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.

Editors' Review

The average new-vehicle transaction price in the US last year topped $40,000. That's an astronomical amount of money to spend on an asset that typically depreciates like property values at a superfund site. But owing a shiny new ride with a factory warranty and plenty of tech doesn't have to leave you a penniless pauper. The 2021 Nissan Versa, for instance, offers so much content for so little cash.

No, there's nothing joyful or exuberant about this scrappy little four-door. It's definitely a function-dictates-form kind of car, but the standard equipment and overall comfort offered are impossible to ignore. From the base Versa S to the pinnacle SR, every one comes standard with automatic emergency braking including pedestrian detection, automatic high beams, lane-departure warning and even rear automatic braking. Just a few years ago, features like these were hard to find on luxury cars and they're now standard fare on the most-affordable Nissan in America. The two higher trims can also be fitted with lane-departure warning, rear cross-traffic alert, blind-spot monitoring and even adaptive cruise control. That last amenity is included in the $400 Convenience Package, which also gets you single-zone automatic temperature control and heated front seats.

The Versa's high-end tech works surprisingly well. The blind-spot monitoring system in the SR model I'm testing is attentive to surrounding traffic and the adaptive cruise control -- while not as fancy as Nissan ProPilot Assist, which includes lane centering -- is eerily observant, able to spot other vehicles around turns and gently slow down so there are no sphincter-puckering incidents on the highway. Its performance is laudable at any price, let alone in a car that's this affordable.  

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The Good ~ Unexpectedly comfortable interior ~ Plenty of standard features ~ Roomy trunk

The Bad ~ Tepid performance ~ No center armrest ~ Sloppy steering

The Bottom Line Just because this car has no frills doesn't mean it's a no-go.

Editors' Rating
  • Performance 7.5
  • Features 8.5
  • Design 8
  • Media 7.5

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