The 2012 Nissan Versa lineup features a completely re-engineered version of the Versa sedan. The 2012 Versa is available in sedan and hatchback variants, but while the Versa sedan is all-new, the 2012 Versa hatchback carries over on the previous-generation platform. A new hatchback will be introduced as a 2013 model.
Both Versa body styles offer spacious interiors with decent head- and legroom, making them a good choice for larger drivers. Back-seat passengers will find rear-seat leg room as good as that in larger cars and SUVs, making Versa a usable four-passenger car. The cabin is comfortable and offers a good number of conveniences. In short, the Nissan Versa is a roomy, practical small car.
The 2012 Versa sedan is all-new and therefore a better choice than the hatchback. The new sedan gets better fuel economy than 2012 Versa hatchback.
The 2012 Versa four-door sedan rides on a new platform, dubbed V for versatile, which makes the 2012 Versa sedan 150 pounds lighter than the first-generation sedan (2008-2011 models). This second-generation Versa sedan uses a slightly smaller engine than before, a 1.6-liter four-cylinder good for a modest but effective 109 horsepower and 107 pound-feet of torque. A 5-speed manual transmission is standard on the 2012 Versa sedan, while a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) is included on higher trim levels. The 2012 Versa sedan also gets revised steering and suspension, which makes for more responsive handling.
Fuel economy is the name of the game for the new 2012 Versa sedan. Thanks to weight savings and new engine technology including dual fuel injection, the all-new 2012 Versa sedan achieves an EPA-estimated 27/36 mpg City/Highway and 30 mpg Combined with the manual, or an admirable 30/38/33 miles per gallon with the CVT.
The 2012 Versa hatchback, unlike the sedan, carries over unchanged from 2011. The hatchback is essentially the same body style as the first-generation version that launched as a 2008 model. It rides on the previous-generation platform. The hatchback uses a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 122 hp and 127 lb-ft of torque. On the base Versa S hatch, a 6-speed manual transmission comes standard, with an optional 4-speed automatic. The hatchback's extra power and weight dings fuel economy, with an EPA rating of 26/31/28 mpg City/Highway/Combined with the manual and 24/32/27 mpg with the automatic. The upper-level Versa SL hatchback comes standard with a CVT, which brings fuel economy up to 28/34/30.
The 2012 Versa sedan beats the fuel economy of the 2012 hatchback by a wide margin, making the new sedan more economical in the long run than the hatch. An all-new 2013 Versa hatchback will introduced in late 2012 or early 2013 as a 2013 model, so look for that.
The Versa subcompact competes with the Honda Fit, Toyota Yaris, Ford Fiesta, Chevrolet Sonic, and Hyundai Accent. Those looking primarily for space might like the Versa's larger dimensions, which are larger than those of the Fit or Yaris. Versa also offers a low price of entry. All in all, the Nissan Versa is good basic transportation with good fuel economy at an affordable price.