Usually, car segments are defined by size or status. Sometimes they’re called subcompact, compact, midsize, or large. Other times they’re labelled as A-segment, B-segment, C-segment, or D-segment. There are cars, SUVs, crossovers, pickup trucks, convertibles, roadsters, supercars, sports cars, and grand tourers.
There is another way of categorizing vehicles. A newer, better, simpler way.
Start with the beautiful good cars. Then there are good cars. Third, there are beautiful cars. These are followed by the beautiful bad cars, the bad cars, and the afterthoughts, also known as the nondescript cars.
Finally, there are ugly good cars, ugly cars, and ugly bad cars. Those middle groups – the cars that are either beautiful, ugly, or just good – make up the majority of nameplates currently on the market. Rarer is the car that is both beautiful and good, the car that is ugly and good, and, as is the case here, the car that is ugly and bad.
Not only is the Nissan Versa sedan an odd duck to look at, it’s curiously awful in other ways, as well. A bit uglier than the plain first-generation Versa sedan, this second-gen car is no more exciting in any other way. It’s still laden with Nissan’s worst CVT application and it’s still poorly equipped compared to rivals at Hyundai and Kia. The Versa’s steering is wooden. Cornering isn’t a pleasant task. The Versa’s engine will have you wishing you didn’t have to accelerate.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Some subcompacts are plenty swift. Others are handsome. The Honda Fit is more spacious. So if a bad driving experience, an inadequate interior, and an ugly exterior can be avoided, there’s no reason to consider a car from the UBC class.
Alternatives: Every other subcompact, particularly the hatchbacks, from the Chevrolet Sonic to the Hyundai Accent to the Ford Fiesta and Good 12-winning Kia Rio.
Base USD/CAD Price: $11,990 / $11,878
It Sucks, But… It mostly sucks, but it is ridiculously spacious.
Sales Stats: The Versa sedan is half of Nissan’s Versa lineup. It’s America’s best-selling subcompact and Canada’s third-best-selling subcompact.