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 MCD on Thursday, July 24, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 34,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "great price, room, gas mileage"
Cons: "noise windows, fog up windows wintertime"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Love love love this car. It is great on gas mileage and is smooth driving. I have owned it for almost two years and the only complaint I have is that the windows fog up during extremely cold days with the heat on. The pressure noise from the back windows when only one window is open. That is it. Not too bad for a car. I travel everywhere and love driving! Great car."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By gdriver on Monday, July 14, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,000overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great gas mileage, good price."
Cons: "Not steady in wind, apholstry material is terrible"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5
"The handling on windy days are dangerous. You get blown all over, the suspension is wrong for that car, it wobbles in the wind and causes you to almost go off the road. You really have to drive slower than speed limit on windy days. Other than that it is a good basic car, clutch sometimes acts up and won't go in gear correctly, but not too often, mostly in reverse, I have to release clutch and then re-adjust it in reverse. Awesome gas mileage, that I will never complain about. The material of the seats are the worst ever. If there is any lint or hair stuck to your clothes it stays on the seats like a dog has been in there. And you can't vacuum it out, I had to get a roll of tape to pull each thing out. Even the detail people tell me they can't get it out. Has a good take off and speed ratio."
4 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By Ivan on Thursday, July 10, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Excellent power once Engaged. Roomy, Fun! 40+mpg"
Cons: "Gas pedal does not React Instantly."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Break in Period took forever! But Engine is now Power-full.. and FAST! at 40,000 miles. I LOVE the CVT Transmission on my S-Plus, its accelerates Quicker than other comparable cars because it doesn't have to shift, and barely needs to Idle to maintain Freeway speeds. I Use a Super Light weight Mobil 1 Full Synthetic 0w-20 motor oil. On Florida Freeways I Achieve 44mpg consistently doing 70 & I never get less than 37 in stop and go traffic, with the Air ON. & I never Drive to save Gas.. I bought this car because I needed "a car" Immediately, and did not have the money to fix my Prius. But now, After owning my Versa Sedan for over a year, and moving (twice) across the country, 24 hours at a time, covering the Desert, the frozen Tundra, & now the Everglades.. I have to say the car is ROCK SOLID & has been the only Stable thing in my Life! & I can't believe I ever drove anything else. & yes, I would highly Recommend this car!"
4 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By Judy on Friday, July 04, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Its just a comforable car especially the seats...."
Cons: "Like everything"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"My Versa is comfortable, has great gas mileage I only use non ethanol and notice it never hesitates, It's roomy and I use McGuires NXT Generation wax and I wax it every three months It looks brand new and heads turn, No pings dings scratches...Fully automatic and I was told that only 2012 made the Special Edition so guess I was lucky as I have always driven Toyotas but there was no dealership in Hammond so I bought the Nissan and really love it.Our other car is a MKZ Lincoln Hybrid...Husband likes his car better but I like my Versa better for traveling...not that he will take it to travel in...."
4 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By bunchw on Saturday, June 28, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,500overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Price, Fuel mileage, room for the size"
Cons: "Driver seat, engine noise, road noise,"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"For the least amount of money this is the way to go. Fuel mileage is 37.1 around town with some highway. Driver seat not comfortable in the lower back."
11 people out of 20 found this review helpful
By Kevin in the desert on Saturday, June 21, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 200overall rating 6 of 10rating details
Pros: "good ride, quiet ride. large trunk, brakes,"
Cons: "Slow 0 to 25. Slow at highway speeds."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6
"I purchased an S+. The features are an odd mix. Manual mirrors, windows, door locks! (if you lock the doors the only entry is the driver's door with the key), trunk is only opened by the key outside. Manual windows all around. One step up in the line gets the power windows and door locks that most people want with a car that has an auto trans and cruise/ Bluetooth as standard equipment. The car is like the pro-reviewers have described it. Initial pickup (0 to 25 mph) is slow. Twenty five to 65 mph acceleration is good. Higher speed stuff is fine for cruising (75..80.mph) but passing at that speed range or higher mph is slow. Front seats occupied with larger Americans doesn't mean the back seats are toast. The Front seats with 2 6' 3" people installed still allows 2 five feet 10" chaps room in the back. My son commented that the room in the back (he's 5'7") felt more than the 2011+ Kia Optima. Driving the car is comfortable commuter and not zoom zoom Mazda. The steering is light and braking is strong. Quiet and smooth ride compared to other small cars. Steering is light, fine for me but others seem to equate heavier steering with steering "feel" and sportier driving behaviors. My opinion is that if you need to "feel" what the front tires are doing you should be on a racetrack. I enjoy motorsports. Motorsport driving shouldn't be part of my getting around. That's my opinion feel free to disagree. I get much better than the EPA mileage predictions but my route to work is easy on fuel. So my 2009 Harley 883 gets 57mpg, my 2011 Kia Optima gets 38 mpg, the Versa gets 54 mpg all on the same path. The Sportsters future as my main commuter vehicle is in jeopardy because I'm getting older and A/C and heat during the 1 hour commute to/from work are gaining in value to me. Nissan's CVT operation seems normal to me as I own a "super scooter". For those not used to the CVT my advice is to ignore it. That's correct, don't give it a thought. Need to go faster, push the pedal down. Most of us have had auto trans cars. Same thing with a different way of going about its business.What you need to know is 0 to 20 mph is slow. Then acceleration steps up until 70 mph then it starts to slow again. The S+ dash is oh my simple. If you don't need the Bluetooth indoctrination that the sales person will provide ( I guess it's part of the delivery process) the rest takes about 2 minutes to master. I like the simple dash as my Harley only has a speedometer and a time display. I don't have a smart phone but I was ready to get one after the Bluetooth demo. I keep my vehicles, usually for their lifetimes. My current rides have climate control, backup cameras, Nav systems...etc. The Versa was purchased as a throwback commuter vehicle for cheapest per mile costs and ended up a nice surprise for its' frugal and comfortable way it performs. Best deal. The bottom of the line. AC and manual trans would have gone this way but physical (left knee) limitations kept me out of this area. 2015 models have some minor changes. Front and rear get body changes with a minor center console mods. 2014 models are on the lots and deals are coming. I like my base model 2015 but you all might want the extras that are 2014 available. Best to you all. The Versa is worth checking out Check us out ..."
3 people out of 4 found this review helpful