Safety now included. The 2020 Nissan Versa is an all-new model. Every Versa now comes with a strong list of safety features as standard: automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning, and automatic high beams.
More space where it counts. With the heavy redesign, the Nissan Versa’s body is 1.6 inches longer and 1.8 inches wider than the 2019 model. What the larger dimensions translate to is roughly three more inches of front leg room than before. In addition, the Versa’s trunk has grown slightly to 14.7 cubic feet.
Good fuel economy. Nissan updated the Versa’s 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine for improved fuel economy. While output is rated at a modest 122 horsepower and 114 pound-feet of torque, the engine's more powerful and fuel efficient than before.
The EPA rates the Versa to get 35 miles per gallon combined, up from 34 mpg combined for the outgoing model.
Dashing looks. The Nissan Versa has always been one of the more affordable models on the market. That kind of philosophy saw the model put things like design on the back burner. With the 2020 redesign, the Versa ditches its economy roots for something that’s much more dramatic.
Sharing a lot of the same exterior elements as the Nissan Altima and Nissan Maxima, the Versa doesn’t look like it’s built on a budget anymore. Nissan’s large V-Motion grille, a floating roof design, sharp taillights, and a lengthy roofline help the Versa shed its old rental-car looks.
Dull performance. Centering around fuel economy, the Versa doesn’t excite in straight-line performance or around corners. The sedan takes roughly 10 seconds to get to 60 mph from a standstill, and struggles to provide enough power to pass on the highway.
Bare-bones base model. Nissan packed the Versa with more features than ever, but the S trim is still focused on being an affordable subcompact sedan. Standard features include 15-inch wheels, keyless ignition, a 7-inch touchscreen, and cloth upholstery.
While the Versa has all of the major things, it pales in comparison to what higher trims come with. If a Versa is on your shopping list, start with the SV and skip the S trim.
Final thoughts. For anyone on a budget, the 2020 Nissan Versa makes a lot of sense. While it still retains its affordable price tag, the subcompact sedan comes with more. More safety features, more tech features, more dramatic styling – the all-new version seemingly comes with more in nearly every category.
There are only a few things we’re left wanting for with the Versa. For one, more features on the base S trim, but that’s easily avoided by moving up to the SV. We appreciate the Versa’s fuel economy figures, but we would gladly take worse figures for improved acceleration, especially when trying to pass on the highway. Lastly, the exterior design is much prettier than what you'll find on the inside. We’d like to see the cabin get a design that matches the exterior.
In terms of the competition, the Honda Fit is the option to beat in the subcompact segment. It has a more spacious interior, better fuel economy numbers, more power, better driving dynamics, and more safety features. The Toyota Yaris is also one of our favorites, as it features a high-quality interior, nimble handling, and a great list of standard features.
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