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2012 Nissan Versa Sedan Review by Marty Bernstein +VIDEO

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2012 Nissan versa

New Nissan Versa Sedan Vaunted and Value Priced

By Marty Bernstein
Senior Editor at Large

Nissan has launched the all new 2012 model of its best selling Versa family sedan that represents more than just a good value. This is a real car, a true family sedan not one of those little boxes on wheels that pass for a car, much less a sedan that can hold four adults.

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2012 Nissan Versa

This is an all new and improved Versa that will, I predict, again set the standards in a category where competition is very strong. It has a good looking design, the biggest-roomiest interior, a larger trunk area, a redefined and smooth automatic (CVT) transmission coupled with a new 1.6 liter engine for better efficiency along with vastly improved gas mileage and the price?

The new Versa sedan starts at just $10,990! And that’s more than just a low price, that’s an exceptional value.

Watch the Nissan Versa promo video

During the recent road test ride and drive in Seattle, Washington, my drive partner and I were able to do a lot of interesting driving on one of the nicest, sunny days of the summer. From downtown I drove through the older residential areas with narrow roads, lots of traffic, nice views, frequent stops and the summer time favorite, orange barrels. The Versa was response, easy to drive and very comfortable with minimal body sway on the twisty hillside roads.

Hitting the freeways to gander at the Microsoft campus that Bill Gates built, the Versa was not the most powerful or fastest car on the road, but kept pace with the traffic, was quiet even on some not-so-nice road surfaces, steering and handling was responsive when passing another car or changing lanes. One abrupt stop on an access road was good and certainly effortless and smooth so the brakes are good too.

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2012 Nissan Versa

I’m an about 5’10” and was very comfortable in the driver’s seat, which has a nice feature of being height adjustable as well as the usual movement. Lots of good visibility front, back and to the sides. My colleague who is about 6’4” said, when he was behind the wheel, “I’ve got more than enuf room and am comfortable.” He opted not to try the rear seat, but I did and found it adequate and acceptable which is more than I’ve said about cars costing four to eight times what the Versa costs. The usual knobs, dials and buttons along with the standard instruments were clear and easy-to-read and reach. Ergonomically efficient and effective.

Watch the "More head-room & leg-room" promo video

At 30 mpg city and 38 mpg highway for a combined 33 mpg rating the Versa is not the best, but is near the top in fuel economy ratings among its competitors. Three versions of the Versa are available the S, SV and SL. The S is plain-Jane-manual shift and with hand crank windows but does include mainstream driving features like a/c, trip computer and 15-inch wheels. Moving up to the SV – probably the most popular model -- adds more features and amenities and price is $14,560. There’s a top of the line SL version which is still a fine value at grand more. Lots of optional accessories can be added.

Thinking family sedan with lots of rooms and creature feature comforts combined with a techno enhanced vehicle? Say hello to a good buy at Nissan dealer near you.

Watch the introduction of the 2012 Nissan Versa at the New York Auto Show

Overview Specifications:


• Sleek, aerodynamic body with long wheelbase (102.4 inches), short front and rear overhangs

• Upscale design with strong sense of volume, shoulder and dimension

• O.31 coefficient of drag

• Body color front and rear fascias

• Next-generation Nissan sedan signature grille with available chrome accents

• Large multi-reflector halogen headlights, available fog lights

• Available body color dual remote-controlled outside mirrors, blacked-out B-pillar, chromed door handles

• Fixed roof antenna (short rod type)

• Eight exterior colors: Metallic Blue, Blue Onyx, Titanium, Super Black, Brilliant Silver, Magnetic Gray, Red Brick and Fresh Powder

• PUREDRIVE™ designation and badge

Engine and Driveline

• Front engine/front-wheel drive

• All-new Nissan global “V” platform – 150 pounds lighter than previous “B” platform

• 109-horsepower 16-valve 1.6-liter DOHC inline 4-cylinder engine, producing 107 lb-ft of torque

• Advanced engine design with emphasis on enhanced fuel economy and emissions; includes dual injector system that burns cleaner and uses less fuel than a conventional injector design; plus Twin CVTC (Continuously Variable Timing Control) on both intake and exhaust cycles – similar to the design used on Maxima

• Standard 5-speed manual transmission (Sedan 1.6 S model only)

• Available next-generation compact Nissan Xtronic CVT™ (Continuously Variable Transmission) with sub-planetary gear (available with all models), plus reduced friction (-30%), weight (-13%) and size (-10%) than previous CVT design

• New CVT utilizes highest transmission ratio (even broader than a 7-speed automatic)

• Estimated 30 mpg City, 38 mpg Highway, 33 mpg Combined (CVT)

Suspension, Steering and Braking

• Independent strut front suspension with stabilizer bar

• Torsion beam rear axle with integrated stabilizer bar

• Electric power steering • Standard 15-inch steel wheels with full wheel covers, P185/65R15 all-season tires

• Available 15-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, P185/65R15 all-season tires (1.6 SL model)

• Standard power-assisted front disc/rear drum brakes with standard Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist (BA)

Interior Features

• Roomy, high quality interior with high-quality look and feel

• Large interior volume – 90.0 cubic feet

• 14.8 cubic feet trunk volume

• 5-passenger seating with comfortable rear seat with ample rear legroom and knee room

• Adjustable front bucket seats with available driver’s seat lifter

• Fixed rear seatback with outboard adjustable head restraints; standard 60/40-split fold-down rear seat on 1.6 SL model

• Cloth seat trim; available upgraded cloth (1.6 SV, 1.6 SL)

• Front door map pockets with bottle holder

• Dual front and rear cupholders

• 12-volt power outlet

• Available key-linked illuminated entry system (1.6 SL)

• Fine Vision instrumentation (1.6 SV, 1.6 SL)

• Available front and rear power windows with driver’s one-touch down (1.6 SV, 1.6 SL)

• Available speed-sensing auto door locks, cruise control, map light; remote trunk release (1.6 SV, 1.6 SL)

• Standard AM/FM/CD audio system with 2 speakers (1.6 S)

• Available AM/FM/CD audio system with 4 speakers (1.6 SV, 1.6 SL)

• Available steering wheel-mounted audio controls (1.6 SV, 1.6 SL)

• Available Nissan Navigation System with XM NavTraffic® (XM® subscription required, sold separately) and 5-inch color touch-screen display (1.6 SL)

• Available Bluetooth® Hands-free Phone System (1.6 SV, 1.6 SL)

• XM® Satellite Radio (XM® subscription required, sold separately) (1.6 SL)

• Available integrated interface system for USB/iPod® (1.6 SV, 1.6 SL)

• Two available interior colors: Sandstone and Charcoal (1.6 S - Charcoal only)

Safety and Security

• Zone Body construction with front and rear crumple zones

• Nissan Advanced Air Bag System (AABS) (includes dual-stage front supplemental air bags and front seat side-impact supplemental air bags for chest protection)

• Standard seat-mounted driver and front passenger side-impact supplemental air bags

• Standard roof-mounted curtain side-impact supplemental air bags

• LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren) system

• Child safety rear door locks

• Standard Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC), Traction Control System (TCS)

• Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)