2011 Nissan Versa Review

Type:

Pros & Cons

  • Roomy interior with an adult-friendly backseat
  • comfortable ride
  • many available convenience features
  • large trunk.
  • Bland driving dynamics
  • less versatile than the Honda Fit.
List Price Estimate
$1,880 - $2,909

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Edmunds' Expert Review

The 2011 Nissan Versa might not be the newest or most engaging choice in the economy car segment, but it still provides simple, spacious and inexpensive transportation.

Vehicle overview

Cars at a certain bargain-basement price point used to be called penalty boxes. They were certainly cheap and came with a warranty, but owning one was worse than getting a double-minor in the third period of game seven in the Stanley Cup. The 2011 Nissan Versa certainly has that bargain-basement price thing down (it is one of the cheapest cars on sale in the United States), yet a penalty box it most certainly is not. If all you're looking for is simple, safe, spacious, comfortable and, yes, cheap transportation, then the Versa might be all you need.

Like many subcompact cars, the Versa is available in four-door sedan and hatchback body styles and its most basic models offer little in the way of convenience features. If you opt for the cheapest trim level, you'll be cranking your own windows, climbing across seats to unlock doors and humming to your own tunes because there are neither power accessories nor even a radio. But you still get enough space for four 6-footers, comfy seats, a soft ride, a nicely crafted interior and a large trunk.

Stepping up to the higher trim levels gets you common features like power accessories, air-conditioning and a radio. But the Versa is one of the few cars in its price range to offer such items as keyless ignition/entry, a navigation system, an iPod interface and Bluetooth. In other words, depending on your preference, the Versa can be either bare-bones transportation or one of the best-equipped small cars on the market.

If there is a downside to the Versa, however, it's that this car represents simple transportation and nothing more. If you're OK spending more than the least amount of money possible and are looking for something with both visual excitement and energetic driving, subcompacts like the 2011 Ford Fiesta, 2011 Honda Fit and 2011 Mazda 2 will make the Versa seem dowdy and forgettable. The Honda ironically offers more versatile passenger and cargo compartments as well. Yet no matter which of these bargain-basement cars you go for, rest assured that you won't be sentencing yourself to years in a penalty box.

2011 Nissan Versa models

The 2011 Nissan Versa is a subcompact car available in sedan and hatchback styles. The two lowest trims -- 1.6 Base and 1.6 -- are sedan only, while the 1.8 S and 1.8 SL can be had as a hatchback as well.

The 1.6 Base lives up to its name with scarcely any convenience equipment, providing only 14-inch steel wheels, a tilt steering wheel, intermittent wipers and four audio speakers (but no stereo to go along with them). The 1.6 adds air-conditioning, antilock brakes (optional on Base) and the option to get an automatic transmission.

The 1.8 S trim adds 15-inch steel wheels, power mirrors, cushier front seats and a stereo with a six-disc CD changer and an auxiliary audio jack. The Power Plus package adds power windows and locks, keyless entry, cruise control and padded door armrests.

The 1.8 SL adds 15-inch alloy wheels, a height-adjustable driver seat, upgraded cloth upholstery, front and rear center armrests, 60/40 split rear seatbacks (sedan) and a six-speaker stereo. The sedan's Convenience package adds keyless ignition/entry, Bluetooth and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls. The Hatchback's Premium package is basically the same thing, but adds 16-inch alloy wheels. An auto-dimming rearview mirror and interior ambient lighting are optional on the 1.8 S (sedan only) and 1.8 SL; the hatchback can also be equipped with a sunroof. Finally, the 1.8 SL can be equipped with a navigation system that includes a small touchscreen, real-time traffic, an iPod interface and satellite radio.

2011 Highlights

Changes are light for the 2011 Nissan Versa: antilock brakes are now included with the upgraded 1.6 sedan trim, while the 1.8 S sedan gains a six-disc CD changer.

Performance & mpg

The 2011 Nissan Versa is available with a choice of two four-cylinder engines. The 1.6-liter found only on the sedan produces 107 horsepower and 111 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard, while a four-speed automatic is optional. In our performance testing, a manual-equipped 1.6-liter went from zero to 60 mph in a reasonable 9.4 seconds. EPA-estimated fuel economy with the manual is 26 mpg city/34 mpg highway and 29 mpg combined. Opting for the automatic gets you 26/33/28.

