All we know so far is that Nissan will show a small car at the New York Auto Show, where media days kick off two weeks from tomorrow.

But it's highly likely that the car will be an all-new 2012 Nissan Versa. It will be the latest entrant in a brewing battle among new and recently redesigned compact cars.

The current Versa, although occupying the "subcompact" slot in Nissan's lineup, is considerably larger than competitors like the Honda Fit, Toyota Yaris, and Hyundai Accent.

The new model may ride on a smaller platform, though we'll have to wait and see whether it's technically designated a compact or subcompact. It will sit below the Nissan Versa in the company's lineup, however.

We expect Nissan will offer at least one model or variant that achieves that crucial, magical 40-mpg highway gas mileage rating from the EPA.

What do we know about the new Nissan Versa? Thus far, not that much.

Nissan has said only that at the show, it will "host a press conference to unveil an all-new small car." The new Versa is expected to be based on the Nissan Sunny compact car, which was unveiled last December at an Auto Show in China.

Nissan Sunny on sale in China, unveiled at 2010 Guangzhou auto show

Nissan Sunny on sale in China, unveiled at 2010 Guangzhou auto show

A sketch of the 2012 Nissan Versa released in October by Nissan looks similar to the Sunny model recently launched in China, but the company provided no mechanical details.

Options include Nissan's current 1.6-liter and 1.8-liter four-cylinder engines, perhaps even a sporty model with the 2011 Juke's turbocharged 1.6-liter engine. (We found the Juke to be fun to drive, but offer terrible gas mileage--not what's needed for the Versa.)

The current Versa is sold as a five-door hatchback and a four-door sedan; the new model may be slightly smaller in overall package, but likely offer those same two body styles.

We'll bring you any details of the 2012 Versa if they emerge before the show. Otherwise, stay tuned for coverage of the 2011 New York Auto Show when media days begin on Wednesday, April 20.

[Nissan, Inside Line]


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