The 2016 Nissan Versa is offered in both sedan and hatchback body styles. Four trim levels are offered on the Versa sedan: S, S Plus, SV and SL. All are powered by a 109-hp 1.6L 4-cylinder with continuously variable valve timing. In the S, a 5-speed manual transmission puts power to the front wheels, while a 4-speed automatic is optional. The other three trims are equipped with Nissan's Xtronic continuously variable transmission (CVT). When so equipped, the Versa sedan delivers an EPA estimate of 36 mpg on the highway.
Even the base S trim offers enough features to keep drivers and passengers comfortable. These include air conditioning, an AM/FM/CD stereo with two auxiliary audio inputs, a tachometer, power steering, trip computer, tilt steering wheel and a 6-way adjustable driver's seat. In addition to the CVT, the S Plus adds cruise control, tilt steering and a rear lip spoiler.
In the SV, buyers will find power mirrors, locks and windows, with driver's side one-touch auto up/down, upgraded trip computer, remote keyless entry and a USB port.
The top-of-the-line SL includes 16-inch alloy wheels, fog lights, Bluetooth hands-free connectivity, variable-speed windshield wipers, passenger visor vanity mirror, keyless entry and ignition, a 60/40 split-folding rear seat, silver and chrome interior accents, an integrated 5.8-inch display that includes navigation and an iPod interface, as well as steering-wheel-mounted audio controls.
Packaged options for the Versa sedan include an SV Tech Package that includes a rear view monitor and a navigation system with NissanConnect, and an SV Apearance Package with chrome accents, fog lamps, variable intermittent wipers and 15" alloy wheels.
The Versa Note 5-door hatchback features a unique exterior design beyond its configuration, including a distinctive grille and headlight treatment, as well as creased and sculpted sheet metal along the sides. Based upon Nissan's international-selling Note, the Versa Note is optioned much like its sedan counterpart and powered by the same 109-hp 1.6L four. A 5-speed manual is standard on the S, while the Xtronic CVT is standard on the rest of the range. Like the sedan the Versa Note comes in S, SL and SV trim. It features 115.5 cubic feet of interior volume, with best-in-class cargo space of 21.4 cubic feet. An available Divide-N-Hide Adjustable Floor provides enhanced interior utility, and the standard 60/40 split-fold rear seat makes carrying larger objects a snap.
As a car writer, I'm often asked about the worst car I've ever driven. One of the first models that inevitably comes to mind is the basethat debuted back in 2009. Compared to the standard Versa of its day, this model packed a less-potent engine, smaller steel wheels (wrapped in some of the worst all-season tires I've encountered) and one of the creakiest interiors in memory.
In the decade since, the Versa has improved to the point where it can play the part of basic Point-A-to-Point-B transportation respectably well. The little Nissan's improvements haven't been enough to put it at the head of the class with the pricier and more sophisticated Honda Fit, though. 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's all changed thanks to this new 2020 Nissan Versa. Packing modernized and streamlined looks, a respectable drive character and surprisingly long list of tech features, this new model is worth a closer look.
The Good The 2020 Nissan Versa is a stylish, competent ride that packs a surprisingly large dose of tech.
The Bad An occasionally loud cabin and no standard front-passenger center armrest are reminders of the Versa’s budget-friendly DNA.
The Bottom Line The Nissan Versa has morphed into a truly respectable small sedan.
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