IWhen I drove the 2020 Nissan Versa
at their press preview, I liked it. I found it to be value-laden, comfortable-to-drive and, in the SR trim, attractive.
But the true mettle of any vehicle is how it can survive the grind of everyday life. With stop-and-go traffic, fast accelerations and, in the winter, how well the heat works, you learn a lot about a vehicle quickly.
When I got the Versa SR delivered to my house in Chicago, I fell in love. ALL THE GOOD STUFF, LESS THAN $20K
Every time I got behind the wheel, I almost had to pinch myself to remember: The Nissan Versa at its top-tier costs about $20K.
This includes heated seats, passive entry, push-button start, blind-spot monitoring, automatic climate control, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, adaptive cruise control, automatic reverse braking and a remote start engine.
You get all those things for less than $20K!
My test vehicle added some additional options including a center armrest with storage, an electronics package and a lighting package and still topped out at just $21,490.
That's a steal.WINNER, WINNER, CHICKEN DINNER
The interior styling of the Nissan Versa is attractive with leather-trimmed dash and a 7-inch touch screen display. The behind-the-wheel gauges - part digital, part analog - are attractive, and the sporty black cloth seats with orange trim are comfortable and handsome.
The heat - in sub freezing weather - works well and within minutes of pulling out from your parking space. The Waze integration with CarPlay or Auto negates the need for any kind of pricey in-car navigation system.
When you combine all of this with the fact that the 1.6-liter, 4-cylinder engine has enough pep to play with the big boys in the city while not getting in the way when merging onto highways - even for an aggressive driver like myself - you have an all-around winner. SRSLY, GO BUY THIS CAR
It's fair to say: I've never been this geeked about a car under $20K. Ever.
From the standard safety technology to the sheer drivability of the Nissan Versa, I can't sing its praises enough.
If you live in a city and are worried about spending too much on a car because the doors will get dinged: Go buy this car. If you have a new teen driver and want standard safety features and good visibility: Go buy this car. If you want something attractive and comfortable that won't break the bank: Go buy this car.
Seriously. Go buy this car.THE TRIMS
Other than the Kicks, which I also really liked, the Versa is probably one of the best vehicles in Nissan's stable right now.
The only caveat I have to offer: The base trim is ugly with cheap wheel covers and black-clad side mirrors. You could opt for the mid-grade trim, which adds more amenities including CarPlay/Auto, but I'd take it all the way to the SR for my money so that I could get remote start and heated seats (available on SR).
But, then again, I do live in a place where the wind hurts my face during the winter.
The trim and pricing breakdown is as follows:
S ($15,625/$17,295): The base S trim comes equipped standard with a 5-speed manual transmission, but you can add the Xtronic continuously variable transmission for $1,670. The S comes standard with automatic emergency braking, rear automatic reverse braking, lane departure warning, high-beam assist, auto on/off headlights, push-button start, cruise control, a 7-inch touch-screen display, 3 USB ports, zero gravity seats and 15-inch wheels.
SV ($18,535): The SV adds blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, rear door alert, driver alertness, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, steering wheel controls, driver seat-mounted armrest, body-color heated outside mirrors with integrated turns signals, body-color exterior door handles and 16-inch aluminum-alloy wheels.
SR ($19,135): This top-tier trim adds remote engine start, automatic climate control, LED headlights, fog lights, black painted outside mirrors, dark chrome front grille, body-color trunk lid spoiler, SR seat fabric with interior trim accents, leather-wrapped steering wheel, chrome parking braking button and 17-inch wheels.
Frankly, the SR trim with the convenience package ($300), which adds heated seats and adaptive cruise control, is really all you need and built just so the Nissan Versa tops out under $20K.
AT THE END OF THE DAY
In any given month I may drive anything from a pricey Mercedes-Benz to a not-so-pricey Nissan, and I get behind the wheel of more than 100 cars in a year. While there are few truly bad cars these days, there are some that simply shine.
The 2020 Nissan Versa is one such vehicle.
It presents itself as a much pricier vehicle, it drives well, and as long as you go for the SR, it's attractive and well appointed.
At the end of the day, all you need to know is in the headline: Go buy this car.
If you are in the market for a small vehicle packed with a lot of good features, another vehicle you should check out is the 2020 Hyundai Venue.