Nissan Versa 2021 – Review, Specs, Photos

The 2021 Nissan Versa is revitalized with a comprehensive makeover that has the subcompact sedan looking like a value superstar. Along with a sleeker-looking exterior and a more upscale interior, the Nissan boasts driver-assistance features such as adaptive cruise control and rear automated emergency braking, which are currently not available on any of its rivals. Its four-cylinder powertrain is well behaved but underpowered, and we’re happy to report that the sedan is much better to drive than before. Although it’s no longer the cheapest new car sold in the U.S., the Versa now has the style and substance to compete with the best subcompact cars on the market. All the necessary information about – 2021 Nissan Versa read on.

New Nissan Versa 2021

Nissan includes its Zero Gravity seats in the 2021 Versa. The versions in the SV trim have comfortable cloth that is generally firm, but the seats run a little narrow under the shoulders. They offer great support on short- and medium-length drives, though the lack of sufficient lumbar support may require breaks over longer trips. The car has a comfortable ride if the road surface is decent but gets bouncy over lesser-quality roads. Wind noise is prevalent inside the cabin, and if the car hits any bumps, you will hear it as much as you feel it. Another aspect holding the Versa back in this category is its climate control system. The controls don’t allow enough fine adjustment to find exactly the right cabin comfort you’re looking for. The Versa’s four-cylinder engine takes its time getting you up to speed. There’s little issue in typical driving around town or fitting in with traffic. But in cases where you need to pull away quick or have short space to make a pass, the Versa leaves you wanting badly. You’ll be more satisfied with the Versa’s handling abilities. It stays composed when going around turns. The steering can feel a little too heavy at times, but it’s accurate and allows you to point the Versa where you want to go with ease. Nissan Versa 2021 – see interior and exterior photos in the article.

Interior

The 2021 Versa’s interior also received a welcome upgrade. SV and SR models get a 7.0-inch touchscreen compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a new dash brings character to the interior. The dash on the SR is party upholstered in leatherette, and SV models can get it in a different color. These trims also get a 7.0-inch screen on the instrument panel, bringing more tech to the interior. S trims also get a 7.0-inch display, but it doesn’t have the Nissan Connect infotainment system, nor is it compatible with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. But regardless of the version you choose, all of them come with three USB ports, push-start button, and Bluetooth for calls and audio streaming. The 2021 Versa continues to be spacious, but the rear seats actually lost some legroom compared to the outgoing model. Although front passengers gained 2.7 inches of legroom, those in the back lost 6.0 inches—now getting 31.0 inches in total. This is a huge change, as the Hyundai Accent, Kia Rio, and Toyota Yaris all have more than 33.3 inches of rear seat legroom. The back seat doesn’t feel cramped, but it doesn’t feel as cavernous as before. New Nissan Versa 2021 – see the photo on this page!

Exterior

The third generation Versa witnessed a totally new design inside and out, following Nissan’s new design language which is followed by the 2021 Altima and other Nissan cars on the portfolio. The new layout is a huge step-up from the older gloomy-looking 2nd gen model which it replaced in 2021. The front end is home to the signature ‘V’ motion grille, as Nissan likes to call it. It sits nice and low and looks bold and sporty. The whole feel of the car is bumped by all-LED sweeping headlamps which surely look premium and upmarket. The 2021 Nissan Versa is a small car for a small price with a lot of news for this year. The Versa is new this year, on a new frame, with a new interior and a sharp new exterior. There’s a lot of “new” if you’re picking up what we’re putting down. Also new: the Versa’s old days of the “cheapest new car on sale” are gone. The price is now a couple of thousand dollars more expensive, at least. But before the knee jerk spit-take, hear us out: The new Versa doesn’t want to be cheap. Starting at $15,625, every Versa gets automatic emergency braking, a 7.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and a powertrain that returns at least 30 mpg combined. That’s not cheap, that’s good sense. The 2021 Versa gets a 5.8. That’s above average on our overall scale.

