Nissan Versa

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.

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Editors' First Take

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In April, I entered into a casual transaction that hundreds of thousands -- if not millions -- of Americans will find familiar. I bellied up to an airport rental car counter, signed some paperwork and walked out with a set of keys to a Nissan Versa. For a whole cocktail of reasons, that experience is likely to get a lot less common thanks to the sedan seen here. It's the all-new 2020 Nissan Versa, and it looks and feels utterly unlike its fleet-favorite predecessor.

This is a good thing. In truth, my early May rental experience was utterly unremarkable. The outgoing Versa was positively huge inside, it had easy-to-master controls and the car drove, turned and stopped obediently and efficiently. In a vacuum, the departing generation was a perfectly acceptable motoring proposition. Problem is, if you were a small car shopper, the Versa didn't exist in a vacuum, and just about everything else in its class was more modern, compelling and substantial-feeling, from the Hyundai Accent to the Kia Rio, Chevrolet Sonic and Honda Fit. After a day's drive in this new 2020 Nissan Versa, I'm pleased to report that's no longer the case. 

Part of the reason the old Versa was such a rental-counter staple was because of its ultra-low price. For years, Nissan ensured it was the least-expensive new car sold in America, starting at just $12,460 (plus $895 delivery fee). For 2020, however, this new generation starts at $14,730 (plus delivery), a not-insignificant price hike of just over 15%. The good news is, the new Versa feels like 100% more car.  

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