There’s no arguing that the basic affordable sedan is becoming increasingly rare. That said, small cars such as the newly redone Nissan Versa will have you wondering why.
The third-generation of this subcompact four-door is longer, lower and wider than the version it replaces. Its restyled sheet metal also gives it an emphatically sportier look.
The same 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine now puts out 122 horsepower, but it’s still the car’s weakest link. While we found this powertrain is fine for around town, you’re going to want to give yourself plenty of room for open-road passing maneuvers. Responsive handling does make it feel zippier than it is.
Versa used to be America’s least expensive car, but a modest price increase this year trades that title for a nicer interior. Better still, you’ll find this new model filled with a list of desirable new standard equipment, including keyless entry with push-button starting, power windows/locks and several important advanced safety features.
All these enhancements prove that the basic economy car is no longer as basic as it once was.
- Excellent fuel economy
- Large trunk makes up for dropping the hatchback version.
- Poor image quality from rearview camera
- Five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty is shorter than some competitors.
- While it’s nothing fancy, the new Versa is still a fine choice when money is tight.
- Base Price: $15,625
- As Tested: $20,595
- 32/40 (1.6L FWD)