By Matt Degen
KBB Expert Rating: 7.6
The 2015 Nissan Versa is not only the least-expensive vehicle in Nissan's fleet – it's the least-expensive new car, period. A year after the debut of its new hatchback version, the Versa Note, the 2015 Versa Sedan gets its own updates to shed some of its past frumpiness. Yet the sedan continues to sport an alluring base price of just $12,800. That money still only buys a basic car, but one that is roomy and fuel efficient. Higher-trim versions of the sedan boast more amenities, while the Versa Note offers the cargo versatility of a hatchback and fresher design. Rivals like the Chevrolet Sonic, Ford Fiesta, Kia Rio and Honda Fit are more fun to drive, but none can touch the Versa's starting price.
If budget takes priority over driving excitement and feature-rich amenities, the 2015 Nissan Versa lineup offers affordable and efficient transportation in the form of a 5-passenger sedan or hatchback. The Versa's roomy cabin and up-to-40-mpg rating are also high points.
Want to have a little more fun behind the wheel? Better candidates include the Honda Fit, Kia Rio, Ford Fiesta, Chevy Sonic and Mazda2. These sedan and hatchback rivals also tempt with low prices and high fuel economy.
The 2015 Versa Sedan receives new front and rear fascias, while the interior gets minor design updates. Bluetooth wireless phone connectivity arrives in base models. The Versa Note hatchback adds the SR trim that aims to be sporty via exterior and interior aesthetics.
Driving Impressions The 2015 Nissan Versa is not a thrilling car to drive, but it sure is easy. Both the sedan and the smaller Versa Note hatchback are smooth and quiet by...... economy-car standards, and we were impressed with the refinement of the newer Note in particular. The 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 so equipped take some getting used to. There are no conventional shift points, so the engine may seem to be working hard at unexpected times. With just 109 horsepower, the 2015 Versa's acceleration – or lack thereof – won't tempt you to enter many drag races.
The Versa is commendably roomy, and folding rear seatbacks add versatility. In both Sedan and 5-door forms this is a small car that can comfortably seat two full-size adults in back.
Sedans with the CVT automatic transmission are rated at 40 mpg for the highway and 35 mpg combined. The 5-door Nissan Versa Note equals the sedan's numbers with even better drivability, making both Versas easy on the wallet and on the environment.
Despite their small exteriors, sedan and hatchback versions of the 2015 Versa hide a lot of interior space. In the sedan, rear-seat passengers get 37 inches of legroom, while those in the Versa Note hatchback can stretch out with 38.3 inches, similar to a full-size sedan. As a grocery-getter, the sedan holds much in its 14.9-cubic-foot trunk, while the Note swallows 18.8 cubic feet with rear seats up or up to 38.3 with them down. The rear seats of the sedan also fold in a 60/40 split, but only on the higher SV and SL trims. Up front, controls and cabin materials are basic.Exterior
Thanks to a fresh face similar to that of its larger siblings the Sentra and Altima, the 2015 Nissan Versa has more visual pizzazz than before. More appealing from a stylistic standpoint, however, is the Versa Note. This 5-door hatchback's overhangs are six inches shorter than the Sedan's, and the result is a more energetic-looking design. The new Versa Note SR trim goes for a sportier look with standard fog lights, black and chrome accents, and a unique front fascia.
A base 2015 Versa Sedan has a tempting price for sure, but you will have to sacrifice some creature comforts for it. It does come with air conditioning, a 2-speaker AM/FM/CD/Aux audio system and Bluetooth, but you won't get power windows, power door locks, cruise control, a height-adjustable driver's seat, or even a remote trunk release. For those kind of features, you'll have to step up to the S Plus or SV trims, which cost thousands more. The pricier Versa Note is also basic in base form, but comes with four speakers and 60/40 split-folding rear seats.
As with other Nissans, most of the extras come by climbing trims. Mid-tier SV models gain a 6-way adjustable driver's seat, split-folding rear seats, better fabric material, and an upgraded audio system that includes a USB input. Top-line SL models come with the NissanConnect system that integrates mobile apps such as those for Facebook and Pandora, push-button ignition, and a premium audio system with 5-inch display and Bluetooth audio streaming. A tech package for top-tier models offers navigation and a rearview monitor for the Versa Sedan, and nav plus the innovative Around View Monitor on the Versa Note.
