First generation (C11; 2007–2012)
The Versa was introduced in the United States and Canada in July 2006 as a 2007 model. North American models of the Nissan Versa use a DOHC 1.8-liter gasoline engine. The hatchback model was introduced first, with the sedan arriving later at the end of the year, both as 2007 models. A 1.6 L sedan replaced the 1.8 sedan in Canada for the 2009 model year, that year in the United States the 1.6 sedan was added to the lineup along the 1.8 sedan.
The Versa was Nissan’s entry-level model in the United States and Canada. Although the Versa is 15.75″ longer than the Honda Fit, and 220 lbs heavier, Nissan attempts to market the Versa as a B-segment subcompact, competing against the much smaller Honda Fit, Hyundai Accent, and Toyota Yaris. According to a Nissan press release in 2008, “versa” is short for “versatile space” meant to imply the spaciousness of the interior and configurable cargo arrangements.
The Versa is powered by a 1.8 L I4 MR series engine producing 122 hp and 127 ft·lb. Three transmissions are offered: a four-speed automatic, a continuously variable transmission (CVT), and a six-speed manual. It is one of two cars in its class (in the North American market) to offer a six-speed manual transmission as standard equipment (next to the 2012 Hyundai Accent). Two trim levels include the S and SL—the SL offering air conditioning, power accessories and ABS, all of which are options on the S. The Versa SL also has features/options not available on the S such as cruise control (available on some S models), alloy wheels, optional CVT (the 4-speed automatic is only available for the Versa S but CVT is available on some S models), optional Bluetooth connectivity for electronic devices, and a sport package which adds a power moonroof, rear spoiler, and underside aero kit.
2009 Nissan Versa 1.6
Introduced for the 2009 model year in sedan form only, the Versa 1.6 uses a smaller, 1.6-liter (HR16DE) Inline 4 gasoline engine. The 4 cylinder is rated at 107 hp and 111 lb·ft of torque. Base transmission is a five-speed manual; a four-speed automatic is optional.
The Versa 1.6 features black trim (instead of body-colored) for the exterior mirror housings, license plate trim, and front grille; 14-inch steel wheels; black interior; four radio speakers with pre-wiring for a radio—but no radio itself. Safety features include six airbags, active front head restraints, and a tire pressure monitoring system. Air conditioning, AM/FM/CD audio system, power windows, power door locks, power mirrors, and keyless entry are offered as part of a value package. Anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution (EBD) and brake assist are optional.
2010 models featured a redesigned grille and a new design for the 1.8S model’s wheel covers. In North America, the sedan was replaced by its second generation starting the 2012 model year (hence, 2011 being its last). The fate of the hatchback was however extended for one more year, 2012 being its last. Production of both for that market stopped in mid-2011.
Second generation (C12; 2011–present)
The second-generation Nissan Versa is powered by a 1.6 L 4 cylinder that delivers around 107 hp and 107 lb·ft of torque. The fuel economy is estimated to be 30 mpg-US 36 mpg city and 46 mpg highway with the CVT-equipped. The Versa sedan went on sale in August 2011 with prices starting at $10,990; higher spec models include Bluetooth, navigation system with five-inch touch screen display, satellite radio and an iPod/USB interface. It is considered to be the cheapest new car in the US.
Versa Note (2013–present)
The second-generation Nissan Versa hatchback was rebadged as the Versa Note. Trim levels include the SR and SL. It uses the same engine and transmission as the sedan, but has a little more versatility.