2021 Nissan Versa

2021 MODEL
$14,730 - $18,240
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2021 Nissan Versa Complete In-depth Review & Buying Guide

Updated on: July 20, 2020
John Bedrow's image

John Bedrow

Automotive Journalist

With the level of love for SUVs that can be seen on US roads, sedans have been getting cheaper and cheaper in comparison to what they have on offer for us. Hence, if you are in the market to buy the most affordable cars of today, sedans like the Nissan Versa will automatically appear on your list. It is in fact the cheapest car that Nissan sells in the American market which is in its third generation as of now. Showcased for the first time in 2006 under a different nameplate, the Nissan Versa has always been known for providing a value proposition to its customers. Recently Nissan added an all-new electric version of the Versa to its line-up for the 2020 model year and now the 2021 Nissan Versa is rumored to be just around the corner.

See detailed review »

Pros

Comfortable ride and handling

Appealing interior

Decent Fuel Economy

Feature loaded infotainment system

Cons

Only one engine option provided

Less space in second-row seating

Anemic Powertrain

What's New?

Some upgrades in terms of design

Different design patterns for fabric seats u

Minor update to switch gears.

Rumored to offer an improved powertrain with an increased compression ratio


Pictures

Exterior
Interior

Styles

2021 Nissan Versa in Brilliant Silver color 2021 Nissan Versa in Electric Blue Metallic color 2021 Nissan Versa in Fresh Powder color 2021 Nissan Versa in Gun Metallic color
Brilliant Silver

Vehicle images are guides only and may not reflect the model's exact specifications/features– exact specifications/features should be confirmed with the seller.

Ratings

Features

4.0

Fuel Economy

6.0

Exterior

3.0

Safety

2.0

3.6

OVERALL RATING

Trims and Configurations

MSRP


2021 Nissan Versa S

S

power
122 hp @ 6300 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
34 combined

$14,730 - $16,400


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
S 4dr Sedan (1.6L 4cyl 5M) Starting at $14,730 MSRP (31/34/39) 122 hp @ 6300 rpm, 1.6 L, Inline 4, regular unleaded
5-Speed Manual front wheel drive 5
S 4dr Sedan (1.6L 4cyl CVT) Starting at $16,400 MSRP (31/34/39) 122 hp @ 6300 rpm, 1.6 L, Inline 4, regular unleaded
1-speed cvt front wheel drive 5

2021 Nissan Versa SV

SV

power
122 hp @ 6300 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
34 combined

$17,640


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
SV 4dr Sedan (1.6L 4cyl CVT) Starting at $17,640 MSRP (31/34/39) 122 hp @ 6300 rpm, 1.6 L, Inline 4, regular unleaded
1-speed cvt front wheel drive 5

2021 Nissan Versa SR

SR

power
122 hp @ 6300 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
34 combined

$18,240


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
SR 4dr Sedan (1.6L 4cyl CVT) Starting at $18,240 MSRP (31/34/39) 122 hp @ 6300 rpm, 1.6 L, Inline 4, regular unleaded
1-speed cvt front wheel drive 5

Expert Review

3.6

Overall Rating


However, since the Versa is still quite fresh in terms of redesign, we don't expect many changes for the 2021 model year. The current model comes in 3 trims namely S, SV, and SR which come with a starting price of $ 14,730 which goes all the way up to $ 18,240. Only one engine is offered with the Versa which is a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder unit that develops 122 hp of power and 114 lb-ft of torque. It’s estimated by the EPA to return up to 35 mpg which is better than the average for its class. There is no news on any update about its engine however, a hatchback version of this sedan might debut in 2021 but there's no confirmation from Nissan at this point. 

Nissan Versa is a fiver seater subcompact sedan and is one of the cheapest and demanding cars in the US. The 2021 model once launched, shall go up against its current competition such as the Kia Rio S, Hyundai Accent and the Chevrolet Sonic Sedan. We don’t have much information about the 2021 Nissan Versa so we will take the 2020 Nissan base model to compare with its rivals in terms of performance interior and exterior, cargo space, fuel economy, and acceleration. Hence, as the sedan is nearing its launch its time now to see if the 2021 Nissan Versa will be an evolutionary or revolutionary car when compared to its competitors.

 


4.0/10
Features

 
 

6.0/10
Fuel Economy

 
 

3.0/10
Exterior

 

2.0/10
Safety

 
 
 

2021 Nissan Versa Features

4.0/10

The 2020 Nissan Versa is offered in three trims viz. S, SV, SR, and the 2021 model is expected to offer the same number of trims. The base trims are fairly equipped while the price of feature-rich top trims vary depending upon the requirements. It provides two configurations i.e. S trim with manual transmission and S trim with a CVT. The SR is the top of the line trim and also comes in only a FWD set up. 

