As I just noted in my comments on the 2012 Nissan Tiida pictures, the US-market Versa is moving up a class in order to make room for the Nissan Micra, which takes over as Nissan’s subcompact responsibilities by early 2012 at the latest. To celebrate the nameplate’s new importance as a global model, Nissan created this Compact Sport Concept aimed not at the US, but “young customers in emerging countries.” The highlights: it’s a tarted up Micra, rocking the Juke’s lovable 1.6 liter direct-injected, turbocharged engine, making 188 HP, albeit with a CVT transmission. Which is (almost) exactly what I was thinking of when I argued that the marketing-hijacked Juke could have been a “Versa GTI.”
Without the marketers, it’s tempting to believe that Nissan’s engineers would have widened the Versa platform, added the fantastic turbocharged engine, and then decided to simply put a steroidal Versa body on top, creating the king of all B-segment hot hatches.
In the even smaller Micra body, that zesty turbocharged mill must be downright epic. Too bad the Micra will almost certainly never get the engine it has here, having been shown with a super-efficient 1.2 liter three-banger, and touted as a “super green” model for the US. On the other hand, there is reason to believe the new Versa could get this engine. We might just have to make do with that… unless Hyundai’s Veloster starts selling well.