The 2012 Nissan Versa does something rare, though not entirely unexpected these days: it gets bigger and gains a surprisingly slick interior, but keeps its $10k sticker.
Nissan’s smallest car gets completely redesigned to target the global market: the V platform (V for “versatile,” in Nissan marketing-speak) will be sold around the world as the Tilda, Versa, or Sunny. And like the previous model, it will still be built in Mexico.
Under the hood, the Versa gets a new 1.6-liter 4-cylinder that produces 109 horsepower and 107 lb-ft of torque. Transmissions are a 5-speed manual and the Xtronic CVT, a revised example of Nissan’s long-standing experiments with variable transmissions that gets a broad gear ratio of 7.3:1 and an auxiliary gearbox with planetary gearing. How’s the mileage? 33-mpg combined, and a 37-mpg highway rating that isn’t bad but lags behind that of its Fiesta and Accent competitors.
During its redesign it gets 90 cubic feet of room and a trunk big enough to attract the attention of mob bosses—at 14.8 cubic feet, it is cavernous. Inside, the Versa is available with a touch navscreen, satellite radio, and standard radio aux/USB interface.
And mercifully, the styling is less frumpy than the outgoing model, inside and out—the interior gains soft curves and bulging knobs that at least don’t look as cheap, and the exterior gains some brightwork and a long rear end that belies its $10,990 price.
GALLERY: 2012 Nissan Versa at the New York Auto Show
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