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2013 Nissan Versa

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2013 Nissan Versa Review

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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 162 Ratings for the 2012 - 2016 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.2/10
    Quality
    7.6/10
  • Reliability
    8.6/10
    Performance
    7.0/10
  • Comfort
    7.9/10
    Styling
    7.6/10

Not very impressed

By on Sunday, July 10, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 6,500

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Great gas miles"

Cons: "unstable in slightest breeze."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4

"I guess you get what you pay for. If you drive a lot it will save you a ton at the gas pump. I have the red versa s plus. No power locks or windows which is a big let down. Its not too bad on comfort but not recommended for long trips. It doesnt have a lot of go power. My biggest issue with this car is the slightest breeze and it will send you off the road. This is also true for driving behind semi's. Overall not bad for an inexpensive car."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Suffers from cheap parts and crummy manufacturing

By on Saturday, June 18, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,500

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
4/10
Performance
2/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "spacious, fuel efficient"

Cons: "cheap plastics, parts and manufacturing"

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

"The headliner did not fit properly, leaving the edge not tucked under map light. Car becomes unstable at speeds above 60mph (had to put sand bags in the trunk). The dashboard plastics make noises in temperatures below 40 degrees (very annoying). The suspension stinks - can feel every crack and crevice in the road. Paper thin metal body - can hear pebbles and rock salt hitting the bottom sides (never heard this in any car in my life). Windshield wiper arm became warped in winter and couldn't wipe one part of the window - had to use higher-end wiper blades from then on. Condensation/fog forms on inside of windshield and rear taillights in cold/hot environment changes. Found several untightened screws and brackets on interior. Dashboard is off-center. Lacks fit and finish. It has a large interior and trunk, though, so you feel like you're in a spacious fuel-efficient tin box powered by a sewing machine (it really sounds like it)."

Probably the least expensive transportation

By on Wednesday, June 15, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,500

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Very economical, I enjoy the manual transmission"

Cons: "Base model lacks power locks"

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

"I enjoy driving the manual transmission -- brings back my younger motorcycle days! Also, in our area, the "S" Versa with manual transmission was the least expensive. If you want a CVT transmission, or the hatchback, you pay several thousand dollars more. For those who mentioned the base model does not have a center arm rest, Amazon and Ebay have arm rests that fit in one of the rear cup holders and are actually quite secure! They also don't interfere with use of the hand brake. Cost is $30 - $70. Also, aftermarket remote door locks can be added. Fry's can do it. My 2016 Versa S is replacing a 2010 diesel VW Sportwagen, which cost me almost 3 times as much! The VW is lower to the ground -- hits bottom more often. My 3 kids report that there also is more room in the Versa backseat, although really tall people may hit their head in the back of the Versa. Steering, of course, is not as sure in the Versa. But it seems very nimble in parking and sharp turning situations. I haven't had to have the Versa repaired, but parts seem MUCH less than the VW. I had an air conditioning compressor go out on the VW -- $1,200 for parts and labor (I believe the parts cost was $700 or $900). I saw a Versa air conditioning compressor on Ebay for just $139!!! I liked my VW, but the repair costs were killing me!!! I'm quite impressed with Nissan's cheapest car! My previous experience with Nissan was a 1968 Datsun truck which I owned in the 1970's, and a Nissan truck which I owned in the early 1980's."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

Much better than I thought it would be.

By on Thursday, June 2, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 600

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
10/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "fuel economy, easy to drive, great 5 spd manual"

Cons: "no power windows or doors, no satellite radio"

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

"I am not what you would call a small or even medium sized person person by any means but I have no trouble fitting and being comfortable in this car. it is roomy and the seats feel supportive. I have the 2016 Versa S with the 5 speed manual transmission. The clutch is light and it shifts smoothly, the engines torque at low rpm's make it an easy manual transmission car to drive. Is it the most fun car? no, but is not a sports car nor is it pretending to be. I have driven the CVT version and I must say that I am happy that I bought the manual transmission. It is far more responsive and accelerates much better, it is much quieter too. The only down side I have notice in driving, is that at very fast speeds on the highway sometimes the wind gusts will push the car, not abnormal while driving, but more so as this is a small light weight car. The EPA fuel economy tests put this car at city 27/36 highway. I don't know who or what tested this but that is wrong. IT'S BETTER! I averaged over 38 MPG combined highway and stop and go traffic on my last tank of gas! I guess whoever tested this car does not know how to drive a stick. This is an excellent commuter car or first car for a young driver. It serves this purpose very well. It is comfortable, easy to drive, and while the controls are simple and the power windows and doors are not an option on the Versa S, they are not missed."

9 people out of 10 found this review helpful

Economical to drive. Fun. I like it.

By on Saturday, May 7, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 37,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Economy both to purchase and to drive. Leg room."

Cons: "Cost of repairs as always."

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

"I bought this car a year old from a major auto rental facility. The mileage was barely over 30,000. I've had it three years and it is now almost 37,000. I don't drive much. I've never had engine problems, but right off the bat I had AC issues. It was under the extra mechanical warranty I bought so that was cool. Or it was cool after it was fixed! :D I never had another problem until about 2.5 years in. I was trying to get out of a tight place and twisted the steering wheel very hard to the right. The spring in the right wheel well came unattached. I had to have it replaced and also replaced the left side for as my mechanic (who I love) said there would be undo strain on the left side as it is old and the right is new. Total cost when all is said and done was 800.00. Not covered under mechanical warranty which had expired after a year. :( Otherwise a great, reliable ride, smooth if just a tad noisy as most small cars are. If you treat her nice, she'll be good to you too. Very economical, gas mileage about 24 mpg. Stereo system is adequate, AC and heat blasts, surprising leg room in the back. If you have animals (I have 2 cats) the cloth interior will pick up every stray fur you have on your clothes. Believe me! Lightly wet a rag and rub it down the fabric and it comes right off. Be careful with the steering wheel. Don't push it really far to one side or the other when turning your tires. You know, don't force it. Plenty of cup holders, and charge station."

7 people out of 11 found this review helpful

I love this vehicle

By on Monday, April 25, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 276

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "It handles like a dream and it's fun to drive"

Cons: "none"

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

"I bought the Versa Note S Plus for 2 reasons... 1) it is an automatic and that's all I can drive & 2) for the simple fact, to me, its a basic design which is what I was looking for in a car. I'm 60 years old and I love this car because it doesn't have all the electrical and computer items on it like most cars. This car is not just great for the young but for the older people who don't like all kinds of electrical and computer technology on the cars. I had all the electronic and computer items on my other cars and I hated it because if one thing goes out...everything goes out. My hat goes off to Nissan for bringing back the classic car design...Thank You!!!"

8 people out of 10 found this review helpful

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