The 2020 Nissan Versa is a totally new car this year, and Nissan did well by it. Nearly everything about the sedan has gotten better, and we can finally call it a contender in the fast-shrinking subcompact car segment. Nissan made it lower, wider and longer, stole some styling cues from the larger Altima sedan and brought it completely up to date from a technology standpoint. However, the engine is still rather gutless. The 1.6-liter four-cylinder has a little more grunt than last year at 122 horsepower and 114 pound-feet of torque (gains of 13 and 7 respectively), but it’s still achingly slow. Add an annoyingly buzzy soundtrack and a meh CVT to the equation, and acceleration becomes a painful process. However, that’s where the bad begins and ends for the Versa. Our tester was the SR trim, which means it’s the most expensive and top-tier version of the Versa. Features like 17-inch wheels, LED headlights, remote engine start and sport cloth seats are tacked on above the mid-grade SV trim. It started at $19,135, but after a few choice options, our Versa was all the way up to $21,490. That’s not brutally expensive, but it is a far cry from the $15,625 base price of the S (that still comes with a five-speed manual). The Convenience Package is the most important option to add, as it brings heated seats and adaptive cruise control to the table for just $300. Think hard about the $855 Electronics Package and $690 Lighting Package that mostly focus on adding cool but unnecessary lighting features. The external ground lighting is Fast and Furious-esque, but there’s hardly any point in a Versa. Some of the most important aspects of this new Versa come free of extra charge. Both the SV and SR have Apple CarPlay/Android Auto capability on the seven-inch screen standard, and the instrument cluster has a large, customizable digital display in it, too. Add the surprisingly comfortable ride and a design you won’t be embarrassed to be seen in, and the Versa is finally a proposition we can get behind. Senior Editor, Green, John Beltz Snyder: I'm surprised at how charming I find the Versa. My expectations are always tempered by its budget price, but there are a lot more dreadful cars that cost more. It's fairly plucky, and holds its own on the highway. The steering is devoid of any of that light, disconnectedness some cars have as a sort of facsimile for "premium" feel, and it responds well to inputs and bends itself pleasantly around corners. I couldn't find anything to be offended by, including the CVT. And there were a couple elements that actually did make this feel premium for a car with a sticker price of $21,490. The Lighting Package, which does cost a hefty $690, does a lot to improve first impressions inside with the ambient lighting — and out with the ground lighting below the doors. The $855 Electronics Package adds, among other things, illuminated kick plates …
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|MPG||27 City / 35 Hwy|
|Transmission||5-spd man w/OD|
|Power||122 @ 6000 rpm|
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