Next-Generation Efficiency and an All-New V Platform

One of the biggest challenges in designing a compact sedan, of course, is where to put everything - people, cargo, engine, transmission and other mechanical components. Often the solution is to gather a fraction of an inch here, a fraction there and hope they add up to a usable benefit. For the new Nissan Versa Sedan, the approach was a little more radical - create a totally new global platform and drivetrain, reducing the size of engine and transmission, reducing the number of component parts and reducing platform weight.

"It's unusual to develop a totally new platform for a vehicle in only its second generation, yet when driven by a culture of innovation, such investments are easy to make," explains Castignetti.

The 2012 Versa Sedan's all-new front-wheel drive global "V" platform, designated "V" for Versatile, utilizes nearly 20 percent fewer platform components and weighs around 150 pounds less than the previous "B" platform. While retaining the same 102.4-inch wheelbase and 66.7-inch width as the previous generation Nissan Versa Sedan, the new model is 1.2 inches lower in height (59.6 inches) and 0.6 inches shorter in overall length (175.4 inches). The biggest dimensional gain, however, is in the visible gain in trunk length - provided by a more compact engine/transmission design that allows for a 2.7-inch increase in rear overhang (the distance from the center of the rear tire to the rear bumper).

"The new Versa Sedan proves that when it comes to packaging and aerodynamic efficiency, not all small sedans are created equal," says Castignetti. "The same can be said of the engine, which beautifully balances excellent environmental performance, responsive power and smooth, quiet operation."

The second-generation 1.6-liter HR16DE 4-cylinder engine includes a range of cutting-edge technologies, making it one of the most advanced powerplants in class. For example, while the average engine uses only one injector per cylinder to inject fuel, the new Nissan Versa Sedan engine is equipped with two streamlined injectors mounted near the inlet valve for each cylinder. This dual injector system allows a wider injection of fuel, with the smaller nozzles delivering a finer spray (approximately 57 percent finer than the previous generation single injector design's particle size) to help achieve stable combustion.

The new compact, lighter weight engine also utilizes a twin Continuously Variable Timing Control (CVTC) system mounted on both intake and exhaust ports (versus conventional CVTC systems which are mounted only on the intake port), similar to the system used on the flagship Nissan Maxima. Using a CVTC on the outlet port increases thermal efficiency, decreases inhalation resistance and offers an approximate four percent improvement in fuel efficiency.

Other enhancements include the addition of a piston oiling jet, tuning of the piston top shape and expansion of the exhaust manifold diameter.

"To incorporate the new dual injector system into an entry-level vehicle is very fitting of Nissan's corporate philosophy of 'innovation for all' - bring advanced technology to high volume segments rather than saving them only for high-end machines," says Castignetti. "The new dual injector system also uses around half the amount of rare metals in the catalyzer by reducing the amount of unburned fuel and hydrocarbon emissions."

The new 1.6-liter engine is rated at 109 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm and 107 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm.

The Nissan Versa Sedan is available with a 5-speed manual transmission (1.6 S model only) and with a next-generation Xtronic CVT™ transmission. The CVT allows continuous change of the transmission gear ratio by connecting the two pulleys with a metallic belt and changing their diameter by using hydraulic pressure. The new CVT design adds an auxiliary gearbox using planetary gearing, helping improve efficiency.

The CVT also features a transmission ratio of 7.3:1, which is broader than those of conventional CVTs and even typical 7-speed automatic transmissions. Friction is reduced by about 30 percent, weight by about 13 percent and overall size by about 10 percent versus the previous Nissan Versa Sedan CVT design.

Nissan Versa also offers low rolling resistance P185/65R15 all-season tires with available 15-inch aluminum-alloy wheels.

"The result of all these enhancements and advances is that the new Nissan Versa Sedan engine burns cleaner and uses less fuel, which combined with the improved CVT performance and better aerodynamics reduces overall fuel consumption by about five miles per gallon versus the 2011 Versa Sedan," says Castignetti. "Better mileage means fewer stops at the pump - and more 'room in the wallet' for other activities."

Fuel economy for the 2012 Versa Sedan is estimated at 30 mpg City, 37 mpg Highway and 33 mpg Combined with the CVT transmission (27/36/30 mpg with the 5-speed manual transmission) (preliminary estimates).

All 2012 Nissan Versa Sedans are equipped with an independent MacPherson strut front suspension and torsion beam rear suspension, with front and rear stabilizer bars. Other standard equipment includes Electric Power Steering and power-assisted front disc/rear drum brakes. An Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist (BA) is also standard on all Nissan Versa Sedan models.

In addition, the new Versa will be the first Nissan model in the United States branded with the PUREDRIVE™ designation. PUREDRIVE will be used on models utilizing Nissan's most advanced technologies to promote eco-friendly driving and lower CO2 emissions.

Standard safety features found on every 2012 Nissan Versa Sedan include the Nissan Advanced Air Bag System (AABS) (includes dual-stage front supplemental air bags and front seat side-impact supplemental air bags for chest protection), seat-mounted driver and front passenger side-impact supplemental air bags, and roof-mounted curtain side-impact air bags for front and rear outboard occupant head protection.

Additional safety features include standard LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren) system, child safety rear door locks, child seat upper tether anchors and Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) and Traction Control System (TCS).

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