2018 Versa New Car Test Drive
The Nissan Versa offers affordable, basic transportation in sedan and Versa Note five-door hatchback body styles. Surprisingly spacious in the back seat, especially in Versa Note hatchback form, the subcompact Versa received a modest freshening for 2015.
Little has changed for the 2018 model year, including the Versa's price structure. Versa sedans gain standard adjustable front headrests, map lights, and variable wipers. A Special Edition package, added during 2017, is the sole option.
Sedans come in S, S Plus, and SV trim levels.
Versa Note hatchbacks are offered in S, SV, and SR guise. In SR trim, the Versa Note hatchback now includes pushbutton start, an immobilizer, and Easy Fill Tire Alert.
Each version contains a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 109 horsepower. We found that performance is not swift.
Versa S sedans come with 5-speed manual gearbox or continuously variable transmission (CVT). One of the lowest-priced cars on the market, the Versa S sedan also ranks among the most modestly equipped.
S Plus trim replaces the manual gearbox with Nissan's CVT, which improves gas mileage considerably. The SV sedan adds such features as power windows/locks and a split-folding rear seat. An SV Special Edition package adds popular items, such as a 5.0-inch touchscreen, rearview camera, and alloy wheels.
All Versa Note hatchbacks get the CVT. Versa SR, the sportier top model, adds enhanced body details, a spoiler, and suede-like seat upholstery.
Neither federal regulators nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has put a Versa sedan or Note hatchback through a complete testing procedure. The IIHS gave the 2018 sedan Good scores in most tests, except for the small-overlap crash. That one earned a Poor rating for the driver, and no score for the front passenger. The Versa Note was tested only for moderate overlap, earning a Good rating.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2017 sedan a four-star score for frontal crash protection, but the 2018 hatchback suffered a rare (and worrisome) three-star score in the frontal crash. No ratings were given overall or for side-impact.
Advanced safety equipment is not available. A rearview camera is available on upper trim levels.
The Nissan Versa S sedan ($12,110) comes with a manual transmission, manual windows and door locks, four-speaker CD audio, Bluetooth hands-free phone, and 15-inch steel wheels. (Prices are MSRP and do not include $885 destination charge.) Versa S Plus sedan ($14,250) substitutes a CVT for the manual gearbox, adding cruise control and a rear spoiler.
Versa SV sedan ($15,840) adds upgraded fabric upholstery, a split-folding rear seat, power windows and locks, remote keyless entry, and a lighted USB port. A Special Edition package ($500) for the SV sedan includes a 5.0-inch touchscreen, rearview camera, foglamps, leather-wrapped steering wheel, chrome front-end accents, and 15-inch alloy wheels.
Versa Note S hatchback ($15,480) is equipped similar to S Plus sedan, with CVT. Versa Note SV hatchback ($16,380) is comparable to SV sedan, but also includes rearview camera and 5.0-inch display, plus Divide-N-Hide adjustable floor.
Versa Note SR hatchback ($17,980) gets sporty exterior and interior enhancements, including foglamps, a rear spoiler, suede-like seats, 16-inch alloy wheels, body-color side sills, and mirror-integrated turn-signal indicator.