This is the 2012 Nissan Versa Sedan. In its lowest trim level, this is the cheapest least expensive car sold in the United States, priced just shy of eleven grand. I drove the mid-level $14,560 SV model which adds useful features such as power windows and door locks. There is also the baller SL version too for a few bucks more. All models are powered propelled
by a 1.8L direct-injected four-banger with Continuously Variable Valve Timing Control System® (CVTCS) on the intake side. This engine makes 122hp and 127torques. At this time I would like to point out that the B13 Sentra SE-R had a 2.0L 140hp/132trq engine, and that was twenty years ago.
EDIT – I screwed up. The engine in the Versa SEDAN is a dual-injected (why?), variable cam timing on both cams, 1.6L. with 109hp and 107 torques. My bad, thanks to Tyler Lipa of autobirdblog.com for pointing that out.
Mandatory Ethics Statement (MES) – Nissan delivered a trailer full of Nissans, which included two Versas, two Zs, two GT-Rs and Maxima to Brookline, MA. They invited a whole lot of journalists, and me (!), and offered dinner. I missed dinner because I was busy playing with the GT-R’s computer, but I had some cookies and a bottle of water. Nissan was also nice enough to skip a boring PowerPoint presentation and just told everyone to go drive their cars. The cookies and the water did not influence this review of the Versa, but the GT-Rs may have.
While no one will mistake it for an Audi, the interior is certainly not cheap. Seats are basic but not uncomfortable and the lack of any side bolsters hints at this vehicle’s performance characteristics. The real surprise is the amount of room each passenger has, especially those in the rear seat. With the driver’s seat set for my 6’2” height, I could comfortably seat “behind myself” with plenty of legroom. The Nissan rep was quick to point out that the Versa had more rear-seat legroom than the BMW 5-series.
Functionally, there are the typical door pockets and a glovebox. Noticeably missing is a center armrest/storage-bin and the cup-holders are down low and in front of the shifter. The trunk is what one would expect it to be the vehicle this size, for a lack of a better measuring tool, spacious and easily accessible, with a space-saver spare tire. It should be noted that the rear seats folds down only on the pimpy SL version, so those on the budget and in need of room may want to consider the previous generation hatchback or wait until the new Versa hatchy comes around.
Driving dynamics are what one would expect of modern day economy car. There is nothing bad about the way this car drives, just as there is nothing exciting about it either. All models are rated for 30mpg city and, ohmygawd-why-not-40-40issomuchmore, 38mpg highway. SRS, VDC, TCS, ABS, ALR, EBD, ELR, and TPMS are all standard, so you know it’s gotta be safe.
Given a $10,000 budget, every single reader of Hooniverse would buy a used car or two. A few nuts might even buy a dozen cars for that amount. So, why are we even writing about this car? Because it’s good to know that even the cheapest car on the American market is well made vehicle and it deserves to be kept in mind when someone asks you about an inexpensive new car. It could also make for a fun race series.