But the Versa isn’t vice less. The downside of CVT is that you have virtually no direct control of engine speed range. The constant engine drone produced by the CVT’s torque multiplication quickly becomes annoying. The standard air conditioning unit is a tad slow to ice the cabin on blistering hot days. Due to poor counterbalance, the trunk lid, which must be opened manually via the ignition key, will whack you on the rebound if you’re not careful to open it all the way. And finally, the weenie 185/65/15 ContiContact tires look small for the Versa and fail to generate much grip in corners.
But then, you can’t expect many Chris Craft amenities in a dinghy. If solid, basic transport is all you’re after, the Versa more than fills the order. Even on a 5 hour, single day round-trip, none of the Versa’s passengers did much ergonomic-inspired complaining. The glassy, tall-roofed cabin goes a long way toward damping small car claustrophobia. The best part of the 2012 Versa is its newly enlarged rear seating area. To gain full benefit of that improvement, however, Nissan needs to add a folding center armrest, reading lights and grab handles back there. But if you’re after unembroidered transport, pared to an affordable price, the Versa represents good value.
2012 NISSAN VERSA 1.6SV SEDAN
- ENGINE: 1.6 liter inline 4
- HORSEPOWER: 109hp @ 6000 rpm
- TORQUE: 107 lb.-ft. @ 4400 rpm
- TRANSMISSION: Xtronic CVT® (Continuously Variable Transmission)
- FUEL CONSUMPTION: 30 mpg city / 37 mpg hwy / 33 mpg observed
- PRICE AS TESTED: $15,080
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