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Nissan Updates Versa for 2013

  • Nissan is adding a new 4-speed automatic
  • A revised CVT will also debut
  • No official word yet on an upcoming Versa hatchback

Nissan recently announced several changes to its freshly redesigned Versa sedan for the 2013 model year. According to the automaker, a new 4-speed automatic will become available for 2013, while today’s continuously variable automatic will be updated to provide improved fuel economy.

The 2013 Versa’s biggest change is the addition of a 4-speed automatic transmission to its options list. While a continuously-variable automatic is already offered, that transmission commands a whopping $2,130 on top of the standard 5-speed manual, quickly escalating the Versa’s base price from its starting figure of around $12,000 including destination. The 4-speed will likely be available for closer to $1,000, providing buyers with a less-expensive alternative to rowing the gears manually.

Of course, opting for the 4-speed over the continuously variable automatic will have one major drawback: fuel consumption. While the standard 5-speed manual transmission returns 27 miles per gallon in city driving and 36 mpg on the highway, the 4-speed achieves city and highway fuel economy figures of just 26 and 35 mpg respectively. Meanwhile, the continuously variable automatic achieves the best fuel economy of the bunch, with Nissan promising 31 mpg in city driving and a whopping 40 mpg on the highway.

Shoppers interested in a new subcompact car will note those figures are up from last year, when the CVT returned just 30 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway. According to Nissan, the jump is due to a revised transmission with wider gear ratios specifically designed for improved fuel economy. Other updates for 2013 include a new deck lid spoiler and revised underbody ducting, both intended to help boost fuel economy even further.

But despite announcing the new transmissions, Nissan has not yet officially revealed what many industry observers expect will be the biggest change to the Versa lineup for 2013: a new hatchback model. While the Versa sedan was redesigned for 2012, the 5-door Versa hatchback retained its original design, which debuted for the 2007 model year. The upcoming hatchback is likely previewed by the all-new Note, which was unveiled for several other world markets at a recent event in Japan.

According to Nissan, official pricing for the 2013 Versa will be announced closer to its launch in August. We expect the redesigned hatchback model to make its debut early next year.

What it means to you: The 2013 Versa sedan will appeal to more buyers with its thriftier CVT and less expensive 4-speed automatic.

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