[Updated] Nissan announces $9,990 Versa 1.6 specs for least expensive car on sale in U.S.

Nissan has just announced a new, entry-level version of the Versa priced lower than any new car on sale in the United States. The 2009 Versa 1.6 sedan, which will go on sale on November 18, starts at $9,990 before destination and handling fees - exactly $3,000 less than the current Versa S 1.8 sedan and undercutting the next-closest Hyundai Accent by more than $1,000.

The new Versa 1.6 looks to be essentially the same Versa/Tilda sold outside of the U.S. with a smaller 1.6 liter engine. The four-cylinder puts out 107 horsepower in U.S. configuration, Nissan says, and comes with a standard five-speed manual transmission and offers a four-speed automatic as an extra-cost option. The 1.8 liter Versas offer a six-speed manual and a CVT.

Nissan says fuel economy for the Versa 1.6 is 26 mpg in the city with either transmission and 34 on the highway with the manual or 33 with the automatic, a small improvement over the Versa S 1.8.

The 1.6 will come with 14 inch steel wheels with covers (versus 15s on the 1.8 S and SL), matte black instead of chrome exterior accents and unique seat trims. Nissan says that six airbags will be standard on the Versa 1.6, the same as other Versas.

Versa 1.6 won't include air-conditioning ($1,000), ABS with brake assist ($250) or destination ($695). Versa also won't include a radio, but Nissan says the wiring and four speakers are there.

An air-conditioning-equipped Versa 1.6 runs $2,000 less than a comparable Versa 2.0, though the larger motor does bring a CD player, painted mirrors and door handles, power mirrors, 15 inch wheels and 15 extra horsepower to the party.