Colors

The 2021 Nissan Versa is fully redesigned. Chief improvements include a nicer interior layout with better materials, along with many standard and available driver assistance features. The 2021 model comes standard with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, automatic high-beam headlights, and forward and reverse automatic emergency braking. Also available are blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, driver alertness monitoring, and a rear-seat reminder. The 2021 Versa also gets a bump in horsepower (up 13 from the previous generation) and receives some tweaks to the suspension, body, and chassis. However, there’s less rear legroom in the new model. If these changes aren’t important to you, consider an older model that likely costs less than a new Versa. Nissan axed the Versa Note hatchback for this new generation, so if you want that model for more cargo space and utility, your only choice will be to buy used. If you’re considering an older model, be sure to read our 2021 Versa and 2021 Versa reviews to help make your decision. You can also check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts on used vehicles.

Fuel economy

The 2021 Versa boasts an EPA estimated rating of 32 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway when equipped with the CVT. Those numbers are identical to the fuel-economy ratings of the 2021 Toyota Yaris. The entry-level Versa with the manual has significantly worse fuel economy, achieving 27 mpg city and 35 mpg highway. We tested an automatic-equipped Versa on our 200-mile route, and it replicated its 40-mpg highway rating in the real world. In the same test, the Yaris fell 5 mpg short of its highway estimate, earning 35 mpg.

Horsepower

The Versa SV is the kind most shoppers will encounter first and it’s good value. Like every other Versa, it’s powered by an overwhelmed 122-horsepower inline-4 and continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) that drives the front wheels only. That’s not the exciting stuff. The Versa SV gets 16-inch alloy wheels, upgraded cloth interior, smartphone compatibility software, blind-spot monitors, and a few exterior touches for $18,535, including destination. That gets our pulses going. The most exciting part of the Versa is its low price. The numbers that matter to 2021 Nissan Versa owners are the ones in the price, not horsepower figures. If you must know, the Versa is powered by a 1.6-liter inline-4 that makes 122 hp. It’s teamed to a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) that drives the front wheels only. A 5-speed manual is standard on base models but will be a rare sight on dealer’s lots. Starting from an average score, we say the Versa’s handling is fine but we ring the bell for its leisurely acceleration and power. It’s a 4.

Technical specifications

Just about everything. The new car is lower, wider and longer and is the latest result of Nissan’s “Emotional Geometry” design language first introduced on the current Altima and Maxima. The Versa now sports the V-motion grille, boomerang-shaped headlamps and tail lamps plus the now familiar kick-up C-pillars and floating roof. The cabin is cleaner, far more modern and features the “Gliding Wing” instrument panel also found in Nissan’s other sedans. Overall, the 2021 Nissan Versa is a far more mature and evolved car that the one it replaces. Power will come from a 1.6-litre 4-cylinder engine which generates 122-horsepower and a 114 lb.-ft. of torque. The basic transmission will be a 5-speed manual, with an Xtronic CVT transmission offered as an option. Nissan’s Safety Shield 360 will be available on the new Versa. In includes Intelligent Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Rear Intelligent Emergency Braking, Lane Departure Warning and much more.

Price

S: $15,290; SV: $18,118; SR: $18,701; The top-of-the-line Versa SR is the one to get. Sure, it’s the most expensive version, but we think it’s worth it for all the enticing standard equipment it provides. Both the SR and the slight-less-expensive SV come with an automatic transmission, and their infotainment systems feature Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. However, only the SR gets 17-inch rims, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, LED headlights, passive entry, and remote start. We’d also add the Convenience package for its adaptive cruise control and heated front seats.

Safety

The 2021 Versa earned a five-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), but the sedan hasn’t been fully evaluated by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The lineup comes with a lot of standard driver-assistance technology, including front and rear automated emergency braking, automatic high-beams, and lane-departure warning. While rivals such as the Hyundai Accent and the Kia Rio sedan offer automated emergency braking, the Nissan’s roster of safety equipment outshines them. Key safety features include: Available adaptive cruise control; Available blind-spot monitoring; Available rear cross-traffic alert.

