Flash Drive: 2009 Nissan Versa 1.8S
This 2009 review is representative of model years 2007 to 2011.
By Staff of MSN Autos
The Nissan Versa is the classic "small on the outside, big on the inside" car. About the same length as the Toyota Yaris or Ford Focus but with greater height, the Versa feels roomy inside. In fact, its rear seat has almost as much legroom as a Toyota Camry. Cargo space is usable but not large and, unfortunately, the rear seats don't fold flat, so hauling large items may prove difficult. The Versa is no rocket; it has only 122 horsepower under the hood. Even so, acceleration is adequate for merging onto a freeway, even with our tester's somewhat weak 4-speed automatic transmission. Steering and handling are good enough to make the Versa fun to drive, and the ride was surprisingly comfortable for such a small car. The $15,200 sticker on our test car didn't get us power windows or door locks, but it did include ABS and air conditioning. With fuel economy in the low 30s on the highway, the Versa is a great economical choice in today's car market. – Perry Stern
The Nissan Versa is one of the new smaller breed of cars on the roads today. It is amazing how much room this little machine has inside. There is great headroom and decent legroom throughout the car. By folding down the seats — which, unfortunately, don't fold completely flat — you can store a lot of cargo. The small and smooth 4-cylinder powerplant delivers good acceleration around town and provided gas mileage in the low 30s during mixed driving. The Versa is a great commuter car that is easy to drive and park in a city, thanks to the smaller dimensions and the great visibility. And the Versa can be equipped with cool technology features like Bluetooth, keyless entry, satellite radio and iPod connectivity. For those wanting to achieve hybridlike fuel economy on a budget, the Versa might be for you. – Joe Chulick
The Nissan Versa 1.8S is an economical, subcompact, 5-door hatchback that reinforces just how good a basic car really is today. Equipped with a 122-horsepower, 4-cylinder engine and a 4-speed automatic transmission, the Versa gets almost 25 mpg in the city and more than 30 on the highway. It is relatively fun to drive, though we wouldn't call it sporty. Our tester was responsive and quick enough to easily pull out into traffic without creating an obstacle. The Versa is relatively roomy overall for its size, and headroom is excellent. One noticeable omission, the Versa lacks central locking — a feature taken for granted on most models — but at least the rear hatch locks and unlocks in tandem with the driver's door lock. – Mike Meredith
The Nissan Versa is the cheapest-feeling car I can remember ever being in. It was obviously built to a very tight budget. The cabin is so small that the door pockets actually push up hard against the uncomfortable front seats, so much so that the levers to lean the seatbacks forward or backward had to move to the middle of the car. Any owner of the Versa would be constantly reminded of the frugality of this car. Unless you're one of the original Puritans to land on Plymouth Rock, my guess is that it would eventually become quite depressing. If it were my money, I'd probably buy a used, but more luxurious, car instead. – Paul Hagger