When the all-new Nissan Versa was launched in North America for the 2007 model year, there was a cautious optimism that its breakout combination of outstanding roominess, comfort, fuel efficiency, style, safety and versatility would find acceptance in the marketplace. One year later, Versa is a major success, with sales building month after month – attracting a wide range of buyers seeking a dynamic alternative to traditional entry-level hatchbacks and sedan. For 2008, Versa expands its appeal with an optional Sport Package for Versa Sedan SL models (already available on Versa Hatchback SL).
Built on Nissan’s proven B-platform, Versa’s unique packaging layout provides a spacious cabin with class-leading head and rear leg room. Versa also offers the highest standard horsepower rating in class and unexpected available technology, including include Nissan’s Intelligent Key, a Bluetooth® Hands-free Phone System, a Rockford Fosgate subwoofer, an auxiliary mp3 player input and XM® Satellite Radio.
“Along with its low cost of entry, Versa offers exceptional interior space and a responsive driving experience, empowering buyers to make their choice based on want they want, not what they can afford,” said Ian Forsyth, Director, Product Planning, Nissan Canada Inc. “Add in Versa’s fresh styling, a comfortable interior and innovation found only in higher segment vehicles and it creates a smart, uncompromising choice. No wonder Versa has been one of our most successful new product introductions in recent Nissan history.”
Versa Hatchback went on sale in July 2006, with the Versa Sedan model following in January 2007.
Two Distinctive Body Styles, One Powerful Drivetrain
The front-wheel drive Versa is offered in two body styles, a 5-door hatchback and 4-door sedan – each available in two well-equipped models, the Versa 1.8 S or the Versa 1.8 SL.
The exterior of the Versa Hatchback and Sedan, with their long 2600 mm (102.4-inch) wheelbases and short front and rear overhangs, feature a dynamic look and attention to detail, as seen in the large headlights, signature Nissan grille and large taillights. The Versa exteriors also feature body-colour front and rear bumpers, large headlights, body-colour dual remote-controlled outside mirrors and a coefficient of drag of 0.31.
“Versa’s expressive styling is another strong selling point, exceeding the usual expectations in class, with a touch of sophistication and, definitely, quality – instead of the traditional bland, boxy, cheap-feeling small hatches and sedans,” said Forsyth. “Versa’s crisp, youthful body forms and long rooflines suggest both the roominess inside and Versa’s performance capabilities.”
A Sport Package is now available on the 2008 Versa Sedan 1.8 SL model (previously offered on Versa Hatchback 1.8 SL). The Sport Package adds a higher level of performance styling with a rear spoiler (roof-mounted for Hatchback, decklid-mounted for Sedan), lower body side sill extensions, power glass moonroof, unique front and rear fascia (Hatchback) and chin spoiler (Sedan) and fog lights.
All 2008 Versas feature a standard 16-valve 1.8-litre DOHC 4-cylinder engine and a choice of three transmissions: an available Nissan Xtronic CVT™ (Continuously Variable Transmission) (SL models), available 4-speed electronically controlled automatic with overdrive (S models) or standard 6-speed manual transmission.
With 122 horsepower and 127 lb-ft of torque, the 1.8-litre engine is powerful and responsive, but it also delivers excellent fuel economy. Estimated 2008 EPA fuel economy is 27 mpg City/33 mpg Highway with the CVT transmission; 24 mpg City/31 mpg highway with the 4-speed automatic transmission; and 26 mpg City/31 mpg Highway with the 6-speed manual transmission.
The Xtronic CVT, unlike conventional stepped gear automatics, 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 the Xtronic CVT in Versa, we’re putting our best technology on our entry-level vehicle,” said Forsyth.
All 2008 Versas 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, power-assist front disc/rear drum brakes and 15-inch wheels with P185/65HR15 tires. Also available are an Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist (BA) and 15-inch 6-spoke aluminum-alloy wheels.
A Highly “Versatile” Interior
In Versa, Nissan’s design and engineering teams found a way to fit a large interior in a small car. Interior length, front to back, is more than six feet. Both the Versa Hatchback and Versa Sedan have large cargo areas, ideal for owners with highly active lives. Versa Hatchback models feature a 60/40 split fold-down rear bench that allows for a wider spectrum of passenger/cargo space combinations.
“The ‘versatile space’ provided by the roomy interior and cargo area is reflected in the vehicle’s name, Versa,” said Forsyth. “Versa has the longest front-to-back cabin in its class, with plenty of leg room both up front and in the back seat simultaneously. Plus there’s no need to be sliding the front seats forward every time there are more than two people in the car.”
Along with a spacious cabin, Versa offers a clean, simple, high quality interior design and excellent craftsmanship. The front seats are nearly as large as Maxima’s and comfort is a priority for all passengers. The wide, laterally oriented instrument panel underscores Versa’s width, while the low centre console flows freely toward the rear, giving a sense of the interior’s length.
Both Sedan and Hatchback designs also integrate convenient storage solutions, including in the centre console, glove box, front doors and an in-dash CD storage compartment. In addition, Versa comes with a long list of standard and available equipment, including available Intelligent Key, Bluetooth® Hands-Free Phone System, satellite radio and Clarion speakers with a Rockford Fosgate-powered subwoofer.
Standard Safety Features and a 5-Star Rating
Versa has received the highest possible ratings in both government (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – “5 stars”) and private (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety – “Good”) safety tests, thanks in part to safety features including 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), and available roof-mounted curtain side-impact air bags for front and rear outboard occupant head protection.
Additional safety features on 2008 Versas include standard LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren) system, child safety rear door locks, child seat upper tether anchors, front seat Active Head Restraints.
Models and Manufacturing
The 2008 Versa is offered in four Hatchback models: Versa 1.8 S with 6-speed manual, Versa 1.8 S with 4-speed automatic, Versa 1.8 SL with 6-speed manual and Versa 1.8 SL with Xtronic CVT. The 2008 Versa Sedan is available in three models: Versa 1.8 S with 6-speed manual, Versa 1.8 S with 4-speed automatic and Versa 1.8 SL with Xtronic CVT.
Available packages and equipment includes the Sport Package, Tech Package, CVT Transmission Package, Automatic Transmission Package, VOP Package, Power Package, Convenience Package, ABS Package and XM Satellite Radio.
“Versa allows price-conscious consumers to have it all in one attractive, affordable package – roominess, comfort, style, performance, fuel efficiency and high quality,” said Forsyth. “Versa 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.”
Versa is manufactured at Nissan’s Aguascalientes, Mexico assembly plant that also builds Nissan Sentra models for the United States market.