Still a beauty – relatively speaking. The Nissan Versa went through a huge redesign in 2020, bringing in a brand-new body and upgraded tech. This new body shined in a class known for poorly thought out proportions and generations-old designs.

While its competition is dropping like flies, as Honda and Mazda have already confirmed they’re bowing out of the subcompact sedan and hatchback class, this new-look Versa demonstrates Nissan’s commitment to the handful of customers not seeking a subcompact crossover.

Sharp body but no hatchback option. The Nissan Versa is entering the second year of its third generation, and its body remains nothing short of stunning for the subcompact class. It perfectly downsizes all the key features from its larger siblings without creating odd proportions. These gleaned design cues include the V-motion grille, floating roof, and sharp body lines.

Inside, the Versa is understandably more timid, but it still carries in the V-shape to the dash and contrast stitching on its higher trim levels.

The downside is the redesign also included dropping the Versa Note hatchback. This versatile cargo hauler gave the Versa the spacy cargo area needed to compete with the Mitsubishi Mirage and Kia Rio.

Massive trunk, but it cuts deeply into legroom. Just because the 2021 Nissan Versa skips the cargo-friendly hatchback doesn’t mean it loses all hauling abilities. It has a shockingly large 14.7-cubic-foot trunk, beating the Accent (13.7 cubes), Rio (13.7 cubes), and Mirage G4 (12.4 cubes).

But that trunk is so large because it digs deeply into the second-row legroom to add extra depth. This slashes the rear legroom to just 31 inches, which is 2.5 inches tighter than the Accent and Rio, and 6.3 inches tighter than the Mirage G4.


Nissan Versa

No standard smartphone integration. The 2021 Nissan Versa doesn’t come standard with the pile of safety gear its larger siblings do, but it has standard automatic emergency braking. That’s more than we can say for the Accent and Rio, which offer it only as an option.

The Mirage, on the other hand, does have standard AEB while retaining its crown as the cheapest subcompact sedan at $16,435 (destination fees included).

The 2021 Versa impresses with a clear and crisp 7-inch infotainment system, beating the Accent’s standard 5-inch infotainment screen. This big screen makes the Versa’s cabin appear to be a technical haven, but it comes crashing down when you notice that the standard system lacks Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. You have to move up to the SV trim to get smartphone integration.

Oddly enough, leaving smartphone integration off the standard features list is relatively common in this class, as the Accent and Rio offer it only in higher trims too. However, despite all the flack the Mirage G4 gets for its 1990s-level tech, it comes standard with a 7-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto.

Final thoughts. The Nissan Versa is one of the best in the ever-shrinking pool of subcompact sedans. With its sharp looks, relatively quick acceleration, clean cabin, and massive trunk, it’s a practical sedan for a tight budget.

Buyers who plan to haul adults in the rear seats may want to look elsewhere, though. The Kia Rio and Hyundai Accent offer a few more inches and a well-crafted rear seat that makes it feel roomier, but the legroom king is the Mirage G4.

Is standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto non-negotiable? The Mirage G4 offers them and a 7-inch touchscreen standard.

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