On the other hand, the S trim feels a bit cheap as it skips on a lot of necessary features. It gets fabric seats, 15-inch steel wheels, keyless ignition, and a basic 7.0-inch touchscreen. With the SV trim, you upgrade to 16-inch alloy wheels, better fabric upholstery, blind-spot monitors, and a few extra exterior inserts. Whereas, the SR trim focuses more on luxurious features and is the only trim that offers automatic temperature control. The also gets 17-inch wheels, sporty inserts, a six-speaker audio system, and fog lamps. 

Trim S SV SR
MSRP $14,730  $17,640  $18,240 
  $14,730  $17,640  $18,240 
(FWD) $14,730  $17,640  $18,240 
Key Features Automatic Emergency Braking with pedestrian detection In addition to or replaces S trim features with: In addition to or replaces SV trim features with:
  Bluetooth technology Advanced Drive-Assist® Display  Automatic temperature control
  Cloth seat trim Premium cloth seat trim  Sport cloth seat trim
  7-in. touchscreen display Apple CarPlay & Android Auto  Leather-wrapped steering wheel & shift knob
  Air conditioning NissanConnect 7-in. touchscreen display  LED headlights w/ LED signature
  Steering wheel-mounted controls SiriusXM Satellite Radio trial  Remote engine start
  Six-way adjustable driver’s seat Driver’s seat-mounted armrest  Nissan Intelligent Key w/ push-button start

*2020 data used for reference

Expected Price and Release Date of the 2021 Nissan Murano

The whole 2021 Nissan Versa lineup is expected to starts from $14,730 for the S FWD "Standard" trim and go over $19,000 for the top of the line SR trim. Hence we expect the 2021 Nisan Versa to be not very different in terms of pricing especially in when it comes to the base trims.

The company has not yet announced the release date but as it is a carryover model we can expect it to have it this year itself rather than 2021. However, the production as well as launch could see a delay due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

2021 Nissan Versa Engine and Performance

As the 2021 Nissan Versa will be a carryover model we do not expect any changes in terms of its powertrain. The current model offers a 1.6L Unleaded I-4 Engine, which generates a meager 122 hp under its hood and 114 pound-feet of torque. It comes mated to a 5-speed manual or an optional CVT which offers Nissan’s Electronic Precision Shift. It only offers a front-wheel-drive setup and no all-wheel-drive is available even as an option. In comparison to the manual transmission, the Continous Variable Transmission or CVT produces less emission with a quicker acceleration. As might be evident from the numbers, the Versa gets an overwhelmed engine which is meant for fuel efficiency rather than performance. Hence, driving the Versa will not excite you as much as its low price will.

Within the city limits, the engine provides adequate power and torque with the gearbox doing an excellent job. However, once you are on the highway, it runs out of breath quite easily. It is a car meant to be driven sedately rather than going pedal to the metal style. Even though its SR trims add a few sporty touches this car is nothing about sporty performance. Overall in the engine department of the Versa, efficiency trumps performance but we expect the model 2021 Nissan Versa to have no change in terms of performance when compared to the current one.

Models

2021 Nissan Versa

(Expected)

2020 Kia Rio S Sedan

2020 Hyundai

Accent

2020 Chevrolet Sonic Sedan

MSRP

$15665

$17455

$16220

$17595

Engine

1.6L Regular Unleaded I-4

1.6L Regular Unleaded I-4

1.6L Regular Unleaded I-4

1.4L turbocharged Gas I4

Drivetrain

FWD

FWD

FWD

FWD

transmissions

5-speed Manual

CVT w/OD

6-speed manual

6-speed automatic

Power(hp@rpm)

122@6000

120@6300

120@6300

138@4900

Torque(lb-ft @rpm)

114@4400

112@4500

113@4500

148@1850

The Chevrolet Sonic puts out the most power and torque off the chart and bags the first position. While the base model of Nissan Versa takes the second position with the 122 hp Power and 114 lb-ft Torque output, its the Kia Rio S that comes last with the least power and torque generation. However, it shares that place with the Hyundai Accent which is technically its corporate cousin and is essentially the same car.

How quick is the 2021 Nissan Versa?

With no changes in terms of the engine, we do not expect the 2021 Nissan Versa to be any faster than the current model. While on the spec sheet its power and torque are satisfactory, it is the slowest car here. It can sprint to 60 mph from a standstill in 9.7 seconds and complete a quarter-mile drag race in under 17.4 seconds. What this means is that the highway overtakes take longer and will require some advance planning.

We do not expect the 2021 model to bring in any performance tweaks to improve these slow figures hence you would have to deal with it for the 2021 model year too.

