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2013 Nissan Versa

Overview
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2013 Nissan Versa Review

By

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.

You'll Like This Car If...

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.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you desire even a modicum of excitement in your economy car's looks or driving dynamics, consider a Honda Fit, Kia Rio, Ford Fiesta, or Chevrolet Sonic.

What's New for 2013

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 the Versa

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.

REAR LEGROOM
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.

FUEL ECONOMY
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.

2013 Nissan Versa Details
Interior

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.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

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.

Optional Equipment

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.

Under the Hood

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.

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), 26/35 (4-speed automatic), 31/40 mpg (CVT automatic)

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2013 Nissan Versa Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
7.6
Out of 10

Based on 122 Ratings for the 2012 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.3/10
    Quality
    7.6/10
  • Reliability
    8.6/10
    Performance
    7.0/10
  • Comfort
    7.9/10
    Styling
    7.5/10

Awesome vehicle with some character

By on Monday, March 16, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 44,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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!"

10 people out of 14 found this review helpful

worst

By on Sunday, March 15, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,000

10 2.0
overall rating 2 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
2/10
Value
1/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
1/10
Performance
1/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "worst"

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"

2 people out of 10 found this review helpful

Heat so bad, had to trade in.

By on Sunday, March 15, 2015

I owned and sold this car
Reason: really poor heat windows constanly fog up

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
3/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
3/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
6/10

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."

5 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Great on gas and reliable

By on Friday, February 20, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 50,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
6/10

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."

12 people out of 16 found this review helpful

Great for value

By on Wednesday, February 18, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 13,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

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!"

6 people out of 9 found this review helpful

Great Commuter and Small Family Car (though basic)

By on Saturday, February 07, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 6,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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."

34 people out of 58 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

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