The Nissan Versa is a sub-compact economy car, a popular consumer choice for its price and fuel efficiency. It is available as a four-door sedan or hatchback. The baseline Versa has little power and only the most essential features. Potential owners, for instance, find themselves having to choose between legroom and cargo space in the sedan. Yet, overall, the Versa delivers in the areas of reliability and basic functionality, and there are several options packages available.
The Nissan Versa was designed in Japan and is manufactured in several locations throughout the world. It runs on four cylinders, with the choice of two engines: a 1.6-liter, producing 107 horsepower and 111 pound-feet of torque, or 1.8-liter, with 122 horsepower and 127 pound-feet of torque. Both the sedan and the hatchback have four doors and front-wheel drive. Its high roof allows for more interior space, providing comfortable seating for adults in either the front or back. The EPA-estimated fuel economy averages around 26 mpg city and 34 mpg highway.
Marketed under another name in Japan beginning in 2004, the Nissan Versa was officially introduced in the U.S. in 2007. The Versa 1.6 sedan debuted in 2009. Notable changes included a smaller engine with fewer transmission options, as well as small modifications to both the interior and exterior. It added both standard and optional safety features and a value options package. For a brief period, the Versa enjoyed the distinction of being the most inexpensive car available in the U.S. and Canada.
The four trim levels of the Nissan Versa include the 1.6 and 1.6 Base sedans, and the 1.8 S and 1.8 SL sedan or hatchback. Transmission options include four-speed automatic, and five- or six-speed manual, as well as a continuously variable transmission (CVT) on the 1.8 SL. The Base sedan has no radio or air conditioning; power windows and locks are also optional. However, several options packages are available with various convenience and safety features. The 1.8 SL also offers popular high-tech additions, such as satellite radio, Bluetooth compatibility, and a navigation system.
The Nissan Versa won the Automotive Best Buy Award from Consumer Digest four years in a row. It has received satisfactory government crash test ratings, even though the 1.6 models lack anti-lock brakes. Despite its simple structure, the Versa has been recognized as innovative for having higher quality construction than its competitors, and for being the most spacious in its class. It makes a good first car or commuter car for drivers who require basic performance and who can add individual bells or whistles as needed.
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