In all the hooplah surrounding Carlos Ghosn introducing the Nissan URGE demi-roadster and long-in-the-tooth Sentra replacement, the new-for-2007 Versa was all but lost in the Detroit shuffle. We're as guilty as the next guy, so here's a few shots and full specs of the company's first shot at leveraging Renault's styling language across the Pond here in the U.S. (shame it couldn't 'leverage' it a little more succesfully, as on the Megane or Clio- Ed.)

The entry-level five door, riding on the 'Flex-B' underpinnings co-developed with the aforementioned French automaker is already on sale in other global markets-- including Japan, where it is pitched as the Tiida. This is the first showing for the Versa in production-spec Stateside, with the five-door seen here scheduled to lay ply in dealer lots beginning early this summer. A sedan variant will come on-stream in 'late 2006.'

[a full compliment of photos, impressions, and complete specs after the jump]

Unusually for a U.S.-market subcompact, the Versa will feature a range of three transmissions, including a 6-speed manual, a four-speed automatic, and the company's Xtronic CVT, which is said to improve fuel economy to the tune of 10%. The 1.8L DOHC four-pot is estimated to put out 120-horses and "125-plus lb-ft torque."

As there's precious little money to be made in bargain-basement offerings, Nissan is hoping to raise average transaction prices by placing the Versa as a premium subcompact in the consumer's mind. To do that, the manufacturer is offering such (formerly) high-end options as Bluetooth hands-free phoning, smart key, and a variant of the stonking Rockford Fosgate stereo that has spread like kudzu throughout its lineup.

As with other new entries in this class, the high seating position not only engenders excellent sightlines, it also offers surprisingly credible space for driver and passengers alike. Instrumentation is straight-forward and logical, though we'd prefer that the stereo and HVAC controls trade places with the storage bin in the center stack. a high-mounted gear selector is the the interior's only real USP. Panel fitments and quality seem well-resolved for the money.

Expected to sticker for around $12,000 for starters, the Nissan Versa is set to cross swords in the resurgent subcompact class, going up against the Chevy's reinvigorated Aveo, as well as Honda's Fit and the Toyota Yaris.

 

(Below information courtesy Nissan)

 

2007 Nissan Versa
Key Dimensions and Specifications
 
  Engine 1.8-liter DOHC inline 4-cylinder
120 horsepower (estimated) @ 6,000 rpm
125-plus lb-ft torque (estimated) @ 4,800 rpm
  Transmission Available Nissan Xtronic CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission)
Available 4-speed electronically controlled automatic with overdrive
Standard 6-speed manual
  Platform Nissan “B” platform
  Drive Configuration Front engine/front-wheel drive
  Suspension Independent front strut with coil springs, stabilizer bar
Torsion beam rear suspension with stabilizer bar
  Steering Electric power steering
  Brakes Power-assisted front vented disc/rear drum with available Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist (BA)
  Wheels/Tires 15-inch wheels and tires, available 6-spoke aluminum-alloy wheels
  Wheelbase 102.4 inches
  Length 169.1 inches Hatchback; 175.9 inches Sedan
  Width 66.7 inches
  Height 60.4 inches
  Coefficient of Drag 0.31
  Select Exterior Features The 2007 Nissan Versa optimizes packaging efficiency through use of a long wheelbase, short overhangs and aerodynamic design. Its sporty, personal styling is highlighted by body-color front and rear bumpers, large headlights, Nissan signature grille and body-color dual remote–controlled outside mirrors.
  Seating Capacity 5 passengers
  Front Head Room 40.6 inches (without sunroof)
  Front Leg Room 41.4 inches
  Rear Head Room 38.3 inches Hatchback, 37.9 inches Sedan
  Rear Leg Room 38.0 inches (15.6 inches rear knee room)
  Interior Cabin Length 72.3 inches
  Interior Volume 94.4 cubic feet Hatchback (without sunroof)
93.9 cubic feet Sedan (without sunroof)
  Cargo Volume 16.9 cubic feet Hatchback (with rear seats up)
13.8 cubic feet Sedan
  Select Interior Features The 2007 Nissan Versa offers an outstanding combination of roominess, amenities and utility. The spacious cabin is complemented by a high quality interior design with soft-touch materials and comfortable seating. Available equipment includes Intelligent Key, Bluetooth® Hands-Free Phone System, satellite radio and Rockford Fosgate-powered subwoofer.
  Safety Zone Body construction with front and rear crumple zones Advanced Air Bag System (AABS) (includes dual-stage front supplemental air bags and front seat side-impact supplemental air bags for chest protection), standard Tire Pressure Monitor System (TPMS), available roof-mounted curtain side-impact air bags for front and rear outboard occupant head protection, LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren) system, child safety rear door locks, child seat upper tether anchor, front seat Active Head Restraints.
  Fuel Economy (combined) Estimated 38 mpg (with CVT transmission)
9/05

 


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