Virtually every fast food place has some sort of "value menu" filled with good stuff at prices that won't break the bank. Which, when you stop to think of it, is a remarkably good analogy for the 2017 Nissan Versa. This compact sedan offers some appealing qualities for not a lot of dough. High points include a smooth ride, good fuel economy, a large trunk and one of the roomiest rear seats in the segment.
Of course, as you'd expect, the entry-level Versa model isn't exactly lavishly equipped. That means you'll have to spring for one of the higher (and more expensive) trim levels to get many of the amenities you might want, such as keyless entry, cruise control, and power windows and door locks. The Versa's acceleration and handling are also a bit lackluster compared to the performance of most competing sedans.
Some of our favorites in this class include the Chevrolet Sonic, Ford Fiesta and new Toyota Yaris iA, all of which offer sharper handling and more engaging styling and design. The Hyundai Accent and Kia Rio also boast better acceleration and more style at a similar price point. But if you're primarily looking for a car that provides maximum interior room at a minimum price, the 2017 Nissan Versa could be worth a look.
The 2017 Nissan Versa comes standard with antilock brakes (front disc, rear drum), traction and stability control, front-seat side airbags and side curtain airbags. A rearview camera is standard on the SL and optional on the SV.
In Edmunds brake testing, a Versa SL sedan came to a stop from 60 mph in 128 feet, which is about 6 feet longer than the segment average.
In government crash tests, the Versa sedan earned four stars (out of a possible five) for front-crash protection. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety testing, the Versa sedan earned a top rating of Good in the moderate-overlap front-impact, side-impact and roof strength tests. The Versa's head restraint and seat design was given a second-highest rating of Acceptable for whiplash protection in rear impacts.
trim levels & features
The 2017 Nissan Versa is a subcompact sedan offered in four trim levels: S, S Plus, SV and SL. The Nissan Versa Note hatchback is covered in a separate review.
The entry-level S model comes with 15-inch steel wheels, power mirrors, air-conditioning, cloth upholstery, manual locks and windows, a tilt-only steering wheel, Bluetooth phone connectivity, a trip computer, and a four-speaker sound system with a CD player, steering-wheel audio controls and an auxiliary audio input jack.
The S Plus gets a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT), a rear spoiler and cruise control.
Stepping up to the SV model gets you remote keyless entry, power windows and door locks, upgraded cloth upholstery and interior trim, a height-adjustable driver's seat with an armrest, 60/40-split folding rear seatbacks, upgraded instrumentation, map lights and a USB port.
The new SV Special Edition option package adds 15-inch alloy wheels, foglights, chrome exterior accents, variable intermittent windshield wipers, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a rearview camera, an audio system with a 5-inch color display, satellite radio, Bluetooth streaming audio and a hands-free text messaging feature.
The SL trim starts with the contents of the aforementioned SV Special Edition package and adds 16-inch alloy wheels, side mirrors with integrated turn signals, keyless ignition and entry, and a navigation system.
The 2017 Nissan Versa is powered by a 1.6-liter four-cylinder that produces 109 horsepower and 107 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard on the S, and a four-speed automatic is optional. A continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) is standard on all other Versa models. All transmissions send power to the front wheels.
In Edmunds performance testing, a Versa sedan with the CVT went from zero to 60 mph in 10.4 seconds, which is about a half-second slower than the average subcompact or compact sedan.
With the CVT automatic, EPA estimated fuel economy stands at an excellent 35 mpg combined (31 city/39 highway), though most competitors achieve similar numbers. With the standard five-speed manual transmission, those numbers dip to 30 mpg combined (27 city/36 highway). The four-speed automatic also gets 29 mpg combined (26 city/35 highway).
The 2017 Nissan Versa is roomy, though we haven't found it to be particularly comfortable. The combination of the lack of a height-adjustable driver seat on lower trim levels and the tilt-only adjustable steering wheel can make it hard to find a comfortable driving position. The rear seats are the big story here, though, with enough head- and legroom to accommodate 6-footers, something few rival models can claim.
Though the Versa's interior is bare-bones, the gauges and controls are easy to see and operate. The fact that upscale items such as a rearview camera and navigation system can be had is a positive, but it bears noting that adding these goodies chips away at the Versa's price advantage.
Out back, the Versa's huge trunk offers 14.9 cubic feet of cargo room. If that isn't enough for you, the 60/40-split folding rear seatbacks on SV and SL models open up still more space for your stuff.
edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.