Cars and Trucks

2018 Nissan Versa Review, Pricing, and Specs

Overview

The Versa is built specifically to serve up low-cost, comfortable transportation, and its status as the cheapest new car sold in America will no doubt entice first-time buyers, budget shoppers, and rental fleets. But the low sticker price means Nissan’s smallest sedan is missing many of the features that are standard on slightly more expensive rivals. We’ll admit that a car that’s fun to drive is important to us, yet it may be less important to people who just want a comfortable interior and a fuel-efficient engine—which is the Versa in a nutshell. However, this bargain box simply has too many vices to warrant interest from all but the stingiest buyers.

What’s New for 2018?

For 2018, the Versa lineup has dropped its top-tier SL trim, which takes with it several desirable features, including a 5.8-inch touchscreen, navigation, keyless entry, push-button ignition, and 16-inch wheels. Nissan also nixed its four-speed automatic transmission, leaving the base S model with only a manual gearbox; the other two trims come with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). Other updates include standard adjustable front headrests, map lights, and variable intermittent windshield wipers.

Pricing

Original MSRP:

  • S: $13,005
  • S Plus: $15,145
  • SV: $16,735

    Engine, Transmission, and Performance

    Nissan’s agricultural 1.6-liter inline-four powers every Versa model. The 109-hp engine lacks character and low-end torque. And quickness. And verve. The engine pairs with either a five-speed manual (base model only) or a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). The manual gearbox is sloppy, with long throws, while the CVT is lethargic, syrupy, and prone to making the engine drone under acceleration. The Versa doesn’t have a shred of playfulness in its chassis, although its soft suspension does make for a comfortable ride. The Versa’s body rolls haphazardly through turns, its chassis feels as though it’s made of papier-mâché, and its steering is overboosted and devoid of feel.

    Fuel Economy

    EPA fuel-economy testing and reporting procedures have changed over time. For the latest numbers on current and older vehicles, visit the EPA’s website and select Find & Compare Cars.

    Interior, Comfort, and Cargo

    The interior of the Versa is made mostly of hard, cheap plastic, and the base S trim is devoid of most of the amenities that buyers expect these days. The SV model is equipped with a few more niceties, such as power windows and locks, a 60/40 split-folding back seat, and a keyless entry system. The Versa offers more rear legroom than either the mid-size Nissan Altima or full-size Nissan Maxima sedans. It’s a small bright spot in the subcompact sedan’s cut-rate cabin. Despite its subcompact status, the Versa has a large trunk that shames the cargo holds of many larger sedans. Unfortunately, there are few storage cubbies within the cabin.

    Infotainment and Connectivity

    The Versa’s bare-bones infotainment system may be a clue to its super-low base price. All models make do with a standard push-button stereo that features a postage stamp of a display screen, Bluetooth connectivity, an auxiliary input, and four-speaker audio. A USB port comes on the SV trim. Adding the Special Edition package to the SV brings an infotainment system that includes a 5.0-inch color screen and a backup camera.

    Safety Features and Crash Test Ratings

    For more information about the Nissan Versa’s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites.

    Warranty

    Some older vehicles are still eligible for coverage under a manufacturer’s Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) program. For more information visit our guide to every manufacturer’s CPO program.

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