Small on the outside, big on the inside. Smart technology with next-generation efficiency. A low starting M.S.R.P. and low cost of ownership. Mass production dual injector system and sub-planetary CVT design. Exceptional highway fuel economy of 4.8 Litres / 100 km. The global "V" (for Versatile) platform. Sophisticated styling, high quality interior.
There are a myriad of ways the 2014 Nissan Versa Sedan breaks ground for entry-level compact sedans. And many ways to sum them all up. But perhaps a simple statement is best: Innovation Upsized.
"Compact cars are becoming more and more popular as people become more attuned to rising fuel costs and their own environmental footprint. Despite a buyers best intentions, what they often find are vehicles rife with compromise," says Brian Thomas, Director of Marketing, Nissan Canada, Inc. "The 2014 Versa Sedan has a 'clean sheet' ground-up design, and takes small cars in a whole new direction – proving that you don't have to sacrifice style for affordability, interior roominess for a smaller footprint, or drivability for high fuel efficiency."
Small When You Need It, Big Where You Want It
Knowing that entry-level vehicles are used as "workhorses" – for commuting on weekdays, errand running on weekends and transporting family and friends all week long – the designers of the Versa Sedan sought to combine five-passenger practicality with a high degree of comfort and refinement. It also offers an unexpected level of available entertainment and connectivity features, such as Bluetooth® , Hands-free Phone System, NissanConnect with navigation system with 5-inch touch-screen display, RearView Monitor, I-key with Push Button Start, XM Satellite Radio, steering wheel mounted audio controls and an iPod®/USB interface.
"Buyers in this segment are typically people on the go. They are busy and often divided between work, family and relaxing," explains Thomas. "With the amount of time they typically spend in their vehicles, the goal was to make sure they feel good about their purchase long after the new car smell has worn off. Features like Fine Vision instrumentation, quality fabrics, new improved seat comfort, chrome trim and key fob trunk release are all investments in areas drivers see and touch most."
The Versa Sedan's interior volume of 2,554 litres / 90 cubic feet and trunk volume of 422 litres / 14.9 cubic feet (2,976 litres / 105.1 cubic feet total) are intended to not only look great on a specifications sheet – the passenger and cargo spaces have been configured for real-world use. Versa Sedan has, for example, more rear legroom than some mid-size sedans. And the trunk design focuses on useable space, taking into consideration everything from the size of the hinges to the shape of the sidewalls. A 60/40-split fold-down rear seat is offered on SV and SL models for even greater versatility.
Other available interior features include power windows with driver's one-touch down, speed-sensing auto door locks, remote trunk release lever and steering wheel-mounted audio controls. One interior colour is available, charcoal.
The 2014 Versa Sedan's exterior design is also a departure from most current compact sedans, offering a fresh, refreshing design character that is both sophisticated and highly aerodynamic.
"The 2014 Versa Sedan has a lot of eye power with its chic style and luxury feel, but it is the affordability that makes it the most desirable vehicle in its class," said Thomas. "Its sculpted, dynamic proportions are modern without being gimmicky, projecting a much higher sense of design value than you might expect in a vehicle with a low starting M.S.R.P."
To achieve the 2014 Versa Sedan's upscale look, the designers continued to give the exterior shape a strong sense of volume, with a wide shoulder width and a smooth silhouette. In front, Versa Sedan features Nissan's signature sedan grille design and jewel-like headlights.
The front end blends smoothly into the cabin, which offers flowing curves, while design elements such as the shape of the trunk lid help give the Versa Sedan excellent aerodynamics. Models equipped with the CVT transmission offer a low coefficient of drag of just 0.31 (0.32 for manual transmission models without the front tire and centre fascia air deflectors) and all grades now use low-rolling resistance tires.
In addition, collaboration between the designers and the engineering team helped ensure superb functionality. For example, the indented line in the middle of the Versa Sedan's sweeping roofline is not just a design feature, but a functional innovation that helps reduce the amplitude of the roof panel vibrations in order to create a quiet cabin interior without the use of reinforcement devices called "mass bumpers."
"Design and engineering came together in an extraordinary collaboration to create a level of sophistication that pleases the eye as well as the soul," adds Thomas. "It provides a sense of practical value that goes far beyond the mere purchase price, much like you expect from larger, more expensive sedans."
Other exterior features include a fixed roof antenna, body-colour front and rear fascias and available chrome-accented grille, new high gloss black B-pillar, chrome door handles and front fog lights.
The 2014 Versa Sedan is offered in four exterior colours, including Brilliant Silver, Magnetic Grey, Super Black and Fresh Powder
Next-Generation Efficiency and V Platform
One of the biggest challenges in designing a compact sedan, of course, is where to put everything – people, cargo, engine, transmission and other mechanical components. Often the solution is to gather a fraction of an inch here, a fraction there and hope they add up to a usable benefit. For the Versa Sedan, the approach was a little more radical – create a global platform and drivetrain, reducing the size of engine and transmission while expanding the occupant envelope.
"Last year's redesign was unusual for a second generation vehicle, but when driven in a culture of innovation, such investments are easy to make," explains Thomas. "The 2014 Versa Sedan continues that tradition."
The 2014 Versa Sedan's front-wheel drive global "V" platform, designated "V" for Versatile, utilizes nearly 20 per cent fewer platform components and weighs around 68kgs (150 pounds) less than the previous "B" platform. While retaining the same 2,600 mm / 102.4-inch wheelbase and 1,695 mm/ 66.7-inch width as the previous generation Versa Sedan, the model is 30.4 mm/ 1.2 inches lower in height (1,514 mm/ 59.6 inches) and 15mm/ 0.6 inches shorter in overall length (4455mm/ 175.4 inches). The biggest dimensional gain, however, is in the visible gain in trunk length – provided by a more compact engine/transmission design that allows for a 68.58 mm / 2.7-inch increase in rear overhang (the distance from the center of the rear tire to the rear bumper).