Models

2021 Nissan Versa

(Expected)

2020 Kia Rio S Sedan

2020 Hyundai

Accent

2020 Chevrolet Sonic Sedan

0-60 MPH (seconds)

9.7

8.9

7.5

8.1

Quarter-Mile (seconds)

17.4

16.7

16.0

16.4

Top-Speed (MPH)

115

117

124

108

Engine

1.6L Regular Unleaded I-4

1.6L Regular Unleaded I-4

1.6L Regular Unleaded I-4

1.4L turbocharged Gas I4

Talking about the rivals the minimum time taken to leap from 0 to 60 mph is offered by the Hyundai Accent SE with 7.5 seconds followed by the Chevy Sonic with 8.1 seconds and Kia Rio with 8.9 seconds. The Nissan Versa takes maximum time to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph i.e. 9.7 seconds which is due to its heavyweight. On the other hand, the Hyundai Accent takes advantage of its lighter weight but suffers in terms of ride comfort.

How well does the 2021 Nissan Versa brake?

We do not anticipate any changes with the 2021 model when compared to the 2020 model of the Nissan Versa when it comes to braking performance. The current Nissan Versa is embedded with four sets of disc brakes along with ABS and EBD. The diameter of the front rotor brake is 10 inches while the rear rotor brake is just 8 which is unsatisfactory. It takes 124 feet to stop from 60 to 0 mph with its 2559 curb weight.

The brake pedal does not provide a lot of feedback and the braking performance is quite average to say the least.

Models

2021 Nissan Versa

(Expected)

2020 Kia Rio S Sedan

2020 Hyundai

Accent

2020 Chevrolet sonic

Brake Rotors: Front (inches)

10

11

11

10.8

Brake Rotors: Rear (inches)

8

8

8

NA

Curb Weight (lbs)

2559

2767

2502

2857

60-0 (feet)

124

119

128

124

In comparison, the Kia Rio S provides the best Braking stats with its average Front and Rear Brake rotors i.e. 11 and 8 inches respectively. On the other hand, the Nissan and Chevy Sonic bags second position followed by the Hyundai Accent. Braking improvement is expected with the new 2021 Kia Rio Sedan that could see an upgrade to bigger brake rotors but the same cannot be said about the Nissan Versa.

How well does the 2021 Nissan Versa Handle?

The Nissan Versa is known for its comfortable and cushiony ride. Hence, the 2021 model is expected to ship with the same suspension and steering set up. The current Versa offers a balanced ride and its front-wheel drivetrain handles most roads quite nicely. Nissan has tuned its suspension on the softer side for that extra bit of comfort. The car feels well planted on roads even at high speeds but there is some vertical movement if the road is not all flat. However, the suspension keeps the body composed on the corners as well as on the bad roads. It gets MacPherson struts up front and a twist-beam in the rear which is typical for a car in its segment.

In terms of handling, it offers nothing exceptional and it handles like an average subcompact sedan. However, the steering feels responsive and the car does not feel nervous even at triple-digit speeds. It is easy to maneuver in the city and its steering gains a good amount of heft over the highways. It is also quite easily maneuverable in the city limits or under tight spaces. Overall, the Nissan Versa drives like a typical family sedan and is not a corner craver that can be pushed to its limits.

2021 Nissan Versa Fuel Economy

6.0/10

When it comes to the fuel efficiency the Nissan Versa proves to be a light-on-pocket car. It offers pretty decent fuel economy stats and its 1.6 Liter Regular Unleaded I4 engine is rated 30 mpg combined (27 city/35 highway) which is above average for the class. Though with its 10.8 gallons tank, the transit connect provides a combined range of 320 miles and a highway range of 378 miles. 

Hence, where it loses out on performance it makes up in terms of fuel consumption. Opting for the base 5-speed manual isn’t advised as the CVT offers the best fuel economy among the two transmissions. It is not hard to see that its small inline-4 and CVT combo is built for fuel economy and we expect the same or a slightly better fuel economy with the Nissan Versa's upcoming model.

Models

2021 Nissan Versa

(Expected)

2020 Kia Rio S Sedan

2020 Hyundai

Accent

2020 Chevrolet sonic

MPG(City)

27

33

29

26

MPG(Highway)

35

41

39

34

MPG (Combined)

30

36

33

29

Fuel Capacity (Gallons)

10.8

11.9

11.9

12.2

Range (City/Highway/Combined in Miles)

291/378/320

392/487/425

345/464/392

317/414/360

Talking about the competition, the best fuel economy is offered by the Kia Rio S. The rest of the competitors offer good fuel economy too with the Hyundai Accent and the Kisa Rio being the best. The Chevy Sonic offers the worst fuel economy with a combined fuel economy of 29 mpg. Hence, if you want a frugal car then we suggest to stay clear of the Chevy and focus on its Korean rivals.

