2009 Versa New Car Test Drive
The Nissan Versa is an excellent choice among subcompacts. It's big and roomy inside with decent head room and legroom and lots of hip room, making it a good choice for larger drivers. Its big, cushy seats are comfortable. Back-seat passengers will find rear-seat leg room as good as that in larger cars and SUVs. The cabin is nicely finished and offers all the modern conveniences.
It offers the small-car virtues of nimble handling, easy parking, and lively yet efficient performance. Versa delivers an EPA-estimated 31 mpg on the highway with the automatic, 33 mpg with the manual transmission.
The Versa is slightly bigger than the lower priced Toyota Yaris and the more expensive Honda Fit. All three are subcompacts designed with tall rooflines for increased interior comfort and visibility. The Versa is the smallest car you'll find in Nissan showrooms: smaller and less expensive than the compact Nissan Sentra, but offering greater interior space and more versatility.
The Versa has received the highest possible ratings in government and insurance industry crash tests, though keep in mind that's among small cars (five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; and a 'good' rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety). Versa safety features include dual-stage frontal air bags, front-seat side-impact air bags for chest protection, and roof-mounted curtain air bags for head protection.
Versa went on sale as a five-door hatchback in July 2006, with a four-door sedan following in January 2007. Combined, the sedan and hatch sold more 59,000 units in less than one model year. For 2009, Nissan has simplified the model lineup by reducing the total number of body, trim, and transmission combinations from nine to six. The Sport Package is restricted to the hatchback.
Fuel economy for the Nissan Versa depends on the powertrain. Versa SL with CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) is EPA-estimated at 27/33 mpg City/Highway. Versa S gets 26/31 mpg with six-speed manual, 24/32 with four-speed automatic. The base sedan with 1.6-liter engine gets 26/34 mpg with five-speed manual, 26/33 with automatic.
Bottom line, the Nissan Versa is a big small car with comfort, performance and versatility. It's roomy and offers good fuel economy.
The 2009 Nissan Versa is available as a four-door sedan or five-door hatchback, each in two trim levels. All are powered by the same 122-horsepower 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine driving the front wheels.
Versa S ($12,990) comes standard with cloth upholstery; air conditioning with micro filter; four-speaker, 120-watt AM/FM/CD stereo; tilt steering column; and 185/65R15 tires on 15-inch steel wheels. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, a four-speed automatic transmission is optional ($1000). Versa S comes in sedan and hatchback body styles; the hatchback features a 60/40 split folding rear seat. Options include cruise control ($200), and a Power Package ($700) consisting of power windows, power door locks, remote keyless entry, door armrest pads, rear door map pockets, and a glove compartment light.
Versa SL sedan ($15,990) and hatchback ($16,210) upgrade with premium woven seat fabric, a more adjustable driver's seat, center armrests front and rear, the Power Package, cruise control, a 180-watt stereo with an in-dash 6CD changer and MP3 capability, and 15-inch machined alloy wheels. Sedan and hatchback both come with split folding rear seats. A six-speed manual is standard. The CVT automatic ($1,000) is available for the hatchback, while a four-speed automatic transmission is an option for the sedan ($750).
Options include a Convenience Package ($650) with an Intelligent Key system, Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and steering wheel-mounted audio controls. The Moonroof Package ($600) adds a power glass sunroof and illuminated visor vanity mirrors. A Sport Package ($700) for the hatch adds fog lights, a rear roof spoiler, side sill extensions, and unique front and rear fascias. The Audio Package ($300) consists of a 100-watt Rockford-Fosgate stereo with premium speakers and subwoofer. An iPod interface ($270) and XM Satellite Radio ($150) are available. Accessories include splash guards ($110), floor mats ($155), auto-dimming inside mirror ($125), interior accent lighting ($300), and aluminum kick plates ($130). A rear roof spoiler ($250) and a new cargo organizer ($160) can be added to the hatchback.
Safety features include frontal airbags, side-impact airbags, roof-mounted curtain airbags, front-seat active head restraints, and a tire pressure monitoring system. Anti-lock brakes (ABS) with Brake Assist and Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) are an option ($250) on all models.
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