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 Fred on Thursday, November 13, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,000overall rating 1 of 10rating details
Pros: "+Legroom in back. Unique color. Easy to maneuver"
Cons: "mileage not as advertised, doors lock til key out"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"We bought the Versa Note for its fuel efficiency but we've had it 11 months and have only gotten the advertised 40 MPG once and that was with a tailwind! We do lots of long distance driving so wanted a car with good gas mileage. We miss deep shelves for storing CDs etc. & a spot for sunglasses & other small items. I hate the fact that I have to take the key out of the ignition in order to open the door. I would not buy this car again."
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
By Randy on Saturday, November 08, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 26,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "good price, great gas mileage, good looks"
Cons: "seats are uncomfortable in front,"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Love the way the car looks and handles. Only thing I would change are better or wider front seats. the way they wrap around you are good if you're only 5'5 and 110 - 125 lbs."
3 people out of 7 found this review helpful
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."
11 people out of 27 found this review helpful
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."
9 people out of 16 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."
7 people out of 11 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."
8 people out of 12 found this review helpful