The front-wheel-drive Nissan Versa Sedan and 5-door Note hatchback are equipped with a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine. With only 109 horsepower, it's not particularly powerful, but does get an EPA rating of 40 mpg on the highway when connected to a CVT transmission. Other transmission choices are a 5-speed manual (Versa Sedan and Versa Note) and 4-speed automatic (available only on base S models of the Sedan.) All other Versas use the fuel-saving CVT.
109 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
107 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 27/36 mpg (5-speed manual), 26/35 (4-speed automatic), 31/40 mpg (CVT automatic)
The Nissan Versa has the lowest Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of any new car, with base Sedan models starting at $12,800. Adding even simple options like a 4-speed automatic transmission lifts that cost to over $14,000. The Versa Note hatchback has a higher starting price of around $15,000. Moving up trims and adding features can push a Versa's price to around $20,000 in top form. A Kia Rio, by comparison, has a more powerful engine and a longer warranty, and starts around $15,000, the neighborhood where base models of the Honda Fit, Chevy Sonic, Hyundai Accent and Ford Fiesta reside. Before buying, be sure to check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others are paying for their Versa. Strong resale value is another characteristic of the Versa, where it's a best-in-class leader.
By Twilight47 on Monday, March 16, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 44,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great on gas, good stearing, nice power"
Cons: "Only has 1 arm rest, harder to work with on wind"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Okay so we bought this vehicle last September because the old one had the transmission about to go! We paid 15 grand because our credit wasn't that great. Anyway first impression is it's a cute little brick red car and I know that Nissan's are dang reliable. When I opened the door, everything was spotless looking brand new. I did notice that the Versa SV only has one arm rest on the drivers side. Also the glove box isn't as big as you would think, but otherwise it's like any vehicle and the color on the inside was black. The trunk space is very spacious for the size of the vehicle. The gas gage is actually in the middle of the dashboard and electronic. I had a carfax and sure enough no problems to speak of that would persuade me not to buy it. I asked how many mpg's it would get, they said about 30 OH NO IT'S A LOT MORE! So we took it from Kansas to Indiana and back right before winter hit. The car worked like a dream! I also only had to use 50 bucks in gas total to get there and back! The suspension is fine, like any vehicle you hit a big enough pot hole you'll feel it. Our next trip was 6 months later to Arkansas, again that little car went just fine and went spent about the same amount to go there and back. The steering is very reliable, granted when the wind picks up then you have a tiny bit of an issue because it is a light weight vehicle it's not like a truck or anything, but it's got great power for a V4. If that little car can go through the Ozark mountains like nobodies business then I trust it. I'm a Nissan lover for life now!"
6 people out of 10 found this review helpful
By Mr.Am on Sunday, March 15, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,000overall rating 2 of 10rating details
Cons: "light weight, fuel on highways, pickup"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I really did not like this car, shakes when windy...can't even drive above 55+mph average is not as listed on highways 10 gallons of fuel tank :O i'm gonna sale versa then gonna buy toyota camry - which i heard and read good about toyota versa. Thanks for reading"
1 person out of 2 found this review helpful
By plantman on Sunday, March 15, 2015
I owned and sold this car
Reason: really poor heat windows constanly fog up
Pros: "Cheap, Nice radio in SL pkg. Roomy"
Cons: "Cheap, bad heat always cold, foggy windows."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I know this is a cheap car, but the heat and foggy windows made this car a pain to drive. The heated seats took a long time. The radio in the SL model was very good, The engine is loud and slow. I do think for its size the back seat could fold flatter and have more hauling room. It however, did handle decent in the snow. The spare tire under the car, to me is a bad idea. After fighting with the heat, taking an hour to defrost the frost on the inside of the windows, constantly switching the heat from recirculate to outside, it became a battle of trying to stay almost comfortable, and to see out of the windows. Dealer said heat is working as designed could not fix. A nightmare to drive in winter... traded it in...very glad I did. I am now much happier. Also did not get the fuel economy I thought it would."