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2012 Nissan Versa Preview

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The Versa sedan and hatchback models have been good choices for shoppers who want to spend used-car money and get a new car that also happens to have among the lowest ownership costs. And given that, it provides even more comfort and space than you might think; the Versa has been slightly bigger and roomier than other subcompact offerings like the Toyota Yaris, Honda Fit, and Ford Fiesta—as well as the Chevrolet Aveo and upcoming Chevy Sonic.

Now for a second-generation, 2012 Versa due later this year, Nissan has kept the "big small car" philosophy but given the Versa improved fuel efficiency, more features, and a better-looking sedan variant. Again, it should appeal to the most frugal shoppers—albeit with fewer compromises this time.

Nissan is calling the 2012 Versa "a clean sheet ground-up design" that involves fewer compromises than other small-car models—as well as the outgoing model.

Not so bold, but less homely

Based on the Versa sedan first shown at the 2012 New York auto show, we can't say the new 2012 version will be revolutionary, but it's slightly less homely; the combination of more flowing sheetmetal and a roofline that arches back takes away much of the old slab-sided look. Also, the adoption of Nissan's 'big car' front end, from the Altima and Maxima, as well as a little more rear overhang, together help with the proportions. Hatchbacks will follow through with a roofline that's quite similar to that of the outgoing model. Inside, it also looks like the Versa won't be at the head of the class with respect to design or appointments, but the simple, uncluttered look should provided no-nonsense commuters with what they need.

The new Versa's dimensions have changed only slightly. It has the same wheelbase and width as the current Versa but is 1.2 inches lower and slightly shorter overall. Trunk space, at 14.8 cubic feet, is slightly more than that of the previous Versa thanks to the slightly longer rear overhang. And while the 90.0 cubic feet of interior volume is slightly less than the previous version, Nissan says that it offers improved rear-seat legroom.

[continued on next page, including video walkaround]


 
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Comments (9)
  1. That is one dramatically hideous car.
     
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  2. Deal breakers: the center armrest was removed. No stick shift in the upper level trims?!?
     
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  3. The Versa is already to roomiest in class, most HP, and unless you have not driven one - for sure nicest in class too. But this design is awesome! What a great step UP for Nissan! Will give Corolla a run for the money. The CVT provides 33 MPG AVERAGE city/hwy - and a stick doesn't beat the CVT for efficiency at all. Nissan sells 100+ automatic Versa's for every manual sold or even wanted on the current car. However you can get the 2012 Versa with a manual on the Base model. Center Arm rest you can get after market.
     
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  4. The 2012 Hyundai Accent / Kia Rio blows this away, with 10% better highway mileage and nearly 30-hp more. While the Versa has at least an attractive exterior, the interior is bland and uninspiring. In future, the B and C-segments will be much more important to overall vehicle sales; if Nissan wants to see positive numbers, they've got to do way better than this.
     
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  5. The 2012 Hyundai Accent / Kia Rio blows this away, with 10% better highway mileage and nearly 30-hp more. While the Versa has at least an attractive exterior, the interior is bland and uninspiring. In future, the B and C-segments will be much more important to overall vehicle sales; if Nissan wants to see positive numbers, they've got to do way better than this.
     
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  6. @ Rich
    Wow, what vague and unhelpful criticism. How exactly is it hideous?
    @ jimpimms
    Fair enough, the new Accent and Rio do seem to have slightly better numbers than the Versa for the most part. However, while you're correct in saying that B and C segments cars will grow in importance (and price) over the next few years, there will always be a need for inexpensive, basic transportation. As for your suggestion that Nissan needs to up its small car game, the hatchback variant of the Versa is on its way, and has an exterior/interior that is on par, if not above that of the Rio, Accent, Fiesta, and Sonic. Add to that that possibility of the Juke's engine, and it's clear that Nissan can easily "do way better than this".
     
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  7. Japtrash contrived by cynics for zombies. Absolutely bloody awful.
     
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  8. The new sedan is much better looking outside, but loses the smooth, sophisticated interior look of the current model. That center stack is hideous, IMO. Hope the hatchback rear end doesn't look like the Juke - it's definitely a Renault look, and also hideous.
     
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  9. That interior looks to be chock full of cheap plastics... unfortunate at a time when buyers are focusing on interior quality. Honda seems to have been gripped by this problem of late, as well. Designing a car for today using an interior from a '95 Cavalier is not a smart move.
     
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