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 BigDollar on Wednesday, October 15, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "great price, "Versa"tility, mileage"
Cons: "needs lighted door buttons"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I like the cost, and my wife likes the colors and the fact it was affordable even with all available options purchased. It drives very good with super MPGs and with the hatchback it has decent room for lots of things. My only disappointment is that all the switches on the door do not light up, only the drivers window button, it makes it hard to exit at night as it has automatic locking."
By none on Sunday, October 05, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 5,230overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Small,but mighty in appointmts. & all it can do"
Cons: "See ccomplete review."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"Could have more comfort in seat cushioning and at least a three position arm rest choice. Slow on start up from a complete stop. But great from then on. Difficult tilt wheel. Great little car with hatchback access that holds much. Just remember to use a good cushion on your seat for long trips. Back up camera fades out in bright sunlight rendering it useless. Easy driving with even easier pull in parking in small spaces. Driver and one front seat passenger accommadated on long trips with all back seats down holding luggage, etc in hatchback area."
6 people out of 9 found this review helpful
By kmk on Monday, September 29, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 14,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "great mileage, great handling, good price"
Cons: "long to heat up, driving position, standard featue"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"this car drives great, handles good in the snow. the mileage is good for how spacious the car is. the standard features are fairly adequate but disappointing for a car of this year(no cruise, no satellite, no bluetooth) my gfs car is base kia and 2 years older and her car trumps mine feature wise. the heat takes the longest to kick in out of all my snow driven vehicles in my life(Ranger, Saturn,gf kia soul, impala). but the good of this car far outweighs the negative."
4 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By Brandon on Wednesday, September 24, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,100overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "highest mpg and most room of comparable cars"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I bought this car about 6 weeks ago and have put a little over 3000 miles on it so far. I was a little nervous about the CVT, but I am really enjoying it. The engine noise is significantly less than with a traditional automatic transmission and there is no jerk from shifting. I had read several reviews that complained about slow acceleration, but compared to other 4 cylinder autos I think it is fairly impressive. It definitely outperforms my 09 Toyota Yaris. The gas mileage has been from 38.5 to 40.5, doing best on the highway at about 60 mpg and staying around 38.5 on the interstate. The issues that I have noticed so far are 1 when you turn the defroster on the a/c comes on (this is normal for virtually all car models) but it doesn't turn off when you switch back to the vent, so you have to turn the a/c off manually 2 the intermittent wiper speed is not adjustable I am liking this car more and more each time I drive it. I just wish I hadn't wasted so much time considering other cars before I bought this one."
6 people out of 9 found this review helpful
By b123 on Saturday, September 20, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 500overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"Bought this as my first car, as the versa's price is pretty much the cheapest for a new car on the market. I really do like it, its great for me! I'm a college student so having good gas mileage is a necessity for me as I drive back and forth from school and home. Love the fact that it has Bluetooth and the backseats have a lot more room than I would expect! I also like the spoiler on the back of the car, its cute! It does take a while to pick up though, but that might just be because I am used to driving a van that was a v6. Overall I'm really happy I chose this as my first car to buy, and I really hope it stays in good shape for a long time!!"
16 people out of 28 found this review helpful
By Mike B. on Thursday, September 11, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,000overall rating 6 of 10rating details
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."
19 people out of 30 found this review helpful