The third-generation 2021 Nissan Versa subcompact sedan continues to offer an exceptional level of refinement, with a fresh and exciting design, along with technology and safety features.
All three Versa grade levels are powered by an advanced 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine rated at 122 horsepower and 114 lb-ft of torque. The “Gen3” HR16DE DOHC engine features a 10.4:1 compression ratio, spray-coated bore cylinder block, high thermal conductivity piston rings, and sodium-filled exhaust valves.
The base S model is available with either a 5-speed manual transmission or the Xtronic CVT, while SV and SR grades are standard equipped with Xtronic.
The Xtronic transmission with sub-planetary gear features revised D-step Logic Control for improved shift feel and responsiveness. Xtronic equipped Versa models achieve a gas mileage of 32 mpg city and 40 mpg highway for a combined average of 35 mpg.
Versa body rigidity has been enhanced, using structural modifications and increased thickness of select parts. You’ll notice this when you open and shut doors. They have weight in the doors which adds strength to withstand impact and secures the door to the frame.
I like the leather-wrapped electric power steering system which features a high-rigidity shaft, allowing for a more responsive feel.
I was thoroughly surprised at all the safety/security and comfort/convenient features supplied by a vehicle that carries an MSRP of less than $19,000.
Versa rests on 17-inch alloy wheels. The SR trim receives an enhanced lighting ensemble with LED low and high beam headlights, LED signature lamps, and fog lights. In the middle of these lights is the V-Motion dark chrome front grille. Auto on/off headlights is standard on all models.
Black painted, heated exterior mirrors with integrated side turn signals look nice with the body color exterior door handles.
The SR model comes with Nissan’s Safety Shield 360, which bundles a whole tribe of safety features, including Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Rear Automatic Braking, Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and High Beam Assist. Siri Eyes Free is standard even on the base S model.
Personally, a 5-passenger subcompact is generally a little too cramped for me, yet Versa surprised me. It was just about right in size and roominess, but I would like to have an arm rest between the two front seats. Admittedly the front seat backs could use just a little more width.
The 7-inch NissanConnect touchscreen with AM/FM radio, SiriusXM Radio with 3-month trial, MP3, and Aux-in pipes sound through a 6-speaker sound system. Modern connectivity support includes Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Bluetooth Hands-Free. SV and SR models are equipped with a 7-inch Advanced Drive-Assist Display.
Although the Versa is a subcompact, it is convenient and comfortable with 15 cubic feet of cargo space. Even the base S model comes with an surprising set of driver assist features, including Intelligent Forward Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning, Rear View Monitor, Rear Automatic Braking, High Beam Assist, Hill Start Assist, and Automatic Emergency Brake with Pedestrian Detection.
Versa is filled with “comfort and joy.”
2020 Nissan Versa was evaluated by NHTSA, and scored five-star rating for Overall Safety Rating, Overall Front Rating, and Overall Side Rating. It scored a four-star for Rollover Rating.
36 months/36,000 miles Basic Coverage
60 months/60,000 miles Powertrain Coverage
60 months/unlimited miles Corrosion/Perforation
36 months/36,000 miles Roadside Assistance
Durhl Caussey writes a car column read around the world. He may be reached at this paper or firstname.lastname@example.org.