2010 Nissan Versa Expert Review

You'll Like The 2010 Nissan Versa If...

The 2010 Nissan Versa leads the small-car pack in spaciousness, which is worth considering if you carry passengers in the back seat. Standing tall in both dimensions and refinement, it may also tempt those who appreciate the smoothness of a CVT, which promises 34 miles per gallon on the highway (according to EPA fuel-economy estimates).

You May Not Like The 2010 Nissan Versa If...

Nissan's Versa might not satisfy you if you need to fit three full-size occupants into the rear, but that's common for entry-level compacts. If you like anti-lock braking but don't want to pay extra for it, it's an option on the base Versa Sedan, not standard equipment.

What's New

For 2010, the Versa gets a slight freshening, sporting a new grille, new seat fabric, new wheel options and a white illuminated meter cluster. The SL trim gains an iPod interface, Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) and traction control, as well as last year's Sport Package as standard equipment. New options for the SL include a cool navigation system retailing for around $600 that includes XM NavTraffic real-time traffic alerts.

Interior Features

The Versa provides considerably more knee and foot space than many larger automobiles, and front and rear headroom are also abundant. Seats that are close to "chair-height" give impressive comfort, and double French-seam stitching on the upholstery is but one indicator of careful attention to detail. The compact rear suspension results in a low, flat cargo floor, and the front seats are nearly as large as a Maxima's. As in so many smaller cars, the center rear seating position is not the most comfortable.

Exterior Features

The tidy Versa succeeds at not being boxy or bland. Taller and more upright in stance than most small cars, the Versa is exceptionally easy to enter. You can see at a glance that the passenger compartment takes up much of the car's length, the back doors are particularly long and the windshield is about as far forward as possible. Five-door hatchbacks excel in versatility, but may not be popular with everyone. Some shoppers might prefer the Versa Sedan.

Driving Impressions

When equipped, Nissan's Xtronic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) is as smooth as they come. Almost no engine noise is noticeable in ordinary driving and you hear only a tolerable light snarl during hard acceleration. The Versa's acceleration rivals that of competitors with conventional automatics, although, like most small cars, it's not particularly quick going up hills. Reacting capably on curvy roads, it feels quite confident in the corners and exhibits good stability on expressways. Although the well-controlled ride is pleasant on good surfaces, on rougher roads the occupants may feel a lot of surface imperfections, but few will be particularly troubling. The instrument panel has deep-set gauges that are easy to read.

Pricing Notes

The 2010 Nissan Versa Sedan has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting just under $11,000, while the S begins just under $14,000. The SL trims run closer to $17,000 and tops out near $20,000 fully loaded. An automatic transmission will add about $1,000 to the price tag of base and S trims. Be sure to click on Fair Purchase Prices to check what consumers are paying for their Versas in your area. With the Versa, Nissan competes against the Honda Fit, Toyota Yaris, Chevrolet Aveo and some others. Although not as strong as the Yaris and Fit, the Versa should hold good resale value, remaining above the Chevrolet Aveo and the Kia Rio.

Notable Equipment

Every 2010 Nissan Versa is equipped with seat- and roof-mounted curtain side-impact airbags, a tire-pressure monitor system, electric power steering and an engine immobilizer. The S model includes a six-speed manual transmission, 15-inch steel wheels with full covers, anti-lock brakes (ABS), power body-colored mirrors, a cargo cover and rear wiper/washer (hatchback only), 60/40 split-folding rear seat, CD stereo, air conditioning and tilt steering wheel. The SL version adds an automatic transmission (CVT on hatchback models), 180-watt stereo with six speakers, 15-inch alloy wheels, traction and stability control, rear spoiler, sport front fascia and side sills, six-way manual driver's seat, rear center armrest, cruise control, remote keyless entry and power windows and locks.

Notable Options

Anti-lock braking (ABS) is optional for base models. A total of six option groups are divided between the two trims. A Power Plus Package adds cruise control, keyless entry, power locks and power windows to the S models, while the VDC package adds traction and stability control. The SL can be equipped with the new Navigation Package, which adds a navigation radio with 5-inch color display, USB connectivity and XM Satellite Radio. SL models can also be equipped with a Convenience Package that adds Intelligent Key entry, Bluetooth hand-free phone operation and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio switches. XM Satellite Radio and an iPod interface hook up are available on both trims, while the SL alone can be equipped with a power moonroof.

