Today we’ll look at the engine and mechanical features of the 2011 Nissan Versa 1.8 SL.
The 2011 Nissan Versa comes with two four-cylinder engine options. The 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that powers only the sedan generates a maximum power of 107 horsepower and maximum torque of 111 pound-feet. Or the 1.8 liter dual overhead cam four-cylinder engine producing 122 horsepower and 127 lb. ft. of torque. The Versa is designed with a transverse front engine and front-wheel drive.
Four transmissions are available on the Versa depending on model, with transmissions including five-or six-speed manual, four-speed automatic, or Nissan’s Xtronic electronically-controlled continuously-variable transmission (CVT). With this engine and transmission combination, the Versa gets an ultra low emissions vehicle (ULEV) rating.
A CVT doesn’t shift gears like a conventional automatic transmission. Instead, a segmented belt rides up and down on cone-shaped pulleys to vary the speed ratio between the engine and the drivetrain. It works more efficiently than a traditional automatic, which is why the Versa equipped with a CVT delivers such good highway mileage. Around town it gets the same economy as a manual transmission, but better than a traditional automatic.
Fuel economy for the Nissan Versa depends on the powertrain. The Versa SL with the CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) gets an EPA-estimated 28/34 mpg city/highway. Versa S gets 26/31 mpg with the six-speed manual, 24/32 with a four-speed automatic. The base sedan with 1.6-liter engine gets 26/34 mpg with the five-speed manual and 26/33 with an automatic.
Additional mechanical notables that come standard on the Versa is an independent strut front suspension, a torsion beam rear suspension with integrated stabilizer bar, front stabilizer bar, ripple control shock absorbers, power-assisted vented front disc/rear drum brakes, and electronic power-assisted steering.
The Versa has MacPherson struts in the front and a torsion-beam axle in the rear which is typical in the compact/subcompact class. Its suspension is tuned for a softer ride and for comfort on poor road surfaces. It still allows responsive handling with little body roll in normal driving. The electrically-assisted power steering feels right, not vague as can be a problem with some front-wheel drive cars.
Tomorrow we’ll take it out for a complete review of the test drive in the city of Denver and mountains to the west.