It's clear that interior space and value were priorities over performance when Nissan worked to redesign the Versa. Many subcompacts have been given more behind-the-wheel verve, but the Versa isn't one of them.
A 109-horsepower, 1.6-liter engine powers all Nissan Versa models; there's no direct injection here, but it does have a dual fuel-injection system plus twin continuously variable valve timing. Base S Sedans include either a notchy five-speed manual gearbox or a four-speed automatic transmission (new this year), while most of the model lineup includes a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT).
While we haven't spend enough time with either the manual or the automatic, the new-generation version of the CVT has a wider span of ratios; while that helps it achieve better mileage. But with slow 0-60-mph times of around 11.5 seconds and especially sluggish response for quick bursts of passing or merging power, the Versa remains among the slowest small sedans on the market.
There's not much else to add enthusiasm. The electric power steering system is light and precise, as well as easy to place on tight city streets, but it stays too light at highway speeds and requires constant small adjustments. All models come with anti-lock front disc and rear drum brakes.