"The 2014 Versa Sedan proves not all small sedans are creative equal, especially when it comes to packaging and aerodynamic efficiency, says Thomas. "The same can be said of the engine, which beautifully balances responsive power and smooth, quiet operation, while keeping environmental performance top of mind"
The second-generation 1.6-litre HR16DE 4-cylinder engine includes a range of cutting-edge technologies, making it one of the most advanced powerplants in class. For example, while the average engine uses only one injector per cylinder to inject fuel, the Versa Sedan engine is equipped with two streamlined injectors mounted near the inlet valve for each cylinder. This dual injector system allows a wider injection of fuel, with the smaller nozzles delivering a finer spray (approximately 57 per cent finer than the previous generation single injector design's particle size) to help achieve stable combustion.
The compact, light-weight engine also utilizes a twin Continuously Variable Timing Control (CVTC) system mounted on both intake and exhaust ports (versus conventional CVTC systems which are mounted only on the intake port), similar to the system used on the flagship Nissan Maxima. Using a CVTC on the outlet port increases thermal efficiency, decreases inhalation resistance and offers an approximate 4 per cent improvement in fuel efficiency.
"To incorporate advanced technology like the Dual Injector system into an entry-level vehicle is very fitting of Nissan's corporate philosophy of 'innovation for all' – we brought this technology to high volume segments rather than exclusively high-end machines," says Thomas. "The Dual Injector system also means a reduction in the amount of rare metals used in the catalyzer, which reduces the amount of unburned fuel and hydrocarbon emissions."
The 1.6-litre engine is rated at 109 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm and 107 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm (preliminary estimates).
The Versa Sedan is available with a 5-speed manual transmission (1.6 S and SV models) and with a next-generation Xtronic CVT™ transmission. The CVT allows continuous change of the transmission gear ratio by connecting the two pulleys with a metallic belt and changing their diameter by using hydraulic pressure. The CVT design even includes an auxiliary gearbox using planetary gearing, helping improve efficiency.
The CVT design also features a transmission ratio of 7.3, which is broader than those of conventional CVTs and even typical 7-speed automatic transmissions. Friction is reduced by about 30 per cent, weight by about 13 per cent and overall size by about 10 per cent versus the previous Versa Sedan CVT design.
Versa also offers low rolling resistance P185/65R15 all-season tires with available 15-inch aluminum-alloy wheels.
"The 2014 Versa Sedan engine burns cleaner and uses less fuel, which combined with the CVT performance and better aerodynamics reduces overall fuel consumption by about 10 per cent," says Thomas. "Everyone wins with better fuel efficiency – less stops at the pump and more 'room in the wallet' for other activities."
Fuel economy for the 2014 Versa Sedan is estimated at 6.1 Litres/ 100 km City, 4.8 Litres / 100 km Highway and 5.5 Litres / 100 km Combined, with the CVT transmission: 7.4//6.5 Litres/100 km, with the 5-speed manual transmission.
All 2014 Versa Sedans are equipped with an independent MacPherson strut front suspension and torsion beam rear suspension, with front and rear stabilizer bars. Other standard equipment includes Electric Power Steering and power-assisted front disc/rear drum brakes. Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) and Traction Control System (TCS), Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist (BA) are also standard on all Versa Sedan models.
In addition, the Versa will be branded with the PURE DRIVE designation. PURE DRIVE will be used on models utilizing Nissan's most advanced technologies to promote eco-friendly driving and lower CO2 emissions.
Standard safety features found on every 2014 Versa Sedan include the Nissan Advanced Air Bag System (AABS) (includes dual-stage front supplemental air bags and front seat side-impact supplemental air bags for chest protection), seat-mounted driver and front passenger side-impact supplemental air bags, and roof-mounted curtain side-impact air bags for front and rear outboard occupant head protection.
Additional safety features include standard LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) system, child safety rear door locks, child seat upper tether anchors.
The 2014 Nissan Versa Sedan will be available in four well-equipped models – Versa Sedan 1.6 S MT (offered in 5MT), Versa Sedan 1.6 SV MT, Versa Sedan 1.6 SV CVT and Versa Sedan 1.6 SL CVT.
Along with the 1.6 S model's many standard features, the 1.6 SV adds Air Conditioning, Remote Keyless Entry, Fine Vision instrumentation, chrome grille accents, 60/40-split fold-down rear seat, colour-upgraded cloth seats, power windows and more.
Versa Sedan 1.6 SL models add 15-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, fog lights, variable intermittent wipers, chromed inside door handles, Bluetooth® Hands-free Phone System and I-key with Push Button Start and steering wheel audio controls, USB/iPod® connectivity, upgraded audio system, door-linked map lights and more.
Just one option packages is offered: the SL Tech Package which includes NissanConnect with NavigationSM, 5.8-inch colour touch-screen display, Nissan Voice Recognition for audio and navigation, NavTraffic, POIs powered by Google™, Google™ Send-to-Car, Streaming audio via Bluetooth®, Hands-free text messaging assistant and Rear View Monitor.
The 2014 Versa Sedan will be manufactured at Nissan's Aguascalientes, Mexico assembly plant that also builds Nissan Sentra models for the Canadian market.
"The 2014 Versa Sedan is a picture of volume – exceptional interior volume, the most style per dollar, high fuel efficiency and low CO2 emissions," concludes Thomas. "The Big Small Car is bringing Innovation Within Reach to an eagerly awaiting audience."
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