2021 Nissan Versa review: So much for so little

Nissan Versa SR of 2021

Basic transport doesn’t have to be barebones.

Craig Cole / Roadshow

The average transaction price of a new vehicle in the United States last year it surpassed $ 40,000. This is an astronomical amount of money to spend on an asset that typically depreciates like property values ​​on a superfund site. But due to a brilliant new ride with a factory warranty and loads of tech it doesn’t have to leave you a penniless poor. 2021 Nissan Pour ($ 212 on Amazon), for example, it offers so much content for so little money.

Like it

  • Unexpectedly comfortable interior
  • Many standard features
  • Spacious trunk

I do not like

  • Lukewarm performance
  • No central armrest
  • Sloppy steering

No, there’s nothing joyous or exuberant about this biting little four-door. It’s definitely a functionally shaped type of car, but the standard equipment and overall comfort on offer are impossible to ignore. From the Versa S base to the SR model, all come standard with automatic emergency braking including pedestrian detection, automatic high beam, lane departure warning and even automatic rear braking. Just a few years ago, features like these were hard to find on luxury cars and are now standard on America’s cheapest Nissan. The two highest trims can also be equipped with lane departure warning, rear cross traffic warning, blind spot monitoring and even adaptive cruise control. The latter convenience is included in the $ 400 Convenience Package, which also gives you automatic single-zone temperature control and heated front seats.

The Versa’s high-end technology works surprisingly well. The blind spot monitoring system in the SR model I am testing is attentive to surrounding traffic and adaptive cruise control, although it is not as elegant as Nissan ProPilot Assist, which includes lane centering – is strangely alert, able to spot other vehicles around bends and slow down gently so there are no sphincter crashes on the freeway. Its performance is commendable at any price, let alone in such an affordable car.

Other amenities include a standard 7-inch color touchscreen (which, sadly, is rather washed out, even on cloudy days), Bluetooth, and three USB ports. Remote keyless entry and push button start are also standard. The Fancy SR models are also equipped with LED headlights, an easy-to-use 7-inch reconfigurable instrument cluster display and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. The first two finishes of the Versa can also be equipped with a Nissan Connect infotainment system, which includes satellite radio plus Apple CarPlay is Android Auto. The standard six-speaker sound system of the SR variant is also unexpectedly crisp and clear.

The interior of the Versa is a pleasant place to spend time. Constructed mostly of hard plastic, the dashboard and door panels still look good and there are soft surfaces sprinkled all over the place. Both the contrasting stitching and the fabric of the seats liven up what could otherwise be a rather shabby interior. The front anatomical chairs are flexible but supportive, and the back bench is vertical and roomy, albeit a little tight for headroom. This machine nails the basics, but not everything. An armrest between the front seats is not standard, leaving the elbows of the driver and front passenger dangling, which could get quite tiring on long journeys. Nissan, however, offers a center armrest with a built-in glove box, but it’s an absurd $ 320 option, which this example doesn’t come with. Why such simple functionality isn’t standard across the board is a real headache.

Nissan Versa SR of 2021

Don’t expect fire-breathing performance. Sorry, this is not a sports car.

Craig Cole / Roadshow

When it’s time to carry luggage, this Nissan’s trunk offers around 15 cubic feet of space and is both wide and long. For added versatility, the 60/40 split rear backrest lowers for greater capacity.

The Versa’s only engine is a 1.6-liter inline-4. Without the help of any forced induction, its output is modest, just 122 horsepower and 114 pound-feet of torque. As you can imagine, it sounds a bit strenuous at work, but otherwise it feels smooth enough for what it is. The acceleration provided by this engine is adequate, but in certain situations, such as when you overtake tractor trailers or dive on the freeway, you will regret it more. Despite those lackluster numbers, the Versa feels exuberant off the line, its throttle is tuned to be on the edge of jitter, but if you’re a third of the throttle or maximum, the Versa doesn’t accelerate as fast, plus its vigor retards at speeds over about 50 mph. Plan your overtaking maneuvers accordingly.

Nissan Versa SR of 2021

Functional, pleasant, spacious and comfortable are all the adjectives that describe the interior of Versa.

Craig Cole / Roadshow

A fast continuously variable transmission is standard on the mid-range SV and high-end SR models. It responds smoothly and promptly to driver inputs, making the most of the Versa’s available horsepower. Nissan’s D-Step logic causes the CVT to “shift” like a conventional automatic transmission when driven in anger, which reduces buzzing noises and that annoying springy feel endemic to these transmissions. Providing some welcome choice, the base S grade is available with a five-speed manual gearbox. It might be cheaper forward, but this three-pedal arrangement definitely consumes the Versa’s fuel economy, costing you a whopping 5 miles per gallon across the board. CVT-equipped models are rated at 32 mpg city, 40 mpg highway and 35 mpg combined. In mixed use, I’m averaging around 38mpg, which is pretty stellar considering how liberal I am with gas.

Other aspects of the Versa’s dynamics are mostly likeable. The ride quality is taut but forgiving, which makes the car feel one or two segments larger than it actually is. There is no detectable feeling of brittleness or brittleness when driving on devastated pavements or uneven dirt roads, although it feels a little heavy in the corners, with a little roll when pushed. Also, wind noise is pronounced at highway speeds, although I wouldn’t consider it loud indoors. Pronounced, yes. Rauco, no.

Nissan Versa SR of 2021

The 2021 Nissan Versa is an all-star at an affordable price.

Craig Cole / Roadshow

The biggest dynamic weakness of this Nissan is undoubtedly the steering. Light and ridiculously limp, it’s the most lifeless you’ll find in a new car available today. There is so little feedback, it almost feels like you are driving a car in a video game rather than on real roads which is a shame.

A no-nonsense Versa with a five-speed manual can be purchased for a skosh of under $ 16,000 including destination taxes, which are $ 950. That total makes this Nissan sedan one of the most affordable new cars you can buy today, but despite the price of the funny deal still comes with a surprising amount of driving aids and other comforts. Obviously, the flagship SR model I’m reviewing here is a bit steeper than that, albeit not as much as you might expect. Including $ 395 for Monarch Orange Metallic paint, a Nissan signature shade, and a splash of other options, check out for $ 21,155, about half what the average new vehicle costs these days. And while this Versa is a bit richer, it’s more comfortable than an entry-level one Chevy Spark and definitely higher than the Mitsubishi Mirage. A Honda Fit, Hyundai Accent or Kia Rio might give this Nissan a run for its money, but that doesn’t detract from the Versa’s long list of virtues. It’s a good toy car at a great price.

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