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 MCD on Thursday, July 24, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 34,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "great price, room, gas mileage"
Cons: "noise windows, fog up windows wintertime"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Love love love this car. It is great on gas mileage and is smooth driving. I have owned it for almost two years and the only complaint I have is that the windows fog up during extremely cold days with the heat on. The pressure noise from the back windows when only one window is open. That is it. Not too bad for a car. I travel everywhere and love driving! Great car."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By gdriver on Monday, July 14, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,000overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great gas mileage, good price."
Cons: "Not steady in wind, apholstry material is terrible"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5
"The handling on windy days are dangerous. You get blown all over, the suspension is wrong for that car, it wobbles in the wind and causes you to almost go off the road. You really have to drive slower than speed limit on windy days. Other than that it is a good basic car, clutch sometimes acts up and won't go in gear correctly, but not too often, mostly in reverse, I have to release clutch and then re-adjust it in reverse. Awesome gas mileage, that I will never complain about. The material of the seats are the worst ever. If there is any lint or hair stuck to your clothes it stays on the seats like a dog has been in there. And you can't vacuum it out, I had to get a roll of tape to pull each thing out. Even the detail people tell me they can't get it out. Has a good take off and speed ratio."
4 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By Ivan on Thursday, July 10, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Excellent power once Engaged. Roomy, Fun! 40+mpg"
Cons: "Gas pedal does not React Instantly."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Break in Period took forever! But Engine is now Power-full.. and FAST! at 40,000 miles. I LOVE the CVT Transmission on my S-Plus, its accelerates Quicker than other comparable cars because it doesn't have to shift, and barely needs to Idle to maintain Freeway speeds. I Use a Super Light weight Mobil 1 Full Synthetic 0w-20 motor oil. On Florida Freeways I Achieve 44mpg consistently doing 70 & I never get less than 37 in stop and go traffic, with the Air ON. & I never Drive to save Gas.. I bought this car because I needed "a car" Immediately, and did not have the money to fix my Prius. But now, After owning my Versa Sedan for over a year, and moving (twice) across the country, 24 hours at a time, covering the Desert, the frozen Tundra, & now the Everglades.. I have to say the car is ROCK SOLID & has been the only Stable thing in my Life! & I can't believe I ever drove anything else. & yes, I would highly Recommend this car!"
4 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By Judy on Friday, July 04, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Its just a comforable car especially the seats...."
Cons: "Like everything"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"My Versa is comfortable, has great gas mileage I only use non ethanol and notice it never hesitates, It's roomy and I use McGuires NXT Generation wax and I wax it every three months It looks brand new and heads turn, No pings dings scratches...Fully automatic and I was told that only 2012 made the Special Edition so guess I was lucky as I have always driven Toyotas but there was no dealership in Hammond so I bought the Nissan and really love it.Our other car is a MKZ Lincoln Hybrid...Husband likes his car better but I like my Versa better for traveling...not that he will take it to travel in...."
4 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By bunchw on Saturday, June 28, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,500overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Price, Fuel mileage, room for the size"
Cons: "Driver seat, engine noise, road noise,"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"For the least amount of money this is the way to go. Fuel mileage is 37.1 around town with some highway. Driver seat not comfortable in the lower back."
11 people out of 20 found this review helpful
By Kevin in the desert on Saturday, June 21, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 200overall rating 6 of 10rating details
Pros: "good ride, quiet ride. large trunk, brakes,"
Cons: "Slow 0 to 25. Slow at highway speeds."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6
"I purchased an S+. The features are an odd mix. Manual mirrors, windows, door locks! (if you lock the doors the only entry is the driver's door with the key), trunk is only opened by the key outside. Manual windows all around. One step up in the line gets the power windows and door locks that most people want with a car that has an auto trans and cruise/ Bluetooth as standard equipment. The car is like the pro-reviewers have described it. Initial pickup (0 to 25 mph) is slow. Twenty five to 65 mph acceleration is good. Higher speed stuff is fine for cruising (75..80.mph) but passing at that speed range or higher mph is slow. Front seats occupied with larger Americans doesn't mean the back seats are toast. The Front seats with 2 6' 3" people installed still allows 2 five feet 10" chaps room in the back. My son commented that the room in the back (he's 5'7") felt more than the 2011+ Kia Optima. Driving the car is comfortable commuter and not zoom zoom Mazda. The steering is light and braking is strong. Quiet and smooth ride compared to other small cars. Steering is light, fine for me but others seem to equate heavier steering with steering "feel" and sportier driving behaviors. My opinion is that if you need to "feel" what the front tires are doing you should be on a racetrack. I enjoy motorsports. Motorsport driving shouldn't be part of my getting around. That's my opinion feel free to disagree. I get much better than the EPA mileage predictions but my route to work is easy on fuel. So my 2009 Harley 883 gets 57mpg, my 2011 Kia Optima gets 38 mpg, the Versa gets 54 mpg all on the same path. The Sportsters future as my main commuter vehicle is in jeopardy because I'm getting older and A/C and heat during the 1 hour commute to/from work are gaining in value to me. Nissan's CVT operation seems normal to me as I own a "super scooter". For those not used to the CVT my advice is to ignore it. That's correct, don't give it a thought. Need to go faster, push the pedal down. Most of us have had auto trans cars. Same thing with a different way of going about its business.What you need to know is 0 to 20 mph is slow. Then acceleration steps up until 70 mph then it starts to slow again. The S+ dash is oh my simple. If you don't need the Bluetooth indoctrination that the sales person will provide ( I guess it's part of the delivery process) the rest takes about 2 minutes to master. I like the simple dash as my Harley only has a speedometer and a time display. I don't have a smart phone but I was ready to get one after the Bluetooth demo. I keep my vehicles, usually for their lifetimes. My current rides have climate control, backup cameras, Nav systems...etc. The Versa was purchased as a throwback commuter vehicle for cheapest per mile costs and ended up a nice surprise for its' frugal and comfortable way it performs. Best deal. The bottom of the line. AC and manual trans would have gone this way but physical (left knee) limitations kept me out of this area. 2015 models have some minor changes. Front and rear get body changes with a minor center console mods. 2014 models are on the lots and deals are coming. I like my base model 2015 but you all might want the extras that are 2014 available. Best to you all. The Versa is worth checking out Check us out ..."
3 people out of 4 found this review helpful