2010 was kind of a carryover year for the Nissan Versa. Aside from some minor body restyling and the addition of a vehicle stability control system, it was pretty much the same as the 2009 edition.
There were two body configurations: hatchback and sedan, with two engine choices……1.6 and 1.8 litre four cylinders. Depending upon the model, four transmissions were available: five or six-speed manual, four-speed automatic, and CVT. Curiously, the sedan version of the Versa did not come with a CVT.
The CVT transmission could feel ambiguous at certain rpms, and when power was needed for overtaking, did not “kick down” promptly like a conventional automatic transmission. It’s worth noting, however, that the CVT gave the 2010Versa its best fuel economy; according to Natural Resources Canada’s fuel consumption guide, you would save some $100 – $120 a year in fuel costs compared to the manual six-speed version.
Arguably, the best engine choice was the larger of the two, which developed 122 horsepower and 127 foot-pounds of torque, making it one of the most powerful models in this market segment. Rivals such as the Honda Fit or Toyota Yaris, for example, featured considerably less power than the 1.8 litre Versa. For what it’s worth, the smaller engine did deliver better fuel economy….especially on the highway, but the CVT version was the thriftiest of all.
Because of its extra power, perhaps, the Versa did not feel as buzzy as a Honda Fit, for example, and those models equipped with the CVT and larger engine offered more than enough oomph to handle extra passengers and cargo. The back seats folded flat effortlessly, and there were various storage nooks and pockets throughout the car.
The five-door hatchback offered1427 litres of storage space with the back seat folded down, which was more than the Fit, and about on par with the likes of the Toyota Matrix, VW Golf, or Mazda3 hatchback.
Although the Versa was a pretty basic automobile, it did have its share of available extras. The upscale SL could be had with things like an engine block heater, anti-locking brakes, tilt steering, a/c, iPod connectivity, and remote keyless entry. The Sport Package added steering wheel-mounted audio controls, fog lights, a power sunroof, and various exterior extras. Nissan also offered a wide range of accessories with the Versa, including kayak roof racks, side window wind deflectors, a keyless entry keypad, and interior accent lighting.
One safety recall to report with Transport Canada, and it’s a minor assembly oversight that could cause the daytime running lights to malfunction. Easily corrected by dealers and not exactly life-threatening. This glitch also applies to 2009 versions of the Versa.
To this we can add another recall from NHTSA that has to do with after-market Garmin GPS systems. Apparently, the batteries can overheat and possibly lead to a fire. This is an extensive recall, incidentally, and affects a wide range of models and products. According to Garmin, the problem originates with the supplier of these batteries; a company called Nuvi, and you can go to their website – https//mygarmin.com – to see if this affects your model.
NHTSA also has some 20 technical service bulletins on file for this vintage of the Versa, and they affects things like uncooperative power door locks, difficulties closing the rear hatch in cold weather, wonky front seat mechanisms, and headlights that fog up.
For the most part, Consumer Reports likes the 2010 Versa, but not as much as the previous year. The ’09 gets a “better than average” used car prediction, while the ’10 is just average. The climate control system and various power extras seem to be the culprits here, and comments from owners include: “good on gas and easy to park”, “seems underpowered”, “one of the most fun-to-drive vehicles I have ever owned” and “would not hesitate to buy another Nissan product”.
Marketing researcher, J.D. Power is not so kind, giving the 2010 Versa a failing grade in every area but one: powertrain quality. So, aside from the engine and transmission, it’s an overall fail from this organization.
Value-wise, a 2010 Versa seems to be in the low to mid-‘teens these days. The sedan version is going for considerably less than the hatchback….around $2000, and the SL is roughly $1000 pricier than the base S.
2010 Nissan Versa
Original Base Price: $12,698 (sedan) – $14,198 (hatchback); Black Book: $11,650 (sedan) – $12,175 (hatchback); Red Book: $7600 – $10,900
Engine: 1.6 & 1.8 litre four cylinder
Horsepower/Torque: 107 & 122 hp / 111 & 127 ft. lb.
Transmission: Five/six-speed manual, four-speed automatic, CVT
Fuel Economy (litres/100 km): 7.3 city/5.8 hwy (CVT trans). Regular fuel.
Alternatives: Mazda3, Honda Fit, Toyota Yaris, Toyota Matrix, Kia Rondo, Volkswagen Golf.