Starting at $10,990, the Versa sedan is the least expensive car in America. On the heels of the Leaf electric vehicle, Nissan has given the 2012 Nissan Versa improved economy, lower emissions, and a surprising amount of interior room (Nissan claims more legroom than in the Lexus LS460, the BMW 5-Series and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class). A hatchback model will follow shortly after the summer launch of the sedan.
2012 Nissan VersaNissan built the new Versa on a new global front-wheel-drive platform which, while similar in size to the one it replaces, weighs 150 pounds less. That means better efficiency and less power required to achieve the same performance.
“High gas prices have indeed shifted our
focus and development away from trucks,” Carlos Tavares, Nissan's
chairman of the Americas, said. “Oil prices may go even higher, so we
plan [ahead] with products like the Versa,” Tavares said. The new Versa
achieves better fuel economy than the outgoing model by 5 mpg.
The base Versa is equipped with standard air conditioning, stability control, antilock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution, and electronic power steering. Bluetooth, touch-screen navigation, satellite radio, and an iPod/USB interface are also available.
Versa’s 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine develops 109 hp, achieving 30
city mpg and 37 highway mpg (or 33 combined mpg, which Nissan says is a
better representation of real-world results) with the
continuously-variable automatic transmission. The five-speed manual
returns an estimated 27/36 mpg city/highway. Nissan has deleted the
previous 1.8-liter engine version of the Versa with this redesign.
All 2012 Nissan Versas will be offered in three trim levels; the S will be available with either a five-speed manual or CVT, while the SV and SL will be CVT-equipped only.