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2019 Nissan Versa Performance Review


Performance: 6.3

The 2019 Nissan Versa is comfortable and quiet, except when its automatic transmission drones at high speeds. It’s neither fast nor athletic, but it’ll get you around town just fine. Its small size makes it maneuverable in tight spaces, and it rides smoothly. Models equipped with the automatic transmission get typical fuel economy ratings for the class.

  • "Our Versa SV test vehicle was a pleasant surprise from behind its leather-wrapped steering wheel. It's comfortable, quiet for its class, and it feels substantial going down the road." -- Kelley Blue Book (2018)
  • We can't really complain about the driving characteristics of the Versa given its affordability, but driven back-to-back with the competition, the Versa's drawbacks are revealed." -- Autotrader (2016)
  • "The Versa is also pretty uneventful to drive. Rivals like the Chevrolet Sonic and 2015 Ford Fiesta feel more alert and engaging when you're behind the wheel, for instance, and the Kia Rio and Hyundai Accent are quicker to accelerate." -- Edmunds (2015)

Acceleration and Power

Both the Versa and the Note have a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that puts out 109 horsepower. A five-speed manual transmission comes standard with the sedan. A continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) is standard in the Note and available in the sedan. The Versa has adequate power for cruising around town, though it’s slow to accelerate. The transmission sounds coarse at highway speeds.

With the manual transmission, the Versa gets an EPA-estimated 27 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. Those figures are unimpressive for the class. With the CVT, the Versa gets more respectable ratings of 31/39 mpg city/highway.

  • Driving the Versa feels rather average. The CVT allows power to flow to the front wheels fairly smoothly. The engine is short on horsepower but tries its best to keep the little vehicle gliding along at highway speeds." -- Autotrader
  • No, it's not going to pamper you like a new Mercedes or thrill you like a supercar, but the Versa is agile and its little 4-cylinder engine has just enough power to move the little sedan with zip." -- Kelley Blue Book (2018)
  • "The 2016 Nissan Versa sedan's 1.6-liter engine offers little in the way of excitement. Its acceleration is subpar for the class, and it gets noisy in merging or passing situations when you're hard on the gas. This is particularly true with the CVT. Noisy engine droning is a common trait in CVT-equipped cars, but most of the Versa's rivals seem more refined with their regular six-speed automatics." -- Edmunds (2016)

Handling and Braking

The Versa has a comfortable ride, gliding over rough pavement. Its small size and tight turning radius make it highly maneuverable. However, most competitors are more agile and fun-to-drive. Front-wheel drive is standard; all-wheel drive is not available.

  • "The Versa feels light and flimsy in a market of surprisingly substantial subcompacts. As basic transportation, the Versa is fine. Alongside the newest offerings from its competitors, however, it pales in comparison." -- Autotrader
  • "There's good steering feel, plus a tight turn radius that makes parking this small sedan a snap." -- Kelley Blue Book (2018)
  • In terms of driving dynamics, the Versa's soft suspension tuning provides a pretty comfortable ride when you're driving over broken and rutted pavement. The downside, though, is that the suspension and the Versa's vague steering combine to produce unremarkable and uninspiring handling." -- Edmunds (2016)
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