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 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."
1 person out of 3 found this review helpful
By b123 on Saturday, September 20, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 500overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"Bought this as my first car, as the versa's price is pretty much the cheapest for a new car on the market. I really do like it, its great for me! I'm a college student so having good gas mileage is a necessity for me as I drive back and forth from school and home. Love the fact that it has Bluetooth and the backseats have a lot more room than I would expect! I also like the spoiler on the back of the car, its cute! It does take a while to pick up though, but that might just be because I am used to driving a van that was a v6. Overall I'm really happy I chose this as my first car to buy, and I really hope it stays in good shape for a long time!!"
15 people out of 27 found this review helpful
By Mike B. on Thursday, September 11, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,000overall rating 6 of 10rating details
Pros: "See "complete review"."
Cons: "See "complete review"."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2
"I purchased this car after being in an accident where I was hit in the back and the insurance company decided to total my car. I did not want to make car payments so I was looking for the least expensive new car I could find and that turned out to be the Nissan Versa S. I have been driving the car for about a month and what I can say is that the car starts every time I turn the ignition and it gets me where I want to go. It is surprisingly roomy as far as head room and room in the back. This car has a 5 speed manual transmission and I find that I drive in 5th gear most of the time as it get to over 3K RPM's by the time you are doing 40 MPH in 4th gear. The car after 3 fuel fill ups is averaging about 35 MPG combined highway and city. Now let me describe the down side of owing this car. This trim besides the A/C, Bluetooth and steering wheel controls for the stereo has no common amenities you would expect in any car made in the past 20 years by a major car company. It has no center storage console or any nice little storage place for things like sunglasses. It does have a crazy deep glove compartment where anything you put in it gets lost. It does not have a trunk release (key only). It has one key lock on the drivers door which makes locking and unlocking the back doors very difficult, especially the way the door locks are designed being put near the inside door handle. The thing that is taking the most getting use to for me is how the gas peddle is so close to the center dashboard column, my right leg rests against this column while driving and it is just not very comfortable. I would have purchased power door locks if that were an option on this trim model but I would have had to go up 2 trim models to get this one feature and I didn't want to pay an extra $3,000 - $4,000 since the goal was to pay as little as possible. I am going to put in some after market power door locks and trunk release to make the car a bit nicer to drive. I am also experimenting with after market center consoles for storage and an arm rest. I also found an interesting little device that fits in a cup holder that has 2 USB ports and 2 12 volt power ports that I can plug into the one existing power port behind the hand brake. It was almost like the people that engineered this car went out of their way to take out any and all of the little amenities that most of us take for grant it in any car. Even the steering wheel controls are ergonomically so badly placed to make them almost unusable. I would have given up those controls and the Bluetooth in a second for what I consider the standard amenities that I have described. All in all the car works for transportation to get from point A to point B but if you drive a lot I would not recommend it, at least not this low end S trim model as it lacks almost any of the creature comforts that most of us spoiled Americans have come to expect in a new car."
14 people out of 25 found this review helpful
By Cricket on Saturday, September 06, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 15,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "comfort, style, convenience"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I really like this car. It is very comfortable and does not feel like a small car. I am very happy with the available cup holders that fit larger cups. There are two things that I would make me like the car better: a more powerful air conditioner and a little more power in the engine. However, I never feel like I cannot go fast enough, I would just like to start out faster."
9 people out of 15 found this review helpful
By whv222 on Friday, August 29, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 7,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "great on gas, fun to drive"
Cons: "outdated on the inside appliances"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Bought this as my first car and I love it! As a college student, I cant afford something fancy but I wanted something good on gas and something nice. I can say that my experience has been great so far, and i've had my car since valentines day. I got this car for 18k, how much better does that get for a NEW first car?"
3 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By VersaOwner on Friday, August 22, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 19,000overall rating 6 of 10rating details
Pros: "Gas mileage, trunk space, roomy!"
Cons: "Not much power, transmission, better stock tires"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4
"Nice car with great gas mileage but only owned for 2 weeks brand new and the transmission went out and had to be replaced. Not very happy.."
1 person out of 5 found this review helpful