2012 Versa New Car Test Drive
The 2012 Nissan Versa lineup features a completely re-engineered version of the Versa sedan. The 2012 Versa is available in sedan and hatchback variants, but while the Versa sedan is all-new, the 2012 Versa hatchback carries over on the previous-generation platform. A new hatchback will be introduced as a 2013 model.
Both Versa body styles offer spacious interiors with decent head- and legroom, making them a good choice for larger drivers. Back-seat passengers will find rear-seat leg room as good as that in larger cars and SUVs, making Versa a usable four-passenger car. The cabin is comfortable and offers a good number of conveniences. In short, the Nissan Versa is a roomy, practical small car.
The 2012 Versa sedan is all-new and therefore a better choice than the hatchback. The new sedan gets better fuel economy than 2012 Versa hatchback.
The 2012 Versa four-door sedan rides on a new platform, dubbed V for versatile, which makes the 2012 Versa sedan 150 pounds lighter than the first-generation sedan (2008-2011 models). This second-generation Versa sedan uses a slightly smaller engine than before, a 1.6-liter four-cylinder good for a modest but effective 109 horsepower and 107 pound-feet of torque. A 5-speed manual transmission is standard on the 2012 Versa sedan, while a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) is included on higher trim levels. The 2012 Versa sedan also gets revised steering and suspension, which makes for more responsive handling.
Fuel economy is the name of the game for the new 2012 Versa sedan. Thanks to weight savings and new engine technology including dual fuel injection, the all-new 2012 Versa sedan achieves an EPA-estimated 27/36 mpg City/Highway and 30 mpg Combined with the manual, or an admirable 30/38/33 miles per gallon with the CVT.
The 2012 Versa hatchback, unlike the sedan, carries over unchanged from 2011. The hatchback is essentially the same body style as the first-generation version that launched as a 2008 model. It rides on the previous-generation platform. The hatchback uses a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 122 hp and 127 lb-ft of torque. On the base Versa S hatch, a 6-speed manual transmission comes standard, with an optional 4-speed automatic. The hatchback's extra power and weight dings fuel economy, with an EPA rating of 26/31/28 mpg City/Highway/Combined with the manual and 24/32/27 mpg with the automatic. The upper-level Versa SL hatchback comes standard with a CVT, which brings fuel economy up to 28/34/30.
The 2012 Versa sedan beats the fuel economy of the 2012 hatchback by a wide margin, making the new sedan more economical in the long run than the hatch. An all-new 2013 Versa hatchback will introduced in late 2012 or early 2013 as a 2013 model, so look for that.
The Versa subcompact competes with the Honda Fit, Toyota Yaris, Ford Fiesta, Chevrolet Sonic, and Hyundai Accent. Those looking primarily for space might like the Versa's larger dimensions, which are larger than those of the Fit or Yaris. Versa also offers a low price of entry. All in all, the Nissan Versa is good basic transportation with good fuel economy at an affordable price.
The 2012 Nissan Versa is available as a four-door sedan or five-door hatchback.
The 2012 Versa sedan comes in three trim levels: S, SV and SL. Versa S comes standard with a 5-speed manual transmission ($10,990) or an optional CVT ($13,120). Features include air conditioning, manually adjustable driver's seat, a trip computer and a two-speaker sound system with a CD player and auxiliary audio jack. Versa S models ride on 15-inch steel wheels. A Cruise Control package ($350) is available on models with the CVT and includes cruise control, two additional audio speakers and trunk lighting.
Versa SV sedan ($14,980) comes standard with the CVT and the Cruise Control package plus keyless entry, full power accessories, upgraded cloth upholstery and upgraded gauges. The SV Convenience package ($350) adds Bluetooth handsfree phone connectivity and an iPod/USB port.
Versa SL sedan ($15,990) gets everything that comes with the SV Convenience package plus a 60/40-split-folding rear seat, fog lights and 15-inch alloy wheels. The SL Tech package ($700) adds navigation with touchscreen interface and satellite radio capability.
The Versa hatchback is available in two trim levels. Versa S comes standard with a 6-speed manual ($14,670) or an optional 4-speed automatic ($15,870). Features include air conditioning, full power accessories, a 60/40-split-folding rear seat, a four-speaker audio system with a CD player and auxiliary audio jack, plus 15-inch steel wheels. The Plus package ($500) adds keyless entry and cruise control. A Special Edition package ($700) is also available on hatchbacks equipped with the automatic transmission and includes the features found on the Plus package plus a leather-wrapped steering wheel, an upgraded audio system, steering-wheel mounted controls, Bluetooth handsfree phone capability and unique 15-inch alloy wheels, the latter of which are also available a la carte ($470). Versa SL hatchback ($18,590) comes standard with a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) and includes all the S model's optional equipment plus keyless ignition/entry, better cloth upholstery, front and rear center armrests, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a six-speaker audio system. Navigation with a touchscreen interface ($700) is also available.
Safety features on all Versa models include front airbags, supplemental front seat-mounted front side airbags, roof-mounted side curtain airbags, antilock brakes (ABS), traction control, stability control, Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD) and brake assist.