2012 to Present: Nissan Versa
The current Nissan Versa is a four-door, five-passenger subcompact sedan first offered for the 2012 model year. Nissan also offers the Versa Note hatchback, which arrived for the 2014 model year.
While often criticized for offering less-than-inspiring driving dynamics, the fuel-efficient Versa provides some of the segment’s best people- and stuff-moving capabilities for individuals and smaller families on a strict budget.
Designed to favor efficiency and utility over raw performance, the Nissan Versa is powered by a 109-horsepower, 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine. Mated with a standard five-speed manual transmission, the front-wheel-drive Versa achieves the best fuel economy in higher trim levels when coupled with the optional continuously variable transmission (CVT).
Higher trim levels are equipped with premium features such as remote keyless entry, a touch-screen audio system, USB connectivity, a rearview camera and navigation. The Versa Note SR grabs some styling cues from the iconic Nissan Z, including a set of unique 16-inch alloy wheels, a sport steering wheel, front and rear fascias, side sills and a spoiler.
The Nissan Versa sedan offers a low base price, but higher trim levels fall more in line with the competition in terms of pricing and features. Some of the Versa’s main competitors include the Toyota Yaris, Honda Fit, Ford Fiesta, Chevrolet Sonic, Kia Rio and Hyundai Accent.
Earlier Nissan Versa Models
The Nissan Versa sedan and hatchback first appeared for the 2007 model year. Early models were powered by a 122-horsepower, 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine and a standard six-speed manual transmission. A CVT and a four-speed automatic transmission were available as options, depending on the trim level.
In 2009, Nissan added two less-expensive base models, the 1.6 Base and 1.6, which are both powered by a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine with horsepower. A five-speed manual transmission and a four-speed automatic are available with the smaller engine.
Fully loaded first-generation models qualify as “nicely equipped” with features such as proximity key, push-button start and Bluetooth connectivity. However, 1.6 models are examples of bare-bones transportation, with amenities such as air conditioning, antilock brakes and a radio available only as optional equipment.