Unlike Nissan's competition in the minicar market the Versa started life as a luxury subcompact car in other parts of the world. When the minicar market started to boom in North America Nissan already had the Versa (known as the Tiida in other markets) and brought the 2007 version over. Despite the economy nature of the minicar market Nissan opted to retain the luxury roots when they brought the Versa over.
The Versa comes in four configurations, a hatchback and sedan version, and then the lower end 1.8S model, and higher end 1.8SL for both styles. There is no difference between the hatchback and sedan including the price, the only difference is the amount of interior room that is available. On that note, the interior space of the Versa is the most out of all the minicars on the market, as the Versa has the same amount of interior room as a mid-size car, even though Nissan markets it as a minicar. Leg room is the area where the Versa comes top in class, as there is 38 inches of rear leg room which is the most in the class, and even compares to many SUVs, in fact the Armada is the only car in Nissan's entire lineup that has more rear legroom.
Storage capacity on the hatchback is 17.8 cubic feet with the seats up, which is less than the Honda Fit and 50 cubic feat with the seats folded, which is more than the Fit.
The engine is 1.8L DOHC, with 4 cylinders producing 122HP at 5200RPM. 6 speed manual transmission is standard for both the S, and SL models. A 4 speed automatic transmission is available for the 1.8S, with the higher end 1.8SL automatic receiving the new Continuously Variable Transmission system (CVT) system. CVT works by using a system of levers and pulleys that eliminate the need for distinct gears, and instead the gear ratio is in constant change to reflect the optimum power output that is necessary for the particular driving scenario. CVT systems are available on other cars, and they have the added benefit of substantially increasing fuel efficiency while taking a hit on performance compared to the more traditional transmission systems.
Features wise the Versa comes standard with air conditioning; CD stereo system with four speakers; front, side and curtain airbags; high quality soft plastic interior lining; rear defroster system; and a tire pressure monitoring system.
- automatic transmission moves from traditional 4-speed to CVT
- included security system
- stereo upgrade to six speaker system with mp3 input jack
- cruise control
- and other optional packages that are only available on the 1.8SL model
Front crash test - Good
Side impact test - Good
National Highway Safety Traffic Association (NHTSA)
Front crash driver's side - 4 stars
Front crash passenger's side - 4 stars
Side crash front seat - 5 stars
Side crash rear seat - 5 stars