Versa in the Market

Extreme bargains are scarce these days, and Nissan deserves credit for keeping the Versa wallet-friendly. But the new Accent, Fit and Fiesta are cars you actually want to own — brand emissaries that leave a good enough impression for first-time buyers to stay in the family when it's time to buy the next car. If the new Versa is anyone's first Nissan, it imparts a brand that's big on value and practicality but short on drivability and perceived quality — far from Nissan's reality, but the Versa's flavor all the same.

Among entry-level cars, value is crucial. But, increasingly, so is overall appeal. Nissan hit a bulls-eye with one of those. I just wish it had hit the board at all with the other.

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