As a automotive author, I’m typically requested in regards to the worst automotive I’ve ever pushed. One of the primary fashions that inevitably involves thoughts is the bottom $10,000 Nissan Versa that debuted again in 2009. Compared to the usual Versa of its day, this mannequin packed a less-potent engine, smaller metal wheels (wrapped in among the worst all-season tires I’ve encountered) and one of many creakiest interiors in reminiscence. In the last decade since, the Versa has improved to the purpose the place it may well play the a part of fundamental Point-A-to-Point-B transportation respectably effectively. The little Nissan’s enhancements have not been sufficient to place it on the head of the category with the pricier and extra subtle Honda Fit, although. Instead, the Nissan has run with the likes of the Hyundai Accent, Kia Rio and Toyota Yaris, battling it out for the title of “best of the rest.”
Fortunately, that is all modified because of this new 2020 Nissan Versa. Packing modernized and streamlined appears to be like, a decent drive character and surprisingly lengthy record of tech options, this new mannequin is price a better look.
Not a nasty lookerTo ditch the awkward, uninspired look of its predecessor, the newest Versa follows that acquainted automotive formulation: longer, wider, decrease. Nissan’s V-Motion grille together with different familial design parts like a floating roof and tasteful slathering of sheet steel creases add some visible depth. On my top-of-the-line SR tester, contrasting black exterior mirrors, a small rear spoiler and 17-inch aluminum split-spoke wheels present a touch of added aptitude.
Inside, the Versa’s environment are assembled from exhausting, however properly completed plastics. The “Gliding Wing” dashboard format is not boring and really possesses some type. Vinyl sprint and door panel trim that includes contrasting burnt orange accent stitching on SR fashions really even manages to convey one thing of a premium really feel to the desk. What would not really feel premium, nevertheless, is the tough, cheap-feeling leather-based steering-wheel wrap. I assumed was both rubber or pleather at first.
Other minor cabin letdowns embrace a entrance passenger seat that lacks a middle armrest and the occasional loud thud transmitted inside when rolling over ruts and potholes. Outside of such quibbles, the Versa inside is stable, with enough house for adults in back and front, plenty of cupholders and a beneficiant 15-cubic-foot trunk that swallowed the bounty from quite a few purchasing expeditions throughout my week with the automotive.
Gobs of techAndifferent of the Versa’s sturdy fits is its spectacular of record of obtainable expertise options. On all however base S trims, a Nissan Connect system utilizing a responsive 7-inch touchscreen is in command of infotainment. It boasts Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, satellite tv for pc radio, Bluetooth, and on the SR a six-speaker audio setup. The Versa SR’s powerpoint recreation can be sturdy with a USB port and 12-volt outlet mounted the entrance decrease stack cubby. An further two USBs are situated on the again of the middle console and simply accessible to riders in each rows of seats. On the lively security entrance, the Versa would not disappoint, both. Again, excluding base S fashions, all vehicles come geared up with Nissan’s Safety Shield 360 suite of superior driver help programs. Safety Shield contains ahead collision warning with computerized emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, rear cross site visitors alert with rear computerized braking, and excessive beam help. For an extra $300, a Convenience Package will be geared up including adaptive cruise management to the combination.Nissan Connect is responsive and may run each Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
A reliable rideAt greatest, each Versa to this point has been forgettable to drive, and that continues to be principally true with this new 2020 model. Calling it “less forgettable” is an correct description because of serviceable drivetrain and stable chassis tuning. Setting up store underneath the hood is a 1.6-liter four-cylinder churning out 122 horsepower and 114 pound-feet of torque. In the SR, the I4 works with a repeatedly variable transmission that simulates gear adjustments, even at wide-open-throttle. This front-wheel-drive sedan isn’t going to blow anybody’s doorways off, however pulling into site visitors and getting into expressways are a non-issue — this small sedan strikes out at a decent clip.
Together, the Versa’s drivetrain mixture returns an EPA-estimated 32 miles per gallon within the metropolis and 40 mpg on the freeway. I managed to look at 32.5 mpg all through every week crammed with principally floor avenue mileage — spectacular given my admittedly heavy proper foot. On highway, the Versa gives enough energy and comfy experience demeanor.
Handling within the Versa can be a pleasant shock. This sedan maneuvers with ease because of calmly weighted however responsive steering. The MacPherson strut entrance and torsion beam rear suspension tuning veers extra to the consolation finish of the spectrum, as you’d anticipate for a car of this kind. This setup absorbs impacts effectively with out being overly comfortable or sloppy when rounding corners, thanks partly to the SR’s wonderful (and surprisingly premium) Continental ContiProContact tires. While you are not going to have a ball slinging it round, the Versa is nice experience for milling round city. Yes, the brand new Versa’s driving expertise could also be “less forgettable,” however on this case, that is a superb factor — earlier fashions caught in a single’s head for all of the incorrect causes.How I’d spec itAs attractive (and as extra entertaining) as choosing a $14,730 Versa S with a five-speed guide transmission could be from a driving standpoint, I’d go for one among this mannequin’s extra expansively geared up trims. Steel wheels with hubcaps, going with out the extra feature-rich model of Nissan Connect infotainment and lacking out on trendy security options like blind spot monitoring are deal breakers for me on a each day driver. This Versa SR’s sub-$20,000 price ticket represents enormous worth.
My construct can be based mostly on a SR trim painted electrical blue metallic, similar to my tester. Pricing for this mannequin begins at $18,240, not together with $895 for vacation spot. I might additionally mirror my tester’s choices record, together with the $300 Convenience Package for adaptive cruise management and two-stage heated entrance seats, plus the $210 ground mats. The solely distinction on my ideally suited Versa will likely be can be the addition of the $300 heart armrest compartment possibility — price it to get extra storage and provides entrance passengers one thing to perch their left arms on. All in, my Versa SR’s price ticket comes out to simply $19,945.A pleasing shockAs far as small, inexpensive and environment friendly vehicles go, the 2020 Nissan Versa is lastly a standout when it comes to styling and most of all, tech. Being a cushty and competent driver helps its case, too. The enhancements come as Nissan’s smallest sedan sheds the title of most inexpensive new automotive in America, which is one thing I do not suppose they need to be too damaged up about.If I used to be purchasing this phase, my alternative would probably come all the way down to the Versa and the Fit, with the Honda finally edging the Nissan barely because of its extra involving driving character. I’d completely perceive going with a Versa as a substitute, although. It’s a high contender in its class right this moment, and that is one thing I would not have thought attainable a decade in the past — or perhaps even final yr.