Nissan Enters Entry-level Car Segment With Versa

By: KatieJones

Before 1999, Nissan was in the brink of bankruptcy until Carlos Ghosn took the reigns for the company. Under Ghosn, the company made its turnaround and has become a serious force to reckon with in the global auto market. As the company makes its move to turn itself back to profitability, the company opted to sacrifice their entry-level car.

For many years, Nissan has no entry-level car to offer their consumers. That was until the introduction of the Nissan Versa. Not only does the Versa heralds Nissan's return to the particular segment in the global auto market, it also signifies the so-called second wave of new Nissan auto models.

Last year, Nissan suffered its first drawback since Ghosn took control of the company. The reason pointed out for that is the lack of car and truck models offered by Nissan. In order to make the company popular again among car buyers, Nissan is planning to introduce new auto models before the year 2010.

The Versa is the first of that generation. The Versa comes in either hatchback or sedan body style. What the sedan and hatchback version of the Versa shares is the Nissan B platform. The said platform is also being used by the Nissan Cube, Nissan Micra, and the Renault Clio. The B platform used in the Versa was homologated to conform to North American safety and emission standards.

Since the Versa will be offered in the United States auto market, its interior space is of utmost importance. Car manufacturers know the affinity of Americans towards vehicle with adequate, if not a large amount, interior space. The Versa is proof that Nissan is well aware of that fact.

The interior of the Versa is tailor-made for Americans with its adequate legroom. Even for passengers at the back, legroom is still sufficient to ensure comfort even on long trips. For the hatchback Versa, interior volume is 2,772 liters or 94.4 cubic feet. For the sedan version, interior volume is slightly less at 2,659 liters or 93.9 cubic feet. In terms of luggage space, the Versa hatchback offers 504 liters or 17.8 cubic feet of space behind the second row of seats. Fold down rear seats increases luggage space to 1,427 liters or 50.4 cubic feet. For the sedan Versa, luggage capacity is at 391 liters or 13.8 cubic feet.

Aside from the large interior space, another notable feature that the Versa has is that it has the biggest engine in its class. Its power comes from a 1.8-liter 16-valve, four cylinder engine that is capable of producing 122 horsepower and 127 lb-ft of torque. The engine can be mated to a six-speed manual transmission, a four-speed automatic transmission or Nissan's Xtronic CVT or continuously variable transmission.

On the outside, the Versa is easily recognizable for its short front and rear overhangs. Styling cues on the is accented by its grille design and headlight configuration. Wheelbase is at 102.4 inches which is considered close to that of a midsize sedan. Drag coefficient according to Nissan is 0.31 and that is almost similar to that of a sports car.

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