Making its U.S.-spec debut in New York, the all-new 2012 Nissan Versa steps up its game with on every level, offering smarter style, more sophisticated technology, impressive room and far better fuel economy -- at a price that will start at $10,990 plus destination when it goes on sale this summer.

"This new Versa Sedan, a 'clean sheet' ground-up design, takes small cars in a whole new direction -- proving that you don't have to sacrifice style for affordability, interior roominess for a smaller footprint, or drivability for high mpg," says Al Castignetti, vice president and general manager, Nissan Division, Nissan North America, Inc.

>See more new cars unveiled at the 2011 New York Auto Show

Built on Nissan's new global "V" -- for versatile -- platform, the new Versa
uses nearly 20 percent fewer individual components than before, and weighs about 150 pounds less than the car it replaces. The new bodywork boasts a tidier 0.31 coefficient of drag, more interesting character contours and a 1.5-inch lower roofline. Although the wheelbase remains at 102.4 inches, Nissan says this compact four-door offers more rear legroom than a BMW 5 Series and now boasts 14.8 cu ft of trunk space.

All 2012 Nissan Versa variants will share the same second-generation 1.6-liter HR16DE four-cylinder engine. This lighter, more compact motivator makes 109 horsepower and 107 lb-ft of torque and features a sophisticated twin Continuously Variable Timing Control (CVTC) system on both intake and exhaust valves as well as twin fuel injectors mounted near the inlet valve for each cylinder -- a feature that allows a wider injection of fuel with a finer spray pattern that enhances the overall combustion process.

"The result of all these enhancements and advances is that the new Versa Sedan engine burns cleaner and uses less fuel, which combined with the improved CVT performance and better aerodynamics reduces overall fuel consumption by about five miles per gallon versus the 2011 Versa Sedan," says Castignetti. In the real world, that's expected to translate into 30mpg/37 mpg city/highway EPA numbers when matched with the five-speed manual that's standard in the Versa S and 27/36 mpg numbers paired with a new and improved continuously variable automatic (CVT) that will be standard in the Versa SL and SV models and optional in the S. It in addition to being 13 percent lighter and 10 percent smaller than before, this upgraded CVT gains a new auxiliary gearbox with planetary gearing to further help improve efficiency.

In recognition of its numerous green-oriented enhancements, the 2012 Versa will be the first Nissan model in the United States branded with the automaker's new "PUREDRIVE" designation, an appellation reserved only for vehicles the use Nissan's most advanced technologies to promote eco-friendly driving and lower CO2 emissions.

Underpinning the 2012 Nissan Versa is a MacPherson strut-front/torsion beam-rear suspension matched with an electric power steering system, stability/traction control and antilock brakes with Electronic Brake-force Distribution and Brake Assist. Rounding out the mix are low-rolling- resistance tires on steel wheels.

Beyond the "well-equipped" 1.6 S model, the 2012 Nissan Versa 1.6 SV adds cruise control, Fine Vision instrumentation, chrome grille accents, body-color power mirrors, upgraded cloth seats, power windows and more while 1.6 SL nets 15-inch alloy wheels, fog lights, variable intermittent wipers, a 60/40-split fold-down rear seat, Bluetooth Hands-free Phone System, steering wheel audio controls, USB/iPod connectivity, an upgraded audio system, and more. In keeping with the automaker's recent practice, Versa options are limited. Sole extra for the 1.6S with CVT is a Cruise Control Package but SV buyers can add a Convenience Package with Bluetooth Hands-free Phone System, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, upgraded audio, iPod control, map lights and front passenger vanity mirror. The SL Tech Package adds the Nissan Navigation System with a five-inch color touch-screen display and XM Satellite Radio and real-time XM NavTraffic (sold separately).

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