Lets be honest. No one wants to buy an entry-level car. If money grew on trees, wed all be cruising the boulevards in top-dollar, fire-breathing sports cars or diamond-encrusted sedans. However, circumstances and reality being what they are, many of us have no other options. Does that mean, though, were relegated to cheap plastic and tiny tires? Not anymore, now that the 2007 Nissan Versastarting at around $13,000is here. The Versa comes with a 3-year/36,000-mile limited warranty.
First Glance: A small car you won't be ashamed to be seen in
The Versa is on Nissans global B platform, and represents its entry to the B-class (entry-level subcompact) cars that have started to migrate to North America. This class should prove to be quite popular now that gasoline purchases require a co-signer. The Versa also allows Nissan to move the Sentra up-market in size, power, and price. It's a real car that you wont be embarrassed to be seen in.
Nissan claims the Versa is a no compromises vehicle, and after driving it around Nashville, I agree with that statement. Short front and rear overhangs and a long (for the segment) wheelbase of 102.4 inches (versus Honda Fit at 96.5 and Toyota Yaris at 96.9) give it a much more substantial look. Standard 15-inch tires (versus 14s for Fit and Yaris) also prove that the Versa, like all Nissan vehicles, is designed for sporty driving. There are four trim levels, five packages, and some stand-alone options; the fully loaded price is about $17,000.
In the Driver's Seat: Lots of room and lots of standard equipment
What you get for that entry price on the 1.8 S model is amazing: air conditioning with filtration, audio system with CD (Yaris doesnt even give you a radio standard!), tilt steering column, rear window defroster, front/side/side curtain airbags, tire pressure monitoring system, and a quality look and feel that will pleasantly surprise you. If you want more, Nissan delivers. On the 1.8 SL you get a higher-level audio system, auxiliary input jack for an MP3 player, cruise control, remote keyless entry, and power doors/locks/mirrors. Options include a Rockford Fosgate audio system and Bluetooth® phone compatibility.
On the Road: More power and more fun than Fit or Yaris
Journey's End: Unchanged is good
Since fuel economy is the topic of the day, Versa with the CVT will achieve 30 mpg in the city and 36 on the highway. When equipped with the 6-speed manual, those numbers are 30 city/34 highway. When the 4-speed automatic arrives later, the numbers drop slightly to 28/35 city/highway. To compete with the Yaris sport package, Versa also will offer one for the hatchback with rear roof, side sill, and front and rear chin spoilers as well as foglights.
Versa started life as a more upscale product than the competition, and I'm both happy and thankful Nissan brought it here as is instead of stripping it of personality and features to justify the cost. Theres no question this is my favorite ride of the B cars. -- BJ Killeen