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By: Jessi Lanier
Is it a small car? Is it a big car? You could well be asking this question as the new 2012 Nissan Versa has the promise of being a small big car, achieving the impossible task of spacious interiors in the subcompact segment.

The new 2012 Nissan Versa boasts of 90 cubic feet of passenger room that can seat even three adults in the back row comfortably. With chair-like seats, there is comfortable seating space and enough leg space as well. The low roof line however is a dampener when it comes to head space and tall passengers may not be too comfortable in the rear seat but overall the Nissan Versa 2012 does impress in its spaciousness.

It also does not fail to impress in trunk space with a total of 14 cubic feet reserved for your luggage alone. This is achieved with a longer tail in the new version of the Versa that adds a good one cubic feet to the trunk. If space is your criterion, then you cannot go wrong with the Versa. However the 2012 Nissan is definitely not your car, if speed is your style. Packing 107 pounds of torque and 109 hp, the Versa is a slow car compared to its counterparts.

Under the hood, the new 2012 Nissan Versa carries a 1.6 liter twin cam four cylinder engine, improved from last year with a new dual-injector design for each engine. I guess with the new additions, Nissan does not feel the need to offer the 1.8 liter engine that consumers had a choice of last year.

Also new, is the continuously variable transmission (CVT) and variable valve timing system that together helps in bringing down friction by 30% giving you better fuel economy than earlier. The new 2012 Nissan Versa gives you up to 38 miles per gallon on the highway and 30 miles per gallon on city roads.

Interiors are done up in good quality plastic and the dashboard sports a simple and elegant design without overcrowding the controls. The same cannot be said about the upholstery which lacks a plush feel. Rear seats do not fold down but then, with all the extra space in the trunk, I guess this is not really necessary.

Starting at base price $10,990, the new 2012 Nissan Versa is still a leading contender for the cheapest car in this segment. However, this affordable price comes at the cost of several features that feel like a must-have in any new car today. For instance, the navigation system, Bluetooth and satellite radio among others, is not a standard feature unless you opt for these extras at additional cost. The new version Versa is available in three trims - S, SV and SL and only the base model has the manual transmission option.

Safety features in the vehicle includes airbags for the front as well as the side and side curtain airbags along with antilock brakes and electronic stability control.

What is definitely lacking in Nissan is style. Though the exterior design has received a facelift, the 2012 Nissan Versa still lacks the ability to make heads turn. But as a family car that offers space, space and more space at one of the cheapest rates, the new 2012 Nissan Versa is unbeatable.

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