I seem to be the only car guy with a soft spot for the Versa. My peers at Car and Driver, Consumer Reports and Autoblog (among others) came off less than impressed by the least expensive car in America when we were all invited to its launch. That left me scratching my head. So I borrowed another one and came to the same conclusion: “Versa delivers a totally unobjectionable experience at a very compelling price.” This apparent disconnect bothered me for a while but I wrote it off as a “lack of perspective” suffered by my peers in the biz. Seriously guys, what do you expect out of the cheapest car in America? The new 2014 Versa Note however isn’t the cheapest car in America, nor is it the cheapest hatch in America. How does it stack up? Nissan flew me to San Diego to find out.
Nissan is keeping true to its promise of offering up a new model every 3.5 seconds for the rest of time. What you see above is the newest child to be birthed from Yokohama Prefecture, Japan – the Nissan Versa Note.
It is something that will become increasingly common: Japanese carmakers launch cars at home in Japan, long after they have been introduced to emerging and emerged market elsewhere. This seems to hurt Japanese feelings. Today, Nissan presented the Latio at its headquarters in Yokohama, and the usually polite assemblage of media representatives turned into a growling pack. Read More >
After the Malaise Era of 1973 through 1983, we had the Turbo Era. I’m going to say the Turbo Era lasted from 1984 through about 1992, and it was followed by the Everybody Finally Has Electronic Fuel Injection And It’s About Damn Time Era. The real star of the Turbo Era was, of course, the Mitsubishi Starion, which was so incredibly turbo-centric that it had the word “TURBO” stitched into the seat belts. The Nissan 300ZX Turbo didn’t register much lower on the Turbo Awesomeness-O-Meter, however, and now I feel vaguely ashamed that I’ve ignored so many of these things in so many junkyards over the years. Today we will honor one of the stars of the Turbo Era! Read More >
A few years ago I offered a strong thumbs up to the outgoing Nissan Versa. Plenty of room. A small touch of sportiness when it came with a hatchback. Good feature content. I even gave it kudos for offering a slightly frumpish French design that went far beyond the flying wedges and amorphous blobs of the time.
Times have changed. Small cars are starting to look good again. Thank God!
The 2012 Versa has been reviewed here, there and pretty much everywhere. A lot of auto journalists hate it with a passion that was once reserved for no hit wonders like the Saturn Ion and Suzuki Forenza.
Is it really that bad? American consumers are saying, “Hell no!” with sales up a stunning 30% from April 2011. At least from the sales numbers (8,300+ units last month and climbing) it looks like a car loaded with penurious plentitude is just what Dr. Recession ordered. To help us out I have asked two completely fictional car experts, Jacque Hedonist & Stefan Frugalist, to help us figure this out.
Here’s a statement you won’t see at any other automotive outlet – when I hopped out of a 2012 Mercedes CLS and into a 2012 Nissan Versa SL, I felt like I was at home. This has as much to do with my auto journalist salary as it does my love of bargains. As much as I love $50,000 pickups and supercharged sports sedans, my friends and relations rarely ask which AMG product they should buy. Usually, the decision looks a little like the photograph above. Today’s quandary: the 2012 Nissan Versa vs the 2012 Nissan Sentra. Let the games begin.
Do you have automotive tastes common among people of a certain age? Not a fan of huge wheels or firm seats? Want something economical? Meet the new 2012 Nissan Versa.
The last time we looked at the Nissan Versa, in October of 2010, it was the cheapest car in America at under 10 grand. Unfortunately, the price for such a low sticker was dearer than its four-digit sticker. The lack of modern essentials like air conditioning, anti-lock brakes and automatic transmission were more than just a bummer, as adding them to the Versa made the car less than cheap. For the first redesign of Nissan’s smallest family hauler, the boffins in Japan decided to attack the sedan first for an update, an interesting decision as the sedan only accounts for a supposed 30-35% of all Versa sales on our shores. Surprised? I was, especially since hatchback sales in the US are finally on fire. Nissan graciously invited us to Seattle so we could get down and dirty with the Versa before it arrives on showroom floors in August.
We’ve been wondering whether Nissan would be bringing both a sedan version of its new Versa (sold abroad as the Nissan Sunny) and a hatchback version (sold abroad as the Tiida) to the US market, and now we know: The “Sunny” sedan will be sold here as the Versa sedan starting this summer as a 2012 model, while a hatchback version (possibly different than the Chinese version we’ve seen) is still a good year out.
