It worked fairly well the first time around, so Nissan stayed true to practice with the second-generation Versa sedan by making it as ugly as possible.
Where the first Versa sedan was devoid of styling, as though Nissan simply put the body panels where they had to go, this second car appears to reflect an effort to actually design an awful car. But unlike those spectacularly beautiful photos of repugnant oil rigs in the North Sea, Nissan didn’t pull off any tricks with the 2012 Versa sedan. It’s plain repugnant, and not spectacularly beautiful in any way.
Much would be forgiven if the Versa was a terrific car to drive. It is not. The 109-hp engine is no longer class competitive. The interior looks like the interior of a subcompact car at a time when other subcompact cars like the Kia Rio, Hyundai Accent, and Ford Fiesta possess interiors worthy of a pricier segment. And 38 miles per gallon on the highway? What is this, 2009?
The game has moved on. Other automakers are scoring touchdowns with their subcompacts. Nissan hasn’t even made it to the red zone.
Alternatives: How ’bout a 1999 BMW 528i Touring for $5900? Or, if you must go new, consider the well-equipped Kia Rio hatchback. Or anything that isn’t a Nissan Versa sedan.
Base USD/CAD Price: $10,990 / $11,798
It Sucks, But…it has headroom! As if you need the so much surplus headroom that your car looks like a blob.
Sales Stats: Year-over-year, U.S. Versa sales were up 15% in August, 68% in September, 47% in October, and 38% in November as the newer, even uglier, very inexpensive Versa sedan took over from the Bad 8-winning old Versa sedan. Monthly and yearly sales figures for the Nissan Versa sedan and hatch can be viewed here.