The 2012 Nissan Versa is the least expensive car in North America, with a starting price of just $10,990 MSRP and a budget-saving fuel economy of 33 mpg combined city/highway. Now that I have your attention —
The 2012 Nissan Versa is no upholstered roller skate, no stripped-down entry-level tin can that you’d be embarrassed to drive. Even for that astoundingly low price, you get air conditioning, six-way adjustable driver’s seat, an audio system with a CD slot and an auxiliary slot for your iPod or MP3 device, and more. Part of the more is a 1.6 liter 4-cylinder 109hp engine with a dual injector system and twin Continuously Variable Timing Control (CVTC) not usually found on cars at this price. Ditto the auto-dimming sideview mirrors.
The sedan has a starting price of $10,990, with a five-speed manual, and even the top model with a larger engine and automatic transmission is just $15,560. Fuel economy varies from an estimated at 30 mpg City, 38 mpg Highway and 33 mpg Combined with the CVT transmission, and 27/36/30 with the five-speed manual. With gas at around $4 a gallon, you’ll save money in the long run by paying more for the automatic.
The hatchback model is more expensive, with a larger engine than the sedan. The 2012 Nissan Versa Hatchback is equipped with a 122-horsepower 1.8-liter DOHC 4-cylinder engine, in a choice of six-speed manual or four-speed automatic, including one with an advanced CVT transmission. That’s in the top model.
Hatchback prices range from $14,380 to $18,390 for the fully-loaded model. The front-wheel drive hatchback also offers excellent fuel efficiency without sacrificing performance or roominess. It is rated at 28 mpg City/34 mpg Highway and 30 mpg Combined for CVT model, while the six-speed manual offers 26/31/28 mpg, and the four-speed automatic is rated at 24/32/27 mpg.
Much of the price economy comes from Nissan’s efficient global “V” platform, designated “V” for Versatile, which uses nearly 20 percent fewer platform components and weighs around 150 pounds less than the previous platform. Also, Nissan’s second-generation 1.6-liter HR16DE four-cylinder engine includes super-efficient injectors mounted near the inlet valve for each cylinder. Nissan says this dual injector system allows a wider injection of fuel, with the smaller nozzles delivering a finer spray for more complete and efficient combustion.
Full test drive reviews of 2012 Nissan Versa by top automotive magazines I trust —
- Car and Driver test drive review of 2012 Nissan Versa
- AutoWeek test drive review of 2012 Nissan Versa
Both models are roomier than they look, and fun to drive. The verdict — 2012 Nissan Versa is a best buy!
The 2012 Nissan Versa is arriving now in dealer showrooms.