The Nissan Versa is a subcompact car meant to compete with the Toyota Corolla, Chevy Aveo, and Honda Fit, among others. The Versa first appeared in the North American market during the 2007 model year and replaced the Sentra. The Nissan Versa has received mixed reviews for its fuel economy, but is generally accepted to be a good entry-level car.
Currently, the Versa is in its ”second generation” stage. It is available with 1.6L or 1.8L four cylinder engines. You can chose between a six-speed manual or a continuously variable transmission (CVT). For 2012, the manual and CVT are rated for 38 mpg/highway by the EPA when paired with the 1.6. Fuel economy numbers only dip to 34 mpg highway when the 1.8 is paired with the CVT. Some owners say that they see closer to 30 mpg/highway under real world driving conditions, while others claim closer to 40 mpg.. The Versa is longer (110 mm) and heavier(100 lbs) than most of the cars in its class. That allows for a roomier feeling and tends to improve the ride. Those differences also account for it having lower fuel economy numbers than some of its competitors.
In 2012 the Nissan Versa featured standard anti-lock brakes, brake assist, traction and stability control, front seat side airbags, and side curtain airbags. In tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration(NHTSA), the sedan received four stars out of five for overall crash protection. The hatchback did not perform as well. It only received a three star rating for overall frontal crash protection. Even at three stars, the hatchback improved over its 2011 ratings.
When tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the sedan earned a top rating (Good) for frontal-offset, side and roof strength tests. The hatchback was rated as Good for frontal-offset protection, but was only rated as Acceptable for side and roof strength.
Overall, the Nissan Versa is a reliable vehicle. You must accept that this car is created for fuel economy, not sporty acceleration (especially the CVT) or good looks. The Versa is roomier than other cars in its class and has better trim packages than its competitors. The base model is a good value under 12K, but you can upgrade to a nicer trim package and still keep your total investment under 18K.
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