Inside the 2021 Nissan Versa

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For the longest time, the Nissan Versa was known for providing comprehensive features at an affordable price. While historically it may not have been the most stylish vehicle, it was known in the market for its reliability. With the 2021 model, that all has changed. Long gone are the cartoonish looks of older Versa models, and in its place is an all-around great sedan option.

The 2021 Nissan Versa comes with a new sleek body that is paired with an incredibly affordable price that fits the budget of almost anyone looking to buy a new car in today’s market. Plus, the car has amazing fuel efficiency and comes with tons of active safety features. What’s not to love.

Trims

The 2021 Nissan Versa comes in three trim options. These are the:

  1. S;
  2. SV, and;
  3. SR.

The S trim is basic, but a good choice if you’re not a fan of all the bells and whistles available with the higher trim levels. The base S option gets you standard features—cloth seats, ABS with pedestrian detection, and lane departure warning. You can upgrade to the S-CVT for features like the RearView Monitor, and remote keyless entry and push button start.

If more safety features are what you’re after, the SV comes with Advances Drive-Assist Display, and Intelligent Driver Alertness. Along with more safety options, it also comes with upgraded entertainment features.

The SR trim is a great option if style is one of your main priorities. While it includes everything that comes standard in the SV trim, it also comes with sportier external features such as a rear spoiler and the dark chrome V-Motion grille. There is also a convenience package available for this trim.

Engine, Transmission, and Performance

Every version of the 2021 Versa comes equipped with a 122 horsepower four-cylinder engine and 114 lb-ft of torque. The base S model comes with a five-speed manual transmission, though you can choose to upgrade to a CVT (continuously variable transmission). The CVT comes standard on the other two trims.

The CVT prevents the Versa from producing coarse noises when pulling away from stoplights or passing a vehicle on the highway. It does this by mimicking actual gearchanges while driving.

One other thing the 2021 Versa has been lauded for is improving the quality of the drive from its predecessor. In fact, Car and Driver reports that this model provides more consistent feedback on the brake pedal and greater accuracy in steering when compared to the 2020 model.

Fuel Economy

The fuel economy for the 2021 Versa changes depending on which engine is chosen.

When equipped with an automatic engine, the Versa boasts an impressive EPA rating of 32 mpg in the city, 40 mpg on the highway, and 35 mpg combined. On the other hand, the Versa equipped with the manual five-speed transmission averages an EPA rating of 30 mpg combined, with 27 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway.

Entertainment and Interior Features

Most modern sedans come with interiors geared towards technology—and the Versa is no different.

A seven-inch touchscreen with four speaker audio system takes center stage in Versa’s infotainment package. The SR variant improves upon the standard four speaker layout by adding two more speakers to the mix and significantly improving audio quality.

Only the SR and SV variants come with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Thorough testing of the onboard systems by Car and Driver found that the interface for Apple CarPlay responds better to inputs and provides a much smoother experience than the built-in menu system, although NissanConnect lets you customize your home screen so you can view only what’s most important to you.

Additionally, every version of the Versa comes with three USB ports and compatibility for voice commands. However, if you want to enjoy listening to satellite radio services like SiriusXM, you will have to opt for either the SR or SV versions.

The interior of the 2021 Versa has also seen significant improvements from its predecessors. It no longer feels like a clunky play area. This time around Nissan has opted for better quality materials that are soft and smooth to the touch, even on the doors and dashboard. While power-adjustable seats are a notable absence, the higher trims do come with heated front seats and mirrors.

Warranty and Maintenance Coverage

This is one department where Nissan falls short of its immediate competitors like Kia and Hyundai. This is because Nissan’s warranties do not offer as much coverage as other companies do. Despite that, the protection plans that come with the Versa can still go toe-to-toe with most of its rival sedans.

The biggest points when it comes to warranty and maintenance coverage for the 2021 Versa are:

  • Basic coverage for three years or 36,000 miles;
  • Corrosion coverage for five years;
  • Powertrain coverage for five years or 60,000 miles;
  • Emission performance coverage for three years or 50,000 miles in California, or two years or 24,000 miles in the rest of the U.S.;
  • Emission defect coverage for three years or 50,000 miles in California, or three years or 36,000 miles in the rest of the U.S.;
  • Emission long term defect coverage for seven years or 70,000 miles in California, or eight years or 80,000 miles in the rest of the U.S., and;
  • Seat belt replacement for 10 years.

Cargo

With up to 15 cubic feet of trunk space, the cargo capacity of the Versa is adequate to modern needs, and is acceptable for sedans in its class. The sedan features several small storage places on the center console. As for the trunk, Car and Driver found that there was sufficient space to easily store at least six carry-on suitcases in the area. If you fold the backseat though, you can add up to 17 suitcases in total.

Safety Features

Like every new sedan that hits the market, the 2021 Versa has been thoroughly crash-tested by the NHTSA and IIHS. The NHTSA gave the Versa a five-star overall safety rating, and it also received top marks from the IIHS. In particular, it received Good marks across the board except for head and neck driver injury measures.

The Versa comes with a host of driver assists, which includes lane-departure warnings and automatic high beams. While competitors can lay claim to safety features like automated emergency braking, Nissan easily outshines them with that and more.

Some of the biggest safety features of the Versa 2021 include:

  • Intelligent cruise control;
  • Blind spot and lane departure warnings;
  • Front and rear emergency braking with pedestrian detection, and;
  • Rear cross-traffic alerts.

How the Competition Stacks Up

When it comes to the competition, the Nissan Versa faces a tough challenge from three worthy contenders.

Kia Rio

The 2021 Kia Rio features top safety ratings from the IIHS, an impressive fuel economy, and an inexpensive price without feeling cheap at all. However, it does fall behind in certain aspects such as a lack of power and a small second row.

Mitsubishi Mirage

The 2021 Mitsubishi Mirage features a very impressive fuel economy, a low starting price, and a very strong warranty. Some of the drawbacks of the vehicle include rough drive quality, an underwhelmingly cheap interior, and a lackluster engine.

Hyundai Ascent

The 2021 Hyundai Ascent provides the biggest competition for the 2021 Versa as it boasts a strong value, extremely impressive build quality, exceptional fuel economy, and a premium looking exterior despite its low price. The only things holding this impressive car back are its slow acceleration and underwhelming drive quality.

Pros

Nissan has given special attention to the standard safety features onboard the 2021 Versa. The impressive list includes emergency braking and adaptive cruise control to minimize the risk of accidents and collisions.

Moreover, the Versa is commended for its smooth riding experience which makes the passengers feel they are driving in a luxury sedan of a much higher price point. This is reinforced by the fact that the car has extremely comfortable seats.

Cons

As for the cons, it must be said that the engine in the Versa feels underpowered and does not provide the performance that many expected of it. Furthermore, the handling of the vehicle is a forgettable experience.

Price

The new Nissan Versa has undergone only one change in pricing compared to the previous model year. The price for the base model has gone up by a mere $100. When you consider all the improvements the 2021 Versa has made, that $100 increase is an incredible value proposition.

As such, the prices for the 2021 Nissan Versa are:

  • S with Five-Speed Manual Transmission: $14,980
  • S with CVT: $16,650
  • SV: $17,790
  • SR: $18,390

Get into a 2021 Nissan Versa

The 2021 Nissan Versa makes significant improvements from previous models. While it no longer holds the title of the cheapest sedan in America, it more than makes up for that difference with its list of safety features, driver assist technology, and stylish looks. Overall, it gives rivals a run for their money. Whether you’re looking for a basic model, or something with a little more style, there is a Nissan Versa for you.

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