The 1.8-liter produces 122 hp and 127 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard on the 1.8 S trim. The four-speed automatic is optional on the 1.8 S trim and standard on the 1.8 SL sedan, while the 1.8 SL hatchback gets a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). In our testing, a 1.8-liter with the manual also went from zero to 60 mph in 9.4 seconds; in normal driving, this engine's extra grunt does pay off. This engine returns an estimated 26/31/28 mpg with the manual, 24/32/27 mpg with the four-speed automatic and 28/34/30 with the CVT.

Safety

Every Versa comes standard with front side airbags and side curtain airbags. Antilock brakes are optional on the base car and standard on all other trim levels. Stability and traction control are optional on the 1.8 S and standard on the 1.8 SL.

Without antilock brakes, we found the Versa could stop from 60 mph in 132 feet, which is about average for this type of car. In government crash tests, the Versa scored four out of five stars for all occupants in both front- and side-impact tests.

In the government's new, more strenuous crash testing for 2011, the Versa earned an overall rating of two stars out of a possible five, with three stars for overall frontal crash protection and two stars for overall side crash protection.

In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests, the Versa earned a top rating of "Good" for its protection of occupants in both frontal-offset and side-impact collisions.

Driving

Thanks to its softly tuned suspension, the 2011 Nissan Versa offers the sort of pillow-like ride that's usually reserved for much larger cars. It handles with enough agility to suit most drivers, but those seeking a more engaging driving experience will be better served by the Ford Fiesta, Honda Fit or Mazda 2.

Both the Versa's engine choices pack a solid midrange punch, making them capable performers around town and on the freeway. We're not huge fans of the six-speed manual transmission that comes with the 1.8 S -- the low-effort clutch can be difficult to modulate -- and the four-speed automatic is similarly uninspiring. We'd recommend going with either the 1.6's five-speed manual or the SL's hatchback's CVT.

Interior

The 2011 Nissan Versa has a remarkably roomy cabin. Headroom is plentiful thanks to the car's tall roof, and generous legroom allows 6-foot passengers in both the front and rear seats to sit comfortably. Looks-wise, the car's interior is quite bland, but overall interior quality is high. The controls are simple and easy to use, and optional items like keyless ignition/entry, Bluetooth and satellite radio are welcome goodies in this budget-friendly car.

The car's overstuffed front seats are comfortable during hour-long commutes, but support fades on longer drives. Unlike Honda's Fit, the Versa hatchback's split rear seat doesn't fold down in a way that provides a flat cargo floor, but lowering it reveals a sizable 50 cubic feet of space. Likewise, the sedan's 13.8-cubic-foot trunk is on the large side for its segment, although it doesn't come close to being as Versa-tile as the hatchback.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2011 Nissan Versa.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

