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2018 nissan Versa Sedan

The Versa sedan has been the top-selling subcompact in recent years due to its combination of strong fuel efficiency, excellent interior space and low pricing - in fact, it's the cheapest car on sale in the U.S. Unfortunately, the latter is reflected in the Versa's poor interior quality and mediocre driving dynamics.

Overview
Tall buyers on a budget will find much to like in the modestly-priced Versa, which offers a cavernous cabin. Space up front is ample, and there's more rear seat legroom than in the BMW 5 Series, the Mercedes-Benz E-class, and the short-wheelbase Lexus LS. Cargo capacity is also an area of strength, with the trunk measuring a generous 14.8 cubic feet.

Up front, the dashboard features easy-to-use controls but suffers from decidedly downmarket materials. At least revisions like a new center stack, steering wheel and instrument cluster freshen things up for the latest model year. The Versa SL is now available with NissanConnect, a touchscreen-based connectivity suite that includes Bluetooth with streaming audio, Pandora radio capability, navigation and a Hands-Free Text Messaging Assistant setup that reads incoming text messages and allows drivers to reply without taking their hands off of the steering wheel.

All Versas are powered by a 1.6-liter inline-four that produces 109 horsepower and 107 lb-ft of torque. However, three different transmissions are available. A five-speed manual is standard, returning 27/36 city/highway mpg. The self-shifting choice is a CVT that boosts economy to 30/40 mpg.

Nissan recently revised the Versa's steering and suspension for improved responsiveness.

Outside, the Versa wears reshaped sheetmetal that's highlighted by new touches like more fluid headlights, Nissan's latest corporate grille, and a more assertive rear fascia.

Standard and optional features
The Versa comes in three distinct trim levels: S, S Plus, and SV.

The value-leader S is equipped with the five-speed manual in addition to an AM/FM/CD stereo with four speakers and an auxiliary audio input jack, air conditioning a trip computer and low rolling-resistance tires. Concessions to the low price include 15-inch steel wheels with hubcaps, roll-up windows, body-colored side mirrors and manual locks.

Depending on the trim level selected, the list of options includes a leather-wrapped steering wheel, 15-inch alloy wheels, and fog lights.

Occupant safety
All Versa models come equipped with dual front, side and side-curtain airbags, along with stability and traction control systems, ABS, and a tire-pressure monitoring system.

The Versa Sedan also received a Top Safety Pick rating from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety.

Key competitors
Nissan's Versa Sedan breaks the traditional mold of the compact sedan, opting for more room at the cost of content. As a result, it is larger than competitors like the Toyota Corolla, the Honda Civic, and the Chevrolet Cruze but less expensive and not quite as well appointed, either. The Hyundai Elantra and Kia Rio offer similar value equations, albeit with less room and more content.