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#34

in 2012 Affordable Small Cars

Avg. Price Paid: $10,457 - $12,401
Original MSRP: $10,990 - $15,990
MPG: 27 City / 36 Hwy
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2012 Nissan Versa Interior

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

While the Nissan Versa sedan is completely redesigned for 2012, reviewers are singing the same tune they did with the previous generation. The Versa’s interior has a ton of hard plastics, thin seat fabric and an unrefined navigation system, but that’s what they expect from a model at this price point. The Versa’s greatest trait is its huge trunk and spacious cabin that can fit adults comfortably in the front and back.

  • "The engineering is straightforward, the styling is unpretentious and the cabin roomy." -- The New York Times
  • "Aside from its funky nav system graphics and interface, the Versa's interior is hard to complain about. OK, the seat bottoms are a little short for full-size Americans and there's no armrest between the front seats, which is also a problem in our long-term Juke. But that's it. Otherwise, the inside of the Versa is a fine place to spend time." -- Edmunds
  • "The instrument panel’s plastic surfaces are relatively hard plastic and not terribly inviting, but remember, the base car starts at just under $11,000, so it’s not surprising that the interior looks a bit plain." -- Kansas City Star
  • "Three niggles become noticeable during our drive through Seattle: First, highway cruising produces a substantial amount of interior noise." -- Motor Trend

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Seating 

The Nissan Versa has solidified a reputation as a small car with a huge second row that will fit three passengers with few complaints and a front row that’s comfortable for tall adults. According to automotive journalists, that holds true for the 2012 Versa sedan. But, reviewers caution shoppers not to be surprised by the thin cushions and cheap fabric on the base model. Cloth seats are standard on all models, but the base sedan and hatchback have seats that are significantly cheaper than the ones available on the highest trims.

  • "At 6 feet, 6 inches tall, my half-Norwegian, half-Swedish co-pilot is no small gentleman. At 175.4 inches long, 66.7 inches wide, and 59.6 inches tall, the 2012 Nissan Versa is a relatively small five-passenger sedan. Yet surprisingly, the two work well together. He fits inside the popular B-segment car and his neck isn't kinked at nearly 90 degrees. We're both quite comfortable in the new Nissan." -- Motor Trend
  • "The airy cabin lacks high-grade material, but there's zero doubt it's comfortable. The fact that even the base model gets a height-adjustable driver's seat is important." -- Popular Mechanics
  • "Nissan has put some sweat into the details, even including height adjustment on the driver seat." -- Edmunds
  • "The Versa remains roomy for the class, but the surprising plushness of the old model is gone. It now feels efficient but rather hard-edged and dour." -- Consumer Reports

Interior Features

Inside the Nissan Versa, hard plastics abound, but test drivers aren’t as disappointed with the Versa’s interior quality as they thought they would be. At this price point, no car will have exceptional build quality, and for about $11,000, the Versa sedan scrapes by with hard plastics, a weak FM radio and an optional navigation system that is hard to use. Test drivers dislike the navigation system more than any other feature because the zoom function erases street names if you zoom out too much, and makes it impossible to use the map when it’s zoomed in.

The base Versa sedan comes standard with air conditioning and a two-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo that also has an auxiliary jack. Shoppers who want satellite radio will have to upgrade to the SV trim and add it as an optional feature. On the highest trim, navigation is optional, and Bluetooth is standard.  

The Versa hatchback has a slightly better list of standard features, but not by much. The base model has a four-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo, auxiliary jack and power windows and locks. You must add an automatic transmission to the base model to get the option for Bluetooth, navigation, USB port and satellite radio.

  • "Simple controls make for safer driving, and Versa's dash layout is about as straightforward as it gets. …" -- About.com
  • "I didn't miss soft-touch plastics, infotainment, or anything else while I was driving the Versa. My only complaint is that the FM radio has pretty weak reception in comparison to pretty much every other car I've driven this year." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "A redesigned dash and center console with rounder shapes bring new life to a cabin that previously suffered from an overabundance of plain, hard plastics. Don't get us wrong; they're still there, but not as noticeable." -- Motor Trend
  • "Although it's a unique and quite attractive proposal to offer an in-dash navigation system in an ‘economy car,’ our limited experience with this one was less than ideal. It's the same unit Nissan uses in its fun-to-drive Juke crossover, and it has considerable interface shortcomings. … In fact, during our time with the Versa we reverted to using our mobile phone because its map and interface were superior." -- Edmunds

Cargo

Reviewers are quite impressed with the Nissan Versa’s 14.8 cubic feet of cargo space that competes with the amount of storage available in larger sedans, but they complain the large space comes with a few cost-cutting measures. One is the trunk’s hinges that could crush luggage, and another is the Versa’s fold-down back seat that is only available on the highest trim. Test drivers say that’s a glaring omission because most small cars have this feature standard.

The hatchback has even more space with 17.8 cubic feet available with the rear seats up, and 50.4 available with them folded down. Those are good numbers for a hatchback, but the Honda Fit, which starts at about $15,200, tops both of these numbers, with 20.6 cubic feet with the rear seats up and 57.3 with them folded. 

  • "The trunk is quite large, and the top SL has split-folding rear seats that expand the cargo capacity even more." -- Kansas City Star
  • "And while I'm complaining, why does only the top-of-the-line Versa SV get a fold-down back seat? That seems like a rather ridiculous bit of cost cutting - good thing the trunk is so big at 14.8 cubic feet." -- About.com
  • "The C-hinges in the trunk are unprotected and could squish packages or luggage." -- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

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