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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 162 Ratings for the 2012 - 2016 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.2/10
    Quality
    7.6/10
  • Reliability
    8.6/10
    Performance
    7.0/10
  • Comfort
    7.9/10
    Styling
    7.6/10

Not very impressed

By on Sunday, July 10, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 6,500

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Great gas miles"

Cons: "unstable in slightest breeze."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4

"I guess you get what you pay for. If you drive a lot it will save you a ton at the gas pump. I have the red versa s plus. No power locks or windows which is a big let down. Its not too bad on comfort but not recommended for long trips. It doesnt have a lot of go power. My biggest issue with this car is the slightest breeze and it will send you off the road. This is also true for driving behind semi's. Overall not bad for an inexpensive car."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Suffers from cheap parts and crummy manufacturing

By on Saturday, June 18, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,500

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
4/10
Performance
2/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "spacious, fuel efficient"

Cons: "cheap plastics, parts and manufacturing"

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

"The headliner did not fit properly, leaving the edge not tucked under map light. Car becomes unstable at speeds above 60mph (had to put sand bags in the trunk). The dashboard plastics make noises in temperatures below 40 degrees (very annoying). The suspension stinks - can feel every crack and crevice in the road. Paper thin metal body - can hear pebbles and rock salt hitting the bottom sides (never heard this in any car in my life). Windshield wiper arm became warped in winter and couldn't wipe one part of the window - had to use higher-end wiper blades from then on. Condensation/fog forms on inside of windshield and rear taillights in cold/hot environment changes. Found several untightened screws and brackets on interior. Dashboard is off-center. Lacks fit and finish. It has a large interior and trunk, though, so you feel like you're in a spacious fuel-efficient tin box powered by a sewing machine (it really sounds like it)."

Probably the least expensive transportation

By on Wednesday, June 15, 2016

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

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Very economical, I enjoy the manual transmission"

Cons: "Base model lacks power locks"

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

"I enjoy driving the manual transmission -- brings back my younger motorcycle days! Also, in our area, the "S" Versa with manual transmission was the least expensive. If you want a CVT transmission, or the hatchback, you pay several thousand dollars more. For those who mentioned the base model does not have a center arm rest, Amazon and Ebay have arm rests that fit in one of the rear cup holders and are actually quite secure! They also don't interfere with use of the hand brake. Cost is $30 - $70. Also, aftermarket remote door locks can be added. Fry's can do it. My 2016 Versa S is replacing a 2010 diesel VW Sportwagen, which cost me almost 3 times as much! The VW is lower to the ground -- hits bottom more often. My 3 kids report that there also is more room in the Versa backseat, although really tall people may hit their head in the back of the Versa. Steering, of course, is not as sure in the Versa. But it seems very nimble in parking and sharp turning situations. I haven't had to have the Versa repaired, but parts seem MUCH less than the VW. I had an air conditioning compressor go out on the VW -- $1,200 for parts and labor (I believe the parts cost was $700 or $900). I saw a Versa air conditioning compressor on Ebay for just $139!!! I liked my VW, but the repair costs were killing me!!! I'm quite impressed with Nissan's cheapest car! My previous experience with Nissan was a 1968 Datsun truck which I owned in the 1970's, and a Nissan truck which I owned in the early 1980's."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

Much better than I thought it would be.

By on Thursday, June 2, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 600

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
10/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "fuel economy, easy to drive, great 5 spd manual"

Cons: "no power windows or doors, no satellite radio"

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

"I am not what you would call a small or even medium sized person person by any means but I have no trouble fitting and being comfortable in this car. it is roomy and the seats feel supportive. I have the 2016 Versa S with the 5 speed manual transmission. The clutch is light and it shifts smoothly, the engines torque at low rpm's make it an easy manual transmission car to drive. Is it the most fun car? no, but is not a sports car nor is it pretending to be. I have driven the CVT version and I must say that I am happy that I bought the manual transmission. It is far more responsive and accelerates much better, it is much quieter too. The only down side I have notice in driving, is that at very fast speeds on the highway sometimes the wind gusts will push the car, not abnormal while driving, but more so as this is a small light weight car. The EPA fuel economy tests put this car at city 27/36 highway. I don't know who or what tested this but that is wrong. IT'S BETTER! I averaged over 38 MPG combined highway and stop and go traffic on my last tank of gas! I guess whoever tested this car does not know how to drive a stick. This is an excellent commuter car or first car for a young driver. It serves this purpose very well. It is comfortable, easy to drive, and while the controls are simple and the power windows and doors are not an option on the Versa S, they are not missed."

9 people out of 10 found this review helpful

Economical to drive. Fun. I like it.

By on Saturday, May 7, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 37,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Economy both to purchase and to drive. Leg room."

Cons: "Cost of repairs as always."

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

"I bought this car a year old from a major auto rental facility. The mileage was barely over 30,000. I've had it three years and it is now almost 37,000. I don't drive much. I've never had engine problems, but right off the bat I had AC issues. It was under the extra mechanical warranty I bought so that was cool. Or it was cool after it was fixed! :D I never had another problem until about 2.5 years in. I was trying to get out of a tight place and twisted the steering wheel very hard to the right. The spring in the right wheel well came unattached. I had to have it replaced and also replaced the left side for as my mechanic (who I love) said there would be undo strain on the left side as it is old and the right is new. Total cost when all is said and done was 800.00. Not covered under mechanical warranty which had expired after a year. :( Otherwise a great, reliable ride, smooth if just a tad noisy as most small cars are. If you treat her nice, she'll be good to you too. Very economical, gas mileage about 24 mpg. Stereo system is adequate, AC and heat blasts, surprising leg room in the back. If you have animals (I have 2 cats) the cloth interior will pick up every stray fur you have on your clothes. Believe me! Lightly wet a rag and rub it down the fabric and it comes right off. Be careful with the steering wheel. Don't push it really far to one side or the other when turning your tires. You know, don't force it. Plenty of cup holders, and charge station."

7 people out of 11 found this review helpful

I love this vehicle

By on Monday, April 25, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 276

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: "It handles like a dream and it's fun to drive"

Cons: "none"

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

"I bought the Versa Note S Plus for 2 reasons... 1) it is an automatic and that's all I can drive & 2) for the simple fact, to me, its a basic design which is what I was looking for in a car. I'm 60 years old and I love this car because it doesn't have all the electrical and computer items on it like most cars. This car is not just great for the young but for the older people who don't like all kinds of electrical and computer technology on the cars. I had all the electronic and computer items on my other cars and I hated it because if one thing goes out...everything goes out. My hat goes off to Nissan for bringing back the classic car design...Thank You!!!"

8 people out of 10 found this review helpful

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