Since the launch of the innovative 2000 Nissan Xterra, Nissan North America, Inc. (NNA) has essentially doubled the number of vehicles in its lineup. The company has broken new ground in design and entered into market segments where it previously had not competed, such as full-size trucks and SUVs. Now, following such new entries as the 350Z, Murano, Quest, Titan and Armada, and new generations of virtually every other vehicle, Nissan introduces an all-new entry-level hatchback and sedan, the 2007 Nissan Versa.
The Versa hatchback went on sale in July 2006, with the Versa sedan following in early 2007. The Versa hatchback has a starting MSRP of $12,550. Combined with the popular Nissan Sentra, the new Versa gives Nissan a major presence in the under $20,000 market, which currently accounts for nearly 1.9 million annual sales.
“The Versa hatchback and sedan are slotted below Sentra in price, but not execution,” said Bill Bosley, vice president and general manager, Nissan Division. “They are ‘entry-level’ in their affordability, but they make no excuses – zero – in terms of quality, design, performance, safety, technology and, especially, roominess.”
The name Versa reflects the “versatile space” provided by the roomy interior and cargo area. Versa is called Tiida in Mexico, Japan, China and other markets where the car is sold. And while Versa has a global footprint, the design, specifications and equipment offerings are customized for each major market.
The new Versa is built on Nissan’s “B” platform, with priorities placed on interior roominess, a high quality interior and comfortable, stress-free environment. In creating the Versa packaging, the design and engineering teams found a way to put a big interior in a small car. The interior length, front to back, is over six feet long.
“Rear seat leg room and knee room in the Versa is tremendous,” said Bosley. “Typically in a small car, the driver and front seat passenger have to pull their seats forward just to make minimal leg room for the rear passengers – which means nobody, front or rear, enjoys the ride. With Versa, there’s room in front and room in back at the same time.” Both the Versa hatchback and Versa sedan also feature large cargo areas, ideal for owners with highly active lives.
Along with a spacious cabin, Versa offers a high quality interior design and craftsmanship. The front seats are nearly as large as Maxima’s and comfort is a priority for all passengers. The interior features a clean, simple design and layout that accentuates its surprising roominess. The wide, laterally oriented instrument panel underscores Versa’s width, while the low center console flows freely toward the rear, giving a sense of the interior’s length.
The exterior of the Versa hatchback and sedan feature a dynamic look and attention to detail, as seen in the large headlights, signature Nissan grille and large taillights. The crisp, youthful body forms and long rooflines suggest both the roominess inside and Versa’s performance capabilities.
“Versa’s styling is another strong point, exceeding the usual expectations in class, with a touch of sophistication and definitely quality,” said Bosley.
Versa is designed to provide Nissan’s trademark enjoyable, stress-free experience through use of an all-new 1.8-liter DOHC inline 4-cylinder engine that satisfies both performance and environmental requirements. Three transmissions will be available with the 2007 Versa, including Nissan’s advanced Xtronic CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission).
At 122 horsepower and 127 lb-ft of torque, the engine is powerful and responsive, but it also delivers excellent fuel economy. Estimated fuel economy is 30 mpg City/36 mpg Highway with the CVT transmission, 30 mpg City/34 mpg Highway with the 6-speed manual transmission, and 28 mpg City/34 mpg highway with the 4-speed automatic transmission.
Unlike conventional stepped gear automatics, the new Xtronic CVT operates as essentially “one gear” through use of a belt and two pulleys. By infinitely varying the working diameters of the two pulleys, the transmission eliminates the “steps” between gears, resulting in a smoother, more efficient operation by keeping the engine in its optimum power range under a variety of driving and load conditions.
“With the availability of CVT in Versa, we’re putting our best technology on our entry-level vehicle,” said Bosley.
Safety is another Versa strong point with 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), standard Tire Pressure Monitor System (TPMS), available roof-mounted curtain side-impact air bags for front and rear outboard occupant head protection, LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren) system, child safety rear door locks, child seat upper tether anchors and front seat Active Head Restraints.
The Versa hatchback and sedan are offered in several models and with a long list of standard and available features and amenities, including available Intelligent Key, Bluetooth® Hands-Free Phone System, satellite radio and Rockford Fosgate-powered subwoofer.
Versa is manufactured at Nissan’s Aguascalientes, Mexico assembly plant that currently builds Nissan Sentra models for the U.S. market.
“Versa allows price-conscious consumers to have it all in one attractive, affordable package – roominess, comfort, style, performance, fuel efficiency and high quality,” said Bosley. “With consumer interest growing in smaller vehicles, Versa provides value without sacrifice. It also opens up the Nissan dealer shopping and service experience to a wide range of consumers who may have only previously dreamed about owning a Nissan.”