in 2009 Hatchbacks

Avg. Price Paid: $6,182 - $9,569
Original MSRP: $9,990 - $16,330
MPG: 26 City / 31 Hwy
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2009 Nissan Versa Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

The 2009 Nissan Versa is an adequate performer, even if it's not an exciting one. However, a number of reviewers are pleased with the car's responsive steering.

  • "It makes 122 horsepower, which is enough to distance it from the 1.5 and 1.6-liter norms of the subcompact arena. Still, even with the extra ten or fifteen horsepower the Versa is no fireball." -- Automobile.com
  • "A little bit dull to drive; performance is midpack." -- Car and Driver
  • "It feels quite confident in the corners and exhibits good stability on expressways." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Steering is responsive, although coarse road surfaces can be felt through the wheel. … The brake pedal has a nice feel, but stopping distances are average." -- MSN

Acceleration and Power

Reviewers are pleased with the Versa's level of oomph, as long as they keep the car's engine, dimensions and class in mind. The Nissan Versa offers 1.8- and 1.6-liter engines that make 122 and 107 horsepower, respectively. SL drivers can opt for a continuously variable transmission for better acceleration and fuel economy. However, the Toyota Yaris' has more impressive fuel numbers, achieving 29/35 mpg city/highway with its four-speed automatic.

According to the EPA, the Sentra gets 26/34 mpg with the 1.6-liter engine and manual transmission.

  • "We've been pleased with the Versa. It has plenty of zip and there's no problem merging into traffic on a fast free-flowing freeway." -- New Car Test Drive 
  • "Almost no engine noise is noticeable in ordinary driving and you hear only a tolerable light snarl during hard acceleration." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The Versa is also surprisingly pleasant to drive for a $10,000 car. The 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine packs only 107 horsepower, but the buzzy note you'd expect in a small car with a tiny engine is absent from the Versa." -- Washington Examiner
  • "Manual and 4-speed-automatic transmission versions feel labored and weak at low speed. … SL with the CVT feels livelier from a stop and provides acceptable passing response." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The driving experience in the Versa can be summed up in a word: Boring." -- BusinessWeek

Handling and Braking

Test drivers describe the Versa's ride quality as satisfactory, and have sound impressions of the steering, but mixed ones of the braking.

  • "Handling is capable. … But it's a mild, safe kind of capable, with moderate levels of front plow and plenty of wheel travel to soak up urban potholes." -- Motor Week
  • "We found the car's handling to be perfectly adequate. It's not sporty like a Mini Cooper, nor is it sloppy like budget cars of a few years ago. Sporty drivers might wish for more feedback from the steering and more power, but there's no reason for others to complain." -- New Car Test Drive 
  • "Out on the highway, there was some road and wind noise above about 65 miles per hour but overall it was a quiet car for the price. Handling was good even with the smaller 14" wheels." -- MarketWatch
  • "The front discs provided excellent stopping power." -- About.com
  • "Our non-ABS Versa stopped from 60 mph in 152 feet and made us pretty nervous in the process." -- Edmunds

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