Pricing will remain on the low end, with abase MSRP of $10,990, though interior volume is down slightly, from 94.7/17.8 (passenger/luggage) to 90/14.8 and its platform is 150 lbs lighter than its predecessor. The new 1.6 engine makes 109 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 107 lb-ft of torque at 4,400 rpm, returning 37/33 MPG with CVT, 27/36 with manual. And here’s the strange part: though Nissan refers to the Versa as a “compact,” a new Sentra is still planned for sometime in the next 18 months. Between a new Micra, the Versa sedan and hatches and a new Sentra to boot (not to mention the compact Leaf EV), Nissan seems to be going all-in on small cars.
Like most auto industry executives, the 2012 Nissan Tiida (Versa) had a choice to make this week: Shanghai or New York? China or Chinatown? Central Park or YuYuan Garden? Reuben or Xiaolongbao? Decisions, decisions. Speaking of which, we’re not even positive at this point that this Chinese-market Tiida (just revealed at the Shanghai show) is the same car as the US-market Versa that’s set to debut in Detroit. Either way, expect the Versa to be offered as a Compact (C-Segment) model, as its smaller brother, the Micra, is set to arrive in the US within the next 12 months or so to take over subcompact duty…
Like much of the automotive media, we were under the impression that Nissan was replacing its Versa/Tiida with the new Nissan Sunny model that recently debuted in China. The first cracks in that theory started to appear when we saw an updated Versa with a 1.6 DIG Turbo badge on its intact rear hatch. Now, thanks to Burlappcars.com, we have our first look at the rest of the new Versa. The new model keeps the Versa’s big-box appeal, while updating the look for a more sleek, modern aesthetic. It’s a restrained, conservative look, but then the current Versa dominates its segment despite its downright dowdy styling. As long as this new model keeps the Versa’s giant interior space (it’s a B-Segment car with EPA midsize-rated interior volume), its updated styling (and the option of the Juke’s delightful little direct-injected turbo engine) should keep the Versa at the top of its segment.
The greatest thing about the Nissan Juke is its absolute peach of an engine, a 1.6 liter, direct-injected, turbocharged little screamer. In fact it’s such a wickedly fun little engine that it’s a shame it exists only in a polarizing vehicle like the Juke. To that end, I noted in my review of Nissan’s funky “sportcross” that
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.
Well, according to this shot from China Car Times, at least part of that fantasy is coming true. In this first shot of an updated “2011/2012″ Tiida (Versa), you can see the phrase “DIG Turbo” gracing its flanks, suggesting that the Juke’s little 188 HP mill (or, at least a detuned version of same) could be headed to the next-gen Versa. Does this mean a high-po “GTI”-style variant is coming to America’s best-selling B-segment car? Let’s hope so. Frankly, the more vehicles that get that feisty little engine, the better. [Awesome "Engine porn" video for Nissan's 1.6 DIG Turbo after the jump]
Despite being introduced to the US back in 2006, sales of Nissan’s Versa are hardly slacking with age. Sales of the Versa have increased every year since its introduction except for last year, when volume dropped by about 2,000 units, and this year the subcompact sedan/hatch has already set a new annual sales record. Even the newer, arguably better-looking Kia Soul hasn’t been able to unseat the Versa from its perch as king of the subcompacts, having sold only about 60k units this year to the Versa’s 89,500. But despite this continued success, Nissan is replacing the slightly geeky-looking Versa with this, the 2012 Nissan Sunny, which has just been unveiled at the Guangzhou Auto Show in Southern China.
Americans like big cars. Even when designing a small car for the American market, it’s important that the small car be as big as possible. Sound like an oxymoron? It should. In a country where big is beautiful, the small practical cars go largely unnoticed, and so it is with the Nissan Versa. If you read TTAC regularly, you might know the Versa outsells everything in its segment, but did you know it just got a mid-cycle refresh? Even in the midst of a downsizing and belt-tightening economy, that news hasn’t made much of a splash. To find out if the cheapest four door car in America is worthy of more attention, we took a week to live with a Versa 1.8.
In this first look at Nissan’s 2011 Versa, we’re seeing a very different car from the high-roofed, gangly subcompact that has been dominating the B-segment sales charts all year. Which begs the question: should Nissan mess with success? With Kia’s Soul sneaking up on the Versa in year-to-date subcompact sales, will a sleeker sedan keep the Versa riding high, or will it lose out to boxier, more practical offerings?