Nissan Versa Performance
While reviewers note that the 2014 Nissan Versa offers good maneuverability and a comfortable ride, others say that the Versa’s engine provides adequate power at best. Though some reviewers note that the Versa offers acceptable performance for a subcompact car, others write that cars like the Ford Fiesta and Honda Fit are more fun to drive.
- "Although performance and handling typically aren't primary concerns for consumers shopping in this class, they still might factor into your decision after you take a few test-drives. The Versa falls a bit flat here: Apart from its comfortable ride, it's not a particularly inspiring car to drive." -- Edmunds
- "Though its road-going behavior will never be called exciting, the Versa is an easy car to drive and maneuver." -- Kelley Blue Book
- “For a basic economy car with no overt performance pretensions, Versa is nimble and fun to drive." -- Consumer Guide (2013)
- "Vanilla, but solid and confident. That might sound damning, but Versa delivers precisely the pleasant character a mass-appeal car should." -- Popular Mechanics (2012)
Acceleration and Power
The 2014 Nissan Versa is powered by a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 109 horsepower. A five-speed manual transmission and front-wheel drive are standard. A four-speed automatic transmission is optional on the base sedan model, while all higher trims come with a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Equipped with an automatic transmission, the base Versa gets an EPA-estimated 26/35 mpg city/highway, which is on the low end of the segment. Higher trims with the CVT get 31/40 mpg city/highway, which is excellent for the class.
Test drivers say that the Versa’s four-cylinder engine is likely to be sufficient for most drivers, though they note that it struggles to accelerate at highway speeds or on large hills. Additionally, they appreciate the good gas mileage in models equipped with the CVT, but some say that the Versa’s CVT could be more responsive when more power is needed.
- “Predictably, acceleration from the 109-hp I-4 is best described as adequate. We didn't have a chance to drive a Versa Note S with the five-speed manual, but our SV and SL test cars with the CVT were well matched for duty on both the streets and freeways of San Diego. However, the powertrain labored on the large hills of the Pacific Coast Highway." -- Automobile Magazine
- "The power issue only really matters when merging onto the highway or trying to pass at speed." -- Consumer Guide
- "Passing slower traffic or tackling steep grades takes some planning, as the CVT is mostly unresponsive until you floor the pedal once again. Then you wait for the underhood cow to awaken to pull past. When it comes to power, the Note goes no further than adequate." -- Edmunds
- "With just 109 horsepower, the 2014 Versa sedan's acceleration ability is only barely adequate for getting up to freeway speeds." -- Kelley Blue Book
Handling and Braking
Test drivers note that the Versa isn’t the most dynamic subcompact car in the class, especially in comparison with competitors like the Ford Fiesta and Honda Fit. Still, some say that the Versa offers predictable handling and a tight turning radius, as well as a comfortable, quiet ride.
- "Ride quality is a little less harsh than before, and the Versa Note feels slightly steadier on its feet than prior Versa hatch models, although large bumps do occasionally unsettle the rear beam axle. The Versa Note isn't necessarily the most engaging subcompact we've driven, but its steering is both sharp and decently weighted at speed." -- Automobile Magazine
- "The Versa's suspension is tuned for comfort, and the result is a smooth ride quality that many subcompact models can't match. On the other hand, the small Nissan's steering and handling are pretty uninspiring compared with most competitors. You'll probably never notice those characteristics if you only drive your Nissan Versa to the office and back, but if you want something more fun, the Fiesta and Fit are worth a look." -- Edmunds
- "The steering is light, its turning radius is tight, and visibility is very good from the driver's seat." -- Kelley Blue Book
- "For now, though, we'll add that the ride quality is quite good for a car in this class, the wind noise minimal, and the low-rolling-resistance tires commendably quiet on all but the roughest surfaces." -- Car and Driver
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