Shopping for a new Nissan Versa?
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On the FamilyCarGuide scale, the 2011 Versa is a 7 out of 10. With a roomier interior, better ride, and (in hatchback form) more versatility than most other models in its class, the Versa manages to meet all the basic transportation needs of a small family—or pinch-hit as a second commuter car—all at a used-car price. However
Style-conscious urban families will most likely find the Versa hatchback to be the better-looking of the two body styles; it's also the more practical, with a split back seat arrangement that folds fully flat when needed. In either model, there's the seating space of a compact (or almost mid-size) vehicle, including back seats that feel generous for such a small car. Upholsteries and trims are far better than some other entry-level cars costing more, and the switchgear feels just as good as what's used in Nissan's more expensive models.
In keeping with the Versa's basic-transportation theme, performance isn't the priority. With either of its engines (1.6- or 1.8-liter), the Versa accelerates well enough but not quickly; and a rather softly tuned suspension means that the Versa isn't one that you'll be whipping around corners. The latter does bring it a soft, quiet ride, though.
Unfortunately, gas mileage doesn't seem to be the priority either. The Versa gets a disappointing 28 mpg city, 34 highway at best, while models with the six-speed manual gearbox get just 26/31.Including destination, a base 2011 Nissan Versa starts at under $11k, but it can run all the way up toward the $20k mark. Those base cars do indeed sacrifice features—there's no air conditioning, no tachometer, no sound system, even—but top SL models can be equipped with Bluetooth, Rockford Fosgate audio, and a navigation system.
Go to The Car Connection for a full review of the 2011 Nissan Versa that includes more about the Versa's performance and features—plus related news, and more about the completely redesigned 2012 model that will soon be reaching dealerships.