Perhaps lost in the ballyhoo around the new Nissan Note—introduced recently in Japan and hailed as a preview of the next-gen Nissan Versa hatchback—was some good news on the value front: The 2013 Nissan Versa Sedan will achieve a major symbolic victory thanks to a minor bump in fuel economy, becoming the first gasoline-powered Nissan product sold in this country to reach 40 mpg. And really, that aforementioned bump adds up to non-negligible increases of 1 mpg city/2 mpg highway/2 mpg combined for a new EPA line of 31/40/35.
That’s with the Versa’s 1.6-liter I4 hooked up to a CVT, and while the numbers don’t change for the car’s five-speed manually transmissioned powertrain—which remains at 27 mpg city/36 mpg highway/30 mpg combined—customers now will be able to enjoy a traditional automatic-transmission option, albeit one with just four forward gears. With that choice, the Versa will be rated at 26/35/30.
“We found that our customers still appreciate the value proposition of having an automatic transmission in the lineup, as it shaves a little off the MSRP from the CVT-equipped model,” said Phil Leinert, a product communications manager for Nissan. “In addition, the 4 speed automatic was already offered in other North American markets, so we felt it made sense to bring it to the U.S. for the 2013 model year.”