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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 100 Ratings for the 2012 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.3/10
    Quality
    7.5/10
  • Reliability
    8.5/10
    Performance
    6.8/10
  • Comfort
    7.9/10
    Styling
    7.4/10

Decent car for what it is.

By on Thursday, September 11, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,000

10 6.0
overall rating 6 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
6/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
4/10
Comfort
1/10

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."

5 people out of 9 found this review helpful

Comfortable but could use some more go

By on Saturday, September 06, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 15,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "comfort, style, convenience"

Cons: "power"

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

I love my car!

By on Friday, August 29, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 7,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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

Not what I expected!

By on Friday, August 22, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 19,000

10 6.0
overall rating 6 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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 4 found this review helpful

Lots of mechanical issues

By on Wednesday, August 20, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 25,000

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
3/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
1/10
Performance
1/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

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

"Interior is great, lots of room, comfortable. Owned 1 year has been in shop 4 times for major mechanical concerns. No get up and go. Sluggish."

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Nice low budget car

By on Thursday, July 31, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Price,looks,trunk space,mpg"

Cons: "Seat material on base model,cup holders one size"

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

"I bought this car new for 10500 I thought it was a steel. It is what it is. Roomy for a compact car. Interior could use some up gradeing, but that will rais the price. I own the 5 speed standard modle. The mags are very wrong. It says the 5 speed has lower mpg, but if you know how to drive to save gas, I get 36 mpg in the city. Best car for the price and resale value is great."

13 people out of 19 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

Buying this car?