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The cheapest car in America: Nissan Versa 1.6

Nissan introduces an new trim level to its Versa Sedan.

2009 Nissan Versa 1.6
The Nissan Versa speeds toward frugality. Nissan Motor Co, USA

There was once a time when our Car Tech test car, the Chevrolet Aveo5, reigned supreme as the cheapest car in America. News from Nissan changes all of that today.

Nissan North America, Inc., announced on Friday a new trim level for its 2009 Nissan Versa Sedan, with an MSRP of $9,990 (excluding destination fees). The new Versa 1.6 Sedan is built for value and fuel economy, with its 107-horsepower, 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine delivering 34 mpg highway fuel economy rating with the 5-speed manual transmission (33 mpg with the four-speed automatic). In the city, the Versa 1.6 gets 26 mpg.

Nissan calls this new 1.6-liter engine "responsive," but with less displacement, less power, and fewer gears than its econobox 1.8-liter brethren, we're not fooled into thinking this is anything but a low-priced grocery-getter.

That being said, 10 grand for a brand-new car is still an amazingly low price. The Versa is a decent-size car, good enough to get four adults from point A to point B with minimal drama. The inclusion of a full factory warranty makes this a fantastic option for a first car or a budget alternative to buying a used vehicle. It's not good looking. It's not fast. But, it is the new cheapest car in America.

The Lemon
CNET Car Tech's rolling test lab, the Chevy Aveo5. No longer the cheapest car in America. Antuan Goodwin/CBS Interactive

The downside of this is that we can no longer think of a single superlative to assign to our poor Aveo.

The Nissan Versa 1.6 is expected to hit dealers' lots on November 18.