By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 6.1
Consider the Nissan Versa the Toyota Camry of subcompacts: uninspiring, but a best seller. For the majority of buyers, the former won't matter much, or at least not enough to negate the Versa's positive aspects. Not only is the 2013 Versa the roomiest car in its class, it remains the least-expensive new car you can buy, even with this year's price increase. Add in fuel economy of up to 40 mpg, and the Versa looks even more sensible. Sedan versions of the Versa received an update last year that carries into this one, but the same can't be said of the Versa 2-door hatchback, which continues sales as a 2012 model. A new version of the hatchback is expected to share design cues of the Nissan Note from foreign markets, but details are still vague on its U.S. arrival.
If your focus is on dollars and cents, the 2013 Versa sedan is among the least expensive new cars to buy and own. The Versa also offers high fuel economy, a surprising amount of passenger room, and a comfortable ride for a car that starts under $13,000.
The base Versa S now offers a trunk light and can be had with a 4-speed automatic transmission. Top-trim SL models receive a trunk-release button on the key fob, sun-visor extensions and a driver's seat armrest. A rearview monitor is added to the tech package available in SL models.
Driving Impressions Economy cars are usually not known for being smooth or quiet. But some are smoother and quieter than others, and the 2013 Nissan Versa is built to be just that....Though its road-going behavior could be described as bland at best, the Versa is an easy car to drive and maneuver. The Versa's steering is light, its turning radius is tight, and visibility is very good from the driver's seat. Like other cars with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), Versas equipped with one take getting used to. Since there are no shift points, you might find yourself waiting for an upshift or downshift that will never arrive. With only 109 horsepower, the 2013 Versa sedan's acceleration ability is just barely adequate for getting up to speed on freeways.
The Versa is neither fast nor flashy, but it's commendably roomy. This is a small car that can actually comfortably seat two adults in back.
Sedan models with the CVT automatic transmission are now rated at 40 mpg for the highway, making this affordable car equally easy on the wallet when it comes to filling it up.
Nissan boasts that the Versa has best-in-class rear legroom – more than some mid-size luxury sedans, in fact. The trunk, too, has a surprising amount of room. With 14.9 cubic feet of capacity, the Versa's hull is larger than that of Nissan's flagship sedan, the Maxima. Up front, the Versa's front seats are acceptable. Its dash is plain and drab, even on models outfitted with a 5-inch navigation screen. On the upside, its chunky buttons and knobs are easy to reach and decipher. We prefer the look of the Sandstone interior, which feels richer than the Charcoal option.Exterior
Picture an economy car in your mind, and you're likely to visualize something akin to the 2013 Versa. This budget sedan has conservative looks, with few elements that stand out. Among those that do are its wide and shapely grille and the rear spoiler that helps spruce up the rear of models equipped with the CVT automatic transmission. Higher-trim SV and SL models are distinguished by a chrome-accented grille and chrome door handles. Fifteen-inch wheels are standard on all models, with top models wearing aluminum-alloy versions instead of the steel ones found on lower models.
The Nissan Versa is one of the few new cars that in base forms still has roll-your-own windows and manual-adjust mirrors. If you want power windows, mirrors, and door locks – or just a passenger vanity mirror – you'll have to step up to the costlier SV or SL trims. No version of the 2013 Versa sedan has a telescoping steering wheel, which can make it harder for drivers to obtain an optimum position. In base trims, even a tachometer is absent, never mind features such as Bluetooth wireless connectivity. Cloth seating is your only option in a Versa sedan. Base vehicles do have air conditioning and a 2-speaker AM/FM/CD audio with auxiliary input. To get cruise control or just folding rear seats requires a higher trim.
Major options for the Versa are bundled into two packages, available in higher-trim SV and SL models. The Convenience Package in SV models adds Bluetooth, 60/40-split folding rear seats, steering-wheel-mounted audio and phone controls, and a passenger vanity mirror. The Technology Package on top-line SL models adds a 5-inch navigation system with traffic information, satellite radio, rearview monitor, and a USB input for audio playback. An auto-dimming rearview mirror with Homelink remote transceiver is available on any 2013 Versa sedan.
The 2013 Nissan Versa sedan uses a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine. With only 109 horsepower, it's not very powerful, but does achieve up to 40 mpg when connected to a CVT transmission. Other transmission choices are a 5-speed manual on base S models, or an optional 4-speed automatic available on that trim. All other Versa sedans use the fuel-saving CVT. All Versas are front-wheel drive. You may notice the Versa wears a "PURE DRIVE" badge. This does not denote some exotic powertrain, but rather marks Nissan's initiative to improve fuel economy and cut CO2 emissions.
109 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
107 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 27/36 mpg (manual), 26/35 (4-speed automatic), 31/40 mpg (CVT automatic)
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."
6 people out of 6 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."
27 people out of 51 found this review helpful
By Thom on Friday, February 06, 2015
I want this caroverall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Reliable, roomy, excellent gas mileage"
Cons: "Loud at high speeds, some buffeting in strong wind"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I've driven 60k miles in my 2012 Versa S+ and have been very pleased overall. I want to upgrade to an SL which has more comfortable seats, electric windows & locks, premium audio system, blue tooth, GPS and fog lights. The S+ lacks these extra features. My experience with the Versa has been very positive as far as overall performance goes. Some have complained that it's loud at high speeds and this doesn't bother me, except when I'm giving my GPS voice commands and it doesn't understand because of the ambient noise. The Versa is roomy in the cabin and the trunk. I do a lot of freeway driving and it handles well there unless you're really close to a semi or hit strong wind gusts and then you feel a little buffeting but not it's not that bad. Pickup isn't great but it's adequate on freeway ramps and for passing. If you're looking for a sports car, this isn't it, but the Versa is fun to drive and it gets excellent gas mileage. I've gotten 45-50 mpg on a straight flat road while driving 55 mph. I was looking for an inexpensive car that was reliable, roomy and great on gas, and this is it."
9 people out of 16 found this review helpful
By Mike on Monday, February 02, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,300overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "low price, good gas mileage"
Cons: "lack of power, loud, cheap interior"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5
"I bought my Versa S brand new. First let me start with the good. Its GREAT on gas (41mpg highway @ 60mph), reliable, and it has decent room inside for being a small car. The bads: Cheap, cheap interior. So much plastic everywhere! VERY underpowered at 109hp which isnt an issue in stop & go traffic but it is a problem when entering the expressway and merging. Engine is also very loud. When going above 60mph the car starts getting "floaty" because it sits high and has NARROW 15x5.5 wheels. bottom line: If your looking for a small car thats reliable, affordable, and gets good gas mileage the Versa is great. I would not recommend for travel or if you do a lot of expressway/highway driving. Get something with more power."
10 people out of 20 found this review helpful
By Val on Saturday, January 31, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 22,000overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Pros: "Roomy, reasonable visability."
Cons: "LOUD: Very, very loud motor."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"My mother sold me this car after she had it for 2 years, claiming it was too noisy. I had no idea what she meant at the time, but do now. It is a very easy car to drive, roomy and reasonable viewing. However, it is extremely noisy and not available with a larger motor. Either it is not insulated well, or the motor is undersized for the car. I have no idea, but am selling it now and would not recommend it to anyone except for guest, kids, or someone with no hearing."
7 people out of 11 found this review helpful