The 2011 Nissan Versa combines two appealing features for the subcompact class: It’s bigger inside than many of its competitors, and it’s one of the lowest-priced cars on sale today. Big and inexpensive is a good combination, and it explains the consistently good sales of Nissan’s smallest model despite its distinct lack of glamour.
The Versa comes as a five-door hatchback and a four-door sedan, with the hatchback having the more successful lines in our eyes. It’s a square and upright design, with a no-frills interior designed in a straightforward and simple manner. Fuel economy is disappointing, though, and the Versa’s safety ratings are below average now.
Two engines are offered: a 107-horsepower, 1.6-liter four on the lowest-priced models, which can be ordered with a five-speed manual or an ancient four-speed automatic. Then there’s a 122-hp, 1.8-liter four offered with no fewer than three different transmissions: that four-speed automatic (avoid...
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