2012 Nissan Versa Consumer Review: Unique Small Car!

2012 Nissan Versa - Consumer Review

Average Consumer Rating

60 Total Reviews

1.6 SL Sedan (1.6L 4-cyl. CVT Automatic)

Build Quality
Reliability Value
9 of 9 people found this review helpful
Unique Small Car!
By aeh4 on


2012 Nissan Versa 1.6 SL 4dr Sedan (1.6L 4cyl CVT)


We test drove almost every subcompact model before choosing the Versa sedan.
No other car had quite the combination of interior room, excellent visibility and outstanding fuel efficiency. It is not as stylish as other cars, but we could not find another vehicle that was as easy to drive and can truly fit four 6-foot adults.
The Versa sits about 6 inches taller than other small cars. So visibility is excellent in all directions, and it is very easy to get in and out all four doors.
The interior is basic hard plastic, but there are six cup holders and all controls are easy to reach.
Seats in the SL trim are soft and comfortable.
Outstanding fuel efficiency - see below.

Best Features

The 30/38 EPA mpg sedan estimates do not do justice to this car. I also have a Kia Forte rated 26/36 EPA , and the Versa is 9-10 mpg better for the same driver and conditions. We are easy drivers who mostly do speed limits, but I am getting 42 mpg 50% city/ 50 % highway. Note: hatchback is not as good. Front headroom and rear legroom are easily best in class. We fit four adults even with front seats all the way back. No other subcompact is even close. A/C very cold even at low settings. Extended warranty is really cheap if you shop around. Google Santa Rosa CA Nissan and ask your dealer to match their on-line price. We got 8 yrs/100K for $1100. Excellent stereo sound in the SL.

Worst Features

This is not a stylish nor a performance car - hence the poor ratings from most auto blogs. The CVT trans is optimized for fuel efficiency, not performance. So you will start slowly from stoplights and take longer to merge in traffic. There is more wind effect/road corrections at highway speeds because the car is so light. Please test drive on the highway before you buy and make sure your are comfortable. More brake pressure is needed than other cars we drove. The Navigation package is mediocre. It's fully integrated with the audio options and Bluetooth, but doesn't locate many destinations. No auto trunk release options. Hard plastic interior -scratches easily.
Recommend (9) (0)

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Comments (2) Post a Comment
By litesong2
on 10/24/12 01:41 AM (PDT)

Excellent report. I have a CVT Caliber rated at 27mpg highway. I average 32mpg. Like others, I expect to get 40+(43?)mpg. Hey, hey, hey.......! With 10mpg more efficiency, I can drive further. How 'bout them apples!

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By sdaigle
on 09/28/12 14:32 PM (PDT)

I agree with every point of this review, both pros and cons. My fuel economy is much better than the EPA rating too. I average 40-42. If you drive hard, use the AC often, and carry 4 or 5 passengers, then you can certainly expect sub-40 MPGs. The all-hard plastic interior does scuff very easily. The passenger side of my dash is already looking a little funky thanks to careless passengers. I too recommend test driving this car on the interstate. It's nervous at interstate speed due to the light weight, tall and narrow body, and skinny tires. Between the wind of large passing vehicles and grooves in the pavement, it's very hard to keep in a straight line. I would also add that the CVT transmission takes a lot of getting accustomed to. It's quite clunky and noisy compared to traditionally geared transmissions. I still prefer it for the type of driving I do though for its seamless transition of power for traversing hilling terrain. The complete lack of shift shock is very welcome in a little car like this.

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