Nissan has done away with the 1.8-liter engine, and all Versas now come with a 109-horsepower, 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine—the size that used to be offered only on special stripped-down Base models. The engine, too, is lighter than its predecessor and gets continuously variable valve timing plus piston oiling jets and a new dual injector system. A five-speed manual can be had on the base 1.6 S, but the rest of the model line gets a next-generation version of Nissan's Xtronic continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT).
Significant mpg gains
The new Versa sedan is built on a new 'global V' platform and weighs about 150 pounds less than the current 'B' platform. With the weight savings, low-rolling-resistance tires, and other enhancements, Nissan has made tremendous gains in fuel efficiency for the new Versa: an estimated 30 mpg city, 37 highway with the CVT or 27/36 with the manual transmission.
The suspension remains largely the same, with a strut setup in front and torsion-beam rear—though with stabilizer bars in front and in back. All models get electric power steering and anti-lock front disc/rear drum brakes with brake assist. In addition, the Versa gets standard electronic stability control, seat-mounted side-impact airbags, and roof-mounted side-curtain bags.
Initially, the 2012 Nissan Versa will be offered in three models: Sedan 1.6 S, Sedan 1.6 SV, and Sedan 1.6SL.
Touch-screen nav comes to the Versa
Cruise control, chrome accents, power windows and mirrors, and upgraded instrumentation are included in the mid-grade SL, while the top-of-the-range SL comes with a lot of other extras like fog lamps, 15-inch alloy wheels, steering-wheel audio controls, and an upgraded sound system with USB and iPod connectivity. Bluetooth hands-free, satellite radio, and a navigation system with five-inch touch-screen display will all be available.
The 2012 Nissan Versa will start at $10,990 and will be available later this year.
Watch below, as our John Voelcker gives a walkaround of the Versa at the New York auto show.