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2012 Nissan Versa: A Great Investment!

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On: Fri, Aug 12, 2011 at 1:48PM | By: Lou Ruggieri

2012 Nissan Versa:  A Great Investment!

Unless you've been hiding under a rock somewhere, it should come as no surprise that the US economy is in a bit of turmoil as of late (well, for a while actually, but even more so lately). The stock market is down 600 points one day, up 400 the next, gold is up to about a million dollars an ounce, and America's sterling credit rating just got a kick in the teeth. Fun times! So as our GDP comes dangerously close to zero, odds are we are going to see consumers scaling back even more than they have been recently.

But, such is life. Just when you really start making progress with your savings account, that's when the water pump on your 1998 Cutlass Ciera convertible goes and, although you've gotten used to the rickety seat, and the window that doesn't fully close, or the horn that doesn't always blow, not to mention that weird shake in the steering wheel at around 68 mph, or that slight pull to the left when you have to slam on the brakes, shelling out another $600 for a replacement pump on a car whose company doesn't even exist anymore just doesn't make much financial sense, and lo and behold, it's time for a new car! But after being out of the new car game for two decades, it can be quite intimidating for some, leaving them wondering where to even begin. Well, your local Nissan dealership might just be the place, because the 2012 Versa is a legitimate automobile that can fit into just about any budget.

Now we say "legitimate" because, let's face it, there are some pretty sad excuses for automobiles running around the 'entry-level' market--three cylinders, no trunk, 35 horsepower, less torque than a lawn mower... you've seen them. But the Versa, however, has four normal-sized doors, a five-speed transmission, triple-digit horsepower (and torque!), and even a trunk all for a price that undercuts most certified used cars, never mind new ones!

The highlights are easy to come by when talking about the Versa, mostly because unlike some snooty 3-Series owners, most people entertaining the idea of owning a Versa understand there have to be some compromises. That said, the 2012 Versa doesn't require too many of them. The car starts with a very real powertrain—a 1.6-liter inline four that produces an honest 109-horsepower and 107 lb.-ft. of torque. Granted, you won't wonder if you're piloting a GT-R off the line, but because it has to push around only about 2,400 pounds, there's enough power to keep up with highway traffic safely.

You get a choice of either a traditional five-speed manual or a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), and though we would opt for the clutch, the CVT seems to do an admirable job if you don't want to be bothered with all that pesky shifting. Both transmission choices do help the Versa get a very frugal 27/36 city/highway mpg, and a combined 33 mpg—good news for anyone on a budget.

Inside, there are also legitimate options 'normal' cars have like air-conditioning, a CD player, iPod hookup, even a navigation system (remember when those were available only on 70 grand Mercedes?). Armrests are absent, however, as are cup holders and heated seats, but don't be surprised to see them in the '13 or '14 models. Nissan obviously created the Versa, at least in part, for those with children, as the back seat provides plenty of leg room, rivaling some cars that cost more than five or six times the Versa's almost laughable base price of $10,990.

Yes, that's right, a brand new car, warranty and all for less than 11 grand. Combine that with some very attractive interest rates we've been seeing these days and you have a monthly payment that most people's smart phone bill eclipses. Make no mistake, the Versa isn't the perfect automobile by any stretch of the imagination—it has its flaws, but for a country that is in nothing short of economic turmoil, the 2012 Nissan Versa provides value that is unparalleled. And, although it may not be the perfect car, it just might be the perfect mode of transportation for anyone on a budget that needs to get to work or even the unemployment office in the morning.

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dwalter | 4:52PM (Fri, Aug 12, 2011)

Wish you could actually find one for under $11k. I'm having trouble looking up any under $15k. At $15k, the Versa has a lot of competition.

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