If you’ve paid attention to this space, you’re probably aware of our opinion of Nissan’s sad-sack Versa. It’s no secret that we’re not fans of the little sedan—which was recently joined by a marginally better hatchback iteration, known as the Note.
Nissan says the Versa’s restyled front and rear fascias were influenced by those of the larger Sentra and Altima sedans, although we see more of the ho-hum Sentra than the better-looking Altima here. Regardless, sticking a chrome grille, the Sentra’s boomerang-shaped headlights, and a more-tailored rear bumper on the Versa’s lumpy shape doesn’t do much to improve its looks.
Inside, Nissan subtly re-contoured the center-stack shape, added a nifty little plastic hood above the central air vents, and painted the climate controls black. For 2015, the Versa’s four trim levels—S, S Plus, SV, and SL—carry over, but Bluetooth connectivity, steering-wheel audio controls, and white LED gauge-cluster lighting are newly standard across the range. The SL Technology package now includes the NissanConnect navigation system with mobile apps, and 15-inch wheels borrowed from the sporty-ish Versa Note SR are optional as well. On the opposite end of Versaland, it’s telling that a radio, assist grips, and a passenger vanity mirror are still called out as standard features on the baser-than-base Versa S. Oh, before we forget, there is also new seat fabric.
Buyers of the 2015 Versa can look forward to—if that’s the right phrase—the same grainy, unsatisfying 1.6-liter four from before. It puts out 109 horsepower and 107 lb-ft of torque, and strains against the pavement via a five-speed manual, a four-speed automatic (optional on base S models only), or a CVT automatic that’s standard on S Plus, SV, and SL models. The best performance-related thing we can say about the last Versa sedan we tested is that it made it to 60 mph in less than 10 seconds. Fuel economy is still a Versa strong suit, with EPA ratings of 31 mpg city and 40 mpg highway on CVT-equipped models. A big back seat is still part of the equation, and remains the car’s main boast-worthy feature.
Pricing has yet to be announced, but we doubt Nissan will cede its coveted “least-expensive new car in America” title to another manufacturer. So don’t expect big increases from the current model’s base price range of $12,800 to $17,700.
Thanks to: Car and Driver