So far so good - bought used - owned it for 6000 miles and 6 months now
casinnova,07/04/2013
I am definitely a skeptic and buying a new car is so hard to do. I settled on the Versa for 2 reasons: Leg room and fuel economy. Both are absolutely acceptable. The car is spacious. Compared to any other hatchback or sedan that I have ever been inside of, this thing feels huge. It fits 4 adults very comfortably. Since keeping track of mileage I have averaged 29.35 MPG mostly city driving. If I drive carefully I can get 32 MPG in the city but most of the time I am late for work and have to drive crazy. I have no complaints really. The car is solid. I will update my review after another 6 months.
Just crossed 174,000 miles...
dave,03/03/2016
1.8 S 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 6M)
I bought the 2011 Versa Sedan, 1.8L with 6 speed manual transmission back at the end of 2010. I drive quite a bit, so the truck I traded in for it was impractical. I was able to get this car with A/C, 6 CD changes, power windows and doors, and the bigger engine for $10,900 (which surprised me, even then). I just crossed over 174,000 miles the other day on the Versa, and it has never seen the inside of a shop. I thought that was a pretty amazing stat, and figured I should share it, just in case anyone reading this was on the fence. I have no motive whatsoever to praise a car, but this one has been absolutely reliable and has been from coast to coast numerous times. Even now, the engine runs just fine, doesn't burn any oil, and has only had oil changes every 5,000 miles (or so). The transmission also, is fine. The MPG are at least as advertise, although as light-footed as I tend to be, it's actually probably a bit like 35 on the highways most of the time. The inside is spacious and will seat/hold luggage for 4 people, easily.
Would have happily paid MSRP- Great Car!
ryanclowe29,03/06/2011
About the 1.6L engine- Here in the U.S it is positioned as the less attractive engine for the lowest trim levels. But the truth is, the 1.6L is the largest engine in a family of engines that excel in fuel economy, and most Versas around the world (called Tiida elsewhere) get the thrifty 1.6L(including all Canadian sedans). The 1.8L isn't related; it's a de-stroked Sentra 2.0L. The EPA ratings for the 1.6 seem artificially low. I consistently get 36 MPG combined. A light foot brings 40-42 MPG hwy @ <70 MPH. Ideally I'd want more top end HP, but the torque curve is better than I expected. 5sp gearing gets you to 45 MPH quickly. Smooth little engine with nice exhaust note makes this car fun
It fits our life
niall1,03/04/2011
When we were shopping we also looked at a Honda Fit. The thing is that a requirement for us was that anything we bought had to be able to take our bicycle in the back, ideally without having to take off the front wheels. The Fit would not even accept one bicycle even with a wheel removed while the Versa would take one ready to ride and two with the front wheels removed . So much for the Fit's superior cargo versatility touted by the Edmund's writer. This car really fits our lifestyle and who we are. Handling is perfectly adequate for the way we drive. So is performance. Yes, we give up a bit for the extra size. Every time we gas up it comes out to 30 mpg, not terrible but not great.

Features & Specs

MPG
24 city / 32 hwy
Seats 5
4-speed automatic
Gas
122 hp @ 5200 rpm
MPG
25 city / 33 hwy
Seats 5
4-speed automatic
Gas
107 hp @ 6000 rpm
MPG
24 city / 32 hwy
Seats 5
4-speed automatic
Gas
122 hp @ 5200 rpm
MPG
26 city / 34 hwy
Seats 5
5-speed manual
Gas
107 hp @ 6000 rpm
See all Used 2011 Nissan Versa features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    Overall3 / 5
    Driver3 / 5
    Passenger2 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    Overall2 / 5
  • Side Barrier Rating
    Overall2 / 5
    Driver2 / 5
    Passenger2 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front Seat2 / 5
    Back Seat2 / 5
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover14%

More about the 2011 Nissan Versa

Used 2011 Nissan Versa Overview

The Used 2011 Nissan Versa is offered in the following submodels: Versa Hatchback, Versa Sedan. Available styles include 1.8 S 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl 4A), 1.8 S 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 4A), 1.8 SL 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl CVT), 1.8 S 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl 6M), 1.6 4dr Sedan (1.6L 4cyl 4A), 1.8 SL 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 4A), 1.6 4dr Sedan (1.6L 4cyl 5M), 1.8 S 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 6M), and 1.6 Base 4dr Sedan (1.6L 4cyl 5M).

What's a good price on a Used 2011 Nissan Versa?

Price comparisons for Used 2011 Nissan Versa trim styles:

  • The Used 2011 Nissan Versa 1.8 S is priced between $3,950 and$5,989 with odometer readings between 91957 and177641 miles.
  • The Used 2011 Nissan Versa 1.8 SL is priced between $3,999 and$3,999 with odometer readings between 148317 and148317 miles.

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Which used 2011 Nissan Versas are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2011 Nissan Versa for sale near. There are currently 4 used and CPO 2011 Versas listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $3,950 and mileage as low as 91957 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2011 Nissan Versa.

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Find a used Nissan Versa for sale - 5 great deals out of 6 listings starting at $23,426.

Find a used Nissan for sale - 9 great deals out of 9 listings starting at $11,093.

Find a used certified pre-owned Nissan Versa for sale - 2 great deals out of 16 listings starting at $18,859.

Find a used certified pre-owned Nissan for sale - 7 great deals out of 10 listings starting at $19,247.

Should I lease or buy a 2011 Nissan Versa?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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