Favorite Features

Affordable Navigation System

Costing just a bit more than a really good portable navigation device, Nissan's new navigation radio offers the added benefit of XM Satellite Radio and real-time traffic updates. The controls are easy to understand and operate and the 5-inch color screen provides large, legible directions; it's also an unlikely target for smash and grab thieves.

Xtronic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT):

Nissan has been a leader in CVT installations, which substitute a belt and twin variable-diameter pulleys for the usual gears. The result is exceptionally smooth, linear and rewarding operation – once the driver gets accustomed to the fact that no gear changes will be taking place.

Under the Hood

For the U.S. market, Nissan's 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine has been specially tuned for stronger low-end torque in S and SL models, and higher fuel economy in base cars. Four transmissions are available: A five-speed manual (base), six-speed manual, four-speed automatic (Sedan) and the Xtronic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). Available only on the SL hatchback trim, the CVT incorporates a virtual low range, for long, steep hills and heavier pulling.

1.6-liter in-line 4

107 horsepower @ 6000 rpm

111 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4600 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 26/34 (manual), 26/33 (automatic)

1.8-liter in-line 4

122 horsepower @ 5200 rpm

127 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4800 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 26/31 (manual), 24/32 (automatic), 28/34 (CVT automatic)

Editors' Notes

A battered economy and yo-yoing gas prices have led to a comeback in entry-level compact cars, and the 2010 Nissan Versa is perfectly positioned to take full advantage of the situation. "For the first time in many years," said a Nissan senior marketing manager, many shoppers are "giving serious consideration" to smaller automobiles. These marketing folks detect a "void" in the sub-$14,000 price range, noting that a new generation of young people, known as "echo boomers," will reach driving age soon. Billed as a "no-compromise" value-priced offering that reaches beyond basic amenities, the Versa offers class-leading horsepower and torque, along with a host of unique features and generous interior space.

Road Test Video Reviews

2010 Nissan Versa Owner Reviews

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It is spacious and comfortable inside the vehicle.

2010 Nissan Versa

I love how comfortable and spacious my car feels. My car performs on the road just fine and has not given me much problem. The only thing that bothers me about my car is that, since it is a hatchback, the back has stopped functioning properly. My hatch will not open with the key remote (which is the only way to open it, since there’s no actual key hole). I think it is a defect that can probably happen to any Nissan hatchback and while it is fixable, I refuse to go into the dealership and pay upwards of $100 for them to “diagnose” my vehicle. Let’s be real Nissan, you guys know exactly what the problem is, because this is the way you designed it and it is supposed to be an issue, eventually, across versa customers. Am I right? I didn't do anything to my car and nothing had happened out of the ordinary, so it is pretty clear there’s a defect. Overall, I think my car is reliable, but not the best long-run investment since there is some loss in functionality.

- Joy A

This 4 door hatchback car is compact yet spacious with great gas mileage.

2010 Nissan Versa

I have had my Nissan versa hatchback since 2011 and I love it. Its a smaller car, but the inside is spacious. It takes me about $23 every other week to fill up the tank. I have not had any major mechanical problems with my car. The only things I have had to replace since 2011 are the breaks and the tires. If you have children, it's a great car for you. As I said before, the inside is spacious. The hatchback truck is great has a lot of room too. The seat go down if you want to transport something too big for the trunk. There is a rear wiper on the back window that is great for keeping the window clear when it rain. The last feature that I love are the coin holders. In addition to the 4 cup holders, and two bottle holders there are also 2 coin holders so you can print your toll if you don't have smart tag like me.

- Brandy J

Versa: the first buyers car.

2010 Nissan Versa

I really enjoy my Versa. No complications with motor due to proper maintenance. It is compact but roomy. I like that it does not have all the electronic screens and keyless entry like most cars. It is dependable, reliable, and cost efficient. It is easy to learn the engine. Great commuter car, gas efficient. I probably would buy this exact model in the future. I love my Versa. It is definitely a first car kinda deal. Small enough to fit in right parking spaces but still so spacious. I recommend this car to first time buyers. It is not a powerful engine but I do not mind that at all. Basic features include power windows, automatic door locks, satisfactory sound system.

- Elizabeth R

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