Motors

The 2021 Nissan Versa is powered by a normally aspirated 1.6L small four-cylinder engine and is the only motor on offer for the entry-level sedan. At 122 hp, it is surely not the sportiest or the most powerful engine in its class but it saw a 13 hp bump over the second-gen Versa. Even though this motor doesn’t impress anyone with its power figures, it definitely works just fine on the economy part and that is what is more important for cars in this segment. The 2021 Nissan Versa is expected to carry forward the same powertrain, that is, a five-speed manual transmission doing the duty in the base S version and an optional Xtronic automatic transmission, which is basically a CVT gearbox which mimics shifts when you put your foot down for a sudden move on. The CVT definitely takes some fun out of the driving experience but makes it easier to drive around towns and traffic.

Configurations

All 2021 Nissan Versas will continue to be powered by the same 1.6-liter engine from the outgoing model, except this time it produces a little more power—122 hp and 114 lb-ft of torque. The five-speed manual continues to be the standard transmission for the S grade, while the SV and SR trims only come with a CVT. You can still get the CVT on the S trim, but you’ll pay $1,670 for it—a lot, but that’s cheaper than the cost of adding a CVT on the 2021 model. Like the outgoing model, the new 2021 Versa isn’t inspiring to drive; it still feels underpowered and slow. Step on the gas, and you’ll hear the transmission complain, as it whines to get its job done. When we merged onto Nashville’s highways, the Versa tested our patience as it took its time to gain speed; even when we floored it, the transmission wasn’t eager to react. Nissan says that it updated the powertrain to be quicker to respond, but we didn’t notice these changes during our drive. Once you get to a cruising speed, the ride is decent—the suspension keeps the body composed on the corners and the cabin is quiet for a subcompact sedan. The steering actually feels responsive and is on par with the rest of the segment. When I started driving the Versa on the streets of downtown Nashville, I was hoping to get a similar experience to what the Kicks offers. The Kicks, which is based on the Versa, feels agile despite having only 122 hp; it has the energy and excitement you wouldn’t expect of an entry-level crossover. But the Versa doesn’t feel the same way.

Review

The Nissan Versa has held the title of the “least expensive car in America” for over a decade. But in its all-new third generation, the Versa has relinquished its title and is a better car for it. The 2021 Nissan Versa starts about $2,000 more than the model it replaces. But this price increase gets you a modern-looking, better-driving Versa with more standard features than the outgoing model. The redesigned Versa sits 2.3 inches lower, is 1.8 inches wider and has a 1.6-inch-longer profile than the previous generation. Its styling bears a strong resemblance to its larger sibling, the Nissan Altima, which is a big step up for the subcompact. And while the price has increased, you’re getting more features than before. Formerly top-trim-exclusive features such as power windows, power locks, and keyless entry with push-button start are now standard on the base S trim level. The new non-turbocharged 1.6-liter engine makes 122 horsepower and 114 lb-ft of torque, an increase of 13 hp and 5 lb-ft over the old model. It’s paired with a new continuously variable automatic transmission as well. Unfortunately, the Versa is still pretty slow, but at least there’s no fuel economy penalty for the extra power. You can expect to get about 35 mpg in combined city/highway driving with the Versa’s automatic transmission, which is quite good for a small sedan.

Release date

Nissan is yet to announce the official release date for the 2021 Nissan Versa but we expect the Versa to hit the dealerships by late 2021. Going by the track record of new Nissan launches, the 2021 Versa should be launched by the end of summer with an official price as well.

Video

Unfortunately, and not to take anything away from the Versa itself, but it’s a non-starter. Nissan dealers will sell a handful but margins will be miniscule, pushing salespeople to either promote the new Nissan Sentra or the more appealing Nissan Kicks. About the Kicks, Nissan has increased the based price to $19,298 from $18,298 assumingly to make room for the Versa. Nissan’s also bumped the Qashqai’s MSRP from $20,198 to $21,498 for the same reason and to cover the cost of added safety features. The new 2021 Nissan Versa’s styling is nearly identical to that of the Sentra and, more than likely, the price gap will not be sufficient to keep consumers interested in the Versa, over the latter.

Photos/Pictures Gallery

See photos of the interior and exterior Nissan Versa 2021 on this site.




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