Nissan Versa Sedan could be alternative to buying used car

Nissan Versa Sedan could be alternative to buying used car
There was once a time when our Car Tech test car, the Chevrolet Aveo5, reigned supreme as the cheapest car in America. News from Nissan changes all of that today.

Unless the Tata Nano makes it over here any time soon, Nissan will hold the title of offering the cheapest new car for sale in the United States.  Nissan announced that starting Novermber 18, there will be a model of the Versa, called the Versa Sedan 1.6, available for $10,685 (including destination).

The Versa Sedan 1.6 eschews the 1.8-liter engine in the standard Versa in favor of a 1.6-liter engine. It comes standard with a five-speed manual transmission, and a four-speed automatic is available as an option. With the manual, fuel economy is 26/34 mpg and the automatic is rated at 26/33 mpg.

The Versa is a decent-size car, good enough to get four adults from point A to point B with minimal drama. The inclusion of a full factory warranty makes this a fantastic option for a first car or a budget alternative to buying a used vehicle. It's not good looking. It's not fast. But, it is the new cheapest car in America.

The cheap-car champ for 2008 is the Chevrolet Aveo5 Special Value at $10,895, but Chevy has already abdicated for 2009 -- the 2009 Chevrolet Aveo5 has received a major overhaul but is now priced at $12,120. Runner-up #2, the Hyundai Accent, is holding steady at $11,745.

So what is Nissan doing to cut the Versa's price by $3,000? For starters, the Versa 1.6 Sedan gets a 1.6 liter engine and 5-speed transmission in place of the 1.8/6-speed manual found in other Versas. Nissan says the Versa 1.6 will have "simplified content", but hasn't given any more details. My guess is that the current base-model Versa's standard air conditioning and AM/FM/CD player will get the boot.

The new Versa is powered by a 107-hp, 1.6-liter four-cylinder. That’s 15 hp less than the regular Versa 1.8, but it’s still competitive. The new Versa comes with a standard five-speed manual and has an optional four-speed automatic for $11,990. Gas mileage is up from the regular model, to 26/34 mpg city/highway in the manual and 26/33 with the automatic. That’s competitive with everything in the economy segment except the Yaris and the Smart ForTwo.

At this price, Nissan makes air conditioning optional, for $1,000. It’s standard on the other Versas, as well as on the 1.6 Versa with the automatic transmission. There are manual windows, as well.

Other models in the lineup include a more powerful 1.8L version. The Versa is also available with a four-speed automatic, which achieves slightly worse fuel economy figures than the manual.

Early this year Chrysler and Nissan already agreed on a partnership that would see the Nissan Versa sold in some South American markets as a Dodge. Today Dodge unveiled that vehicle at the Sao Paulo Auto Show in Brazil as the Trazo C1.8 sedan. It is a direct port of the Nissan Versa we know in the U.S. and the Tiida sold in Japan, though will only be offered as a sedan in South America and not as a five-door hatchback.

Earlier this week, Chrysler revealed its own rebadged version of the Versa Sedan that it plans to sell under its Dodge label. The car is called the Trazo and it will be limited to select Latin American markets, including Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay. It is unlikely that the Dodge Trazo will be sold in the U.S., however Chrysler has plans to launch other rebadged Nissans, including a possible mid-size sedan in the future.

Al Castignetti, head of U.S. sales for Nissan, said the new Versa was designed to compete with the secondhand market.

"Our thinking was to be able to offer a vehicle that offers a used-car price with the reliability of a new car," he said. According to Castignetti, the company had planned to bring in the basic version of the Versa for some time. The smaller engine is already used in foreign markets, including Ireland.

Other manufacturers offfer for least expensive car:

According to, the 10 cheapest current or soon-to-be offered cars in the world:

1. Tata Nano, $2,500; 2. Chery QQ, $4,781; 3. Suzuki Maruti 800, $4,994; 4. Geely MR, $5,500; 5. Geely HQ, SRO, $5,780; 6. Chery A1, $7,394; 7. Tata Indica, $8,894; 8. Hyundai 110, $9,096; Fiat Palio, $9,242; 10. Renault Logan $9,477.

General Motors was the last automaker to offer a sub-$10,000 car in the U.S., selling its entry-level Aveo for $9,995 two years ago, according to Kelley. But it has since discontinued that version and raised the sticker price to $12,625.

The Times reported that in India, where Tata Motors is planning to soon sell the Nano, a $2,500 car, Ford offers a sedan that sells for $9,000, its least expensive car in the country.

Nissan sells a micro-compact called the Pino in Japan for about $8,000. General Motors is preparing to offer a subcompact in Asia called the Beat for less than $10,000.

Cheapest car from Nissan (Versa Sedan) now in usa

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