As fuel prices are rising again, Nissan’s new 2012 Versa sedan is expected to benefit from the attention that consumers will be giving small cars. Just like the previous model of the Versa sedan, the new model boasts of offering a good value as it has a starting price of only $10,990.
But Nissan wants its entry-level model to surpass its rivals. The 2012 Versa will get navigation with a five-inch touch screen, satellite radio, Bluetooth, and an iPod/USB interface. In addition, Nissan made it more efficient by switching to a new front-wheel-drive global "V" platform.
The new chassis is 150 pounds lighter than the previous "B" platform of the outgoing car even if they have the same 102.4-inch wheelbase. This is due to a 20% reduction in components used. The wheelbase dimension is the same but the interior was redesigned to have more rear legroom that is bigger than some of its luxury models like the BMW 5-series, the Lexus LS 460, and the Mercedes-Benz E-class.
Nissan said that its designers made revisions to even the tiniest details, such as in the trunk, hinge size and the sidewalls’ shape, so that the space can be maximized.
When it comes to the powertrain, Nissan made major changes to the 1.6-liter I4, which now comes with two streamlined injectors per cylinder and twin continuously variable valve timing to raise efficiency.
As a result, the new Versa has an output of 109 hp and 107 lb-ft of torque. Consumers can choose from either a five-speed manual or a continuously variable transmission. For the manual, the fuel economy ratings are estimated at 27/36 mpg city/highway. Meanwhile, the CVT has ratings of 30/37 mpg city/highway.
In order to make sure that the new Nissan Versa Sedan gets that upscale appearance, the designers need to give it a smooth profile in addition to having a wide shoulder width and an exterior shape that exudes a sense of volume.
Its front carries the jewel-like headlights and the brand’s signature grille design. With the use of flowing curves, the front portion of the Versa Sedan manages to merge flawlessly into the cabin. Further, by utilizing the design elements, an example of which is how the trunklid has been shaped, results in this new sedan having amazing aerodynamics. In fact, it even has a coefficient of drag as low as 0.31.
To guarantee that functionality would remain excellent, both the design team and the engineering team tackled new concepts as early as during the initial stage. A good example of this is on the sweeping roofline, specifically the indented line that one sees in the middle. While it is indeed a design feature, it also has a functional purpose. By having this indented line, the amplitude of the vibrations that occur on the roof panel is reduced resulting in a quieter interior. In some vehicles, in order to achieve this, they often use reinforcement devices known as mass bumpers.
That is not present in the Versa Sedan however. Castignetti adds that the extraordinary collaboration between the engineering and the design teams has led to levels of sophistication that can’t only be seen but also felt. With this, it offers a sense of value that goes above the purchase price, something that’s expected from larger and even more expensive sedans, he continues.
Other features that can be seen on the exterior are the fixed roof antenna and the fog lights on the front. There are also the front and rear fascia that come in body color and the grille with the chrome accents. Finally there are the door handles in chrome and the blacked-out B-pillar.
The brand is offering eight colors for the exterior of the 2012 Versa Sedan. These include Blue Onyx, Brilliant Silver, Fresh Powder, Magnetic Gray, Metallic Blue, Red Brick, and Super Black. The eighth color made available is Titanium, which in the past was used solely for the Nissan GT-R.