by John Tallodi
While the term 'sport' is bandied about regularly in the motoring world, not every shopper is looking for a hard-riding performance car for their daily commute. If you are more interested in practical considerations such as price and interior space, then the subcompact Nissan Versa sedan may just be the car for you. For 2017 the Versa receives some minor trim tweaks to its available equipment.
The Versa's key selling point is its spacious interior, it may not offer the highest quality cabin materials or the best infotainment system but if passenger space, especially in the rear is a priority then there is nothing else in its class that comes close.
Cargo space too is huge with more than enough space for bulky packages, on higher trim levels the rear seats offer a split folding facility to further increase the available carrying capacity.
The Versa offers a comfortable ride over most road surfaces although it comes at the expense of any meaningful level of dynamic ability.
This should be an acceptable compromise for shoppers looking at this type of vehicle but the majority of the Versa's competitors do offer a more satisfying ride/handling compromise.
The Versa is offered with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine which produces 109 horsepower and 107 lb-ft of torque. Power is sent to the front wheels and a 5-speed manual is standard in the base S trim and a CVT transmission is equipped on all other models.
That low power output means that the only time your heart rate rises when accelerating in the Versa is when you attempt an overtaking maneuver. 0-60 mph times are a bit below par for the class too although the Versa responds well enough in city driving conditions.
While the higher trim levels may cost you more up front, they come equipped as standard with the CVT transmission which offers a very good combined 35 mpg compared to the 30mpg average you would achieve with the base trim's manual transmission. Performance levels are also slightly better for CVT models.
The Versa is available in 5 trim options, the base S trim comes standard with a 6-speed manual transmission, 15-inch wheels, air-conditioning, 4-speaker audio system with Bluetooth phone connectivity and power exterior mirrors.
S Plus trim adds the CVT transmission, cruise control and a rear spoiler with integrated LED brake light.
SV trim offers improved instrumentation, power windows, map lights and a USB port for the audio system. Upgraded cloth seats, keyless entry and a useful split-folding rear seat are also standard.
SV Special Edition Trim is new for 2017 and adds a rearview camera, Bluetooth audio streaming, 15-inch alloy wheels, fog lights, piano black interior trim, leather-wrapped steering wheel, 5-inch color display and Sirius satellite radio.
No additional packages are available although various interior and exterior detailing options can be specified. Some more notable options include an auto-dimming rearview mirror, illuminated kick plates and chrome door and trunk accents.
Safety systems are limited to standard ABS, traction control and a rearview camera on the higher trims. Front and side airbags are also standard equipment.
The 2017 Nissan Versa offers basic family transport with class-leading interior space and commendable fuel economy although it lacks the modern styling and the more engaging dynamics that many of its competitors offer in this category.
If the soft ride and cavernous trunk are more important considerations then the Versa is worth a look, midlevel trim models offer a decent amount of equipment too considering the keen pricing level.