2009 Nissan Versa: The Fuel Economy Test Drive

2009 Nissan Versa

The 2009 Nissan Versa 1.8 S hatchback I tested for a week was cute, bare-bones, fairly cheap — and it got fantastic gas mileage. Really. Here’s how my week went:

The car was a bright-blue hatchback, with bubbly corners and lights. The first thing I noticed was that I had to use the key to get in. No remote keyless entrey here. Seats were manual, windows were manual, locks were manual. It had a basic stereo with decent-enough speakers, and enough room for me but the knees of tall passengers were up against the glovebox. We didn’t try the rear seat.

Without a couple extras like the ABS package, this car could be had for $13,990. As tested, it cost $15,200, which seemed a tad spendy to me for such a Spartan little econobox.

Then, the night before the Versa was to leave my hands, I pulled into the gas station to top it off. I’d driven just over 100 miles almost entirely on surface streets, which used about a quarter tank’s worth of gas. I took my receipt, did the math, and came up with a whopping 32 mpg — on streets! No highway trips this week, no cruise control. With stops and starts and traffic included (though no serious snarls), I got the EPA’s upper estimate for the Versa.

This is the car for people who don’t care what they drive as long as it’s cheap, it’s safe, and it sips gas.

  • 2009 Nissan Versa 1.8 S HB
  • As tested: $15,200, including destination charge
  • 1.8L four-cylinder engine, EPA rated 24 mpg city, 32 mpg highway
  • 6.8 tons of carbon dioxide emitted annually

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