to me is a bad idea. After fighting with the heat, taking an hour to defrost the frost on the inside of the windows, constantly switching the heat from recirculate to outside, it became a battle of trying to stay almost comfortable, and to see out of the windows. Dealer said heat is working as designed could not fix. A nightmare to drive in winter... traded it in...very glad I did. I am now much happier. Also did not get the fuel economy I thought it would."
By parliament625 on Friday, February 20, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 50,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
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."
11 people out of 15 found this review helpful
By Slick on Wednesday, February 18, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 13,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
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
By Terry on Saturday, February 07, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 6,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
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."
28 people out of 52 found this review helpful