2021 Nissan Versa Interior

Another strong aspect of the Nissan Versa has always been its interior quality and cabin. The current model offers impressive interiors for its price with a dashboard covered with stitched leather that offers a premium look. However, the cabin does come with a lot of hard plastics but everything inside feels built to last. Hence, its cabin is a mixed bag of good and the bad that offers durable cloth upholstery, soft-touch material, and impressive features list. On the downside, it lacks storage spaces, and if you look hard enough it is easy to see that the Versa is built to a budget. Its major drawback has always been lack of space in the rear. At the rear, it offers 31 inches of legroom which is acceptable but feels cramped, although it offers a comfortable folding armrest. Talking about the front seats, they offer 44.5 inches of legroom and feel quite comfortable.

The standard driver seat in the Versa is six-way adjustable with height control, which is an improvement over last year’s seats. Like most Nissan products, the Versa benefits from the automaker’s institutional knowledge of making a comfortable seat that’s not bulky but supportive. The Versa’s chairs are one of the most comfortable ones as they offer good under-thigh support and wide bottoms. The rear seats are small but broad, but only the outboard positions will be useful to average-sized adults.

On the other hand, the rear doors are bigger, which makes ingress and egress easier, but the rear legroom is nothing to talk home about. Overall, the cabin of the Versa feels premium for its price but lacks the space its rivals have on offer, especially on the rear bench.

Models

2021 Nissan Versa

(Expected)

2020 Kia Rio S Sedan

2020 Hyundai

Accent

2020 Chevrolet sonic

Seating Capacity

5

5

5

5

Front Row (Headroom/Shoulder Room/Leg Room, in inches)

39.5/53.1/44.5

38.9/54.1/42.1

38.9/54.2/42.1

38.7/53.4/41.8

Rear Row (Headroom/Shoulder Room/Leg Room, in inches)

36.3/53.6/31

37.4/53.3/33.5

37.3/53.7/33.5

37.8/53/34.6

Trunk Capacity (cubic feet)

14.7

13.7

13.7

14.9

The Nissan Versa trumps the rest of its rivals in terms of legroom at the front half of the cabin. While in the rear half Chevy Sonic beats all his competitors. Although, the space provided inside the cabin is pretty much the same in all the competitors, it’s the Sonic that feels the most spacious. The Hyundai Accent and the Kia Rio offer almost the same amount of space due to their similar platform. We expect the 2021 Nissan Versa to ship with the same interior layout and features with minor modifications.

Some of the interior features that attract the buyers are listed below:

  • Cloth upholstery
  • Six-way manually adjustable driver's seat
  • Four-way manually adjustable passenger seat
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • Heated front seats

What about the infotainment system of the 2021 Nissan Versa?

The 2021 Nissan Versa is expected to come with the same infotainment system as the 2020 model. Inside the current model, it provides an attractive infotainment touchscreen with a fluid but a bit dated interface. Most Versas sold get a 7.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, Bluetooth connectivity, SD card reader, and a USB port.

The base versions of the Versa get most of that except the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility on the infotainment front.

The infotainment provided are:

  •  7- inches touchscreen
  •  Apple CarPlay
  •  AM/FM audio system
  •  Android Auto
  •  Nissan Connect
  •  Bluetooth streaming audio
  •  SiriusXM satellite radio
  •  Google assistant
  •  3 USB Cables

How much cargo can the 2021 Nissan Versa carry?

With no changes in terms of physical dimensions of the 2021 Nissan Versa, it shall continue to offer the best cargo space in its segment. Its cargo space has been increased over the previous generation and now it offers 15 cubic feet of space behind its second row. But if you desire more cargo space then Nissan has 60-40 split in the rear seat allowing to free 103 cubic feet of space.

It is wide and practical with its low loading lid which enables you to load and unload the luggage with ease.

Models

2021 Nissan Versa

(Expected)

2020 Kia Rio S Sedan

2020 Hyundai

Accent

2020 Chevrolet sonic

Standard Cargo Capacity

(ft³)

 

15

 

13.7

 

13.7

 

14.9

Maximum Cargo Capacity

(ft³)

 

38.3

 

32.8

 

14.7

 

14.9

Talking about its rivals, the Chevy sonic provides decent cargo space and occupies the second position followed by Kia and Hyundai. However, only the Kia Rio and the Nissan Versa the option of split-folding seats makes them a better choice for moving household items. Overall, the Versa still offers the best cargo area which makes it a great choice for undertaking long-distance journeys with your family.

What are the other storage spaces inside?

The Nissan Versa offers only a few storage spaces throughout the cabin such as cup holders near the shifter and bottle holders on all the door panels. Apart from these, you get your typical glovebox which makes storing your knick-knacks a tricky affair.

2021 Nissan Versa Exterior

3.0/10

The Nissan Versa might come at a cheap price but it doesn’t look cheap at all. Its styling has evolved over the years and it is no more a boxy car that it was in its previous generation. The sloping rear roofline and handsome front grille add to the premium look of the car. It now looks sharper and gone is the bulbous design replaced by a much sleeker looking profile as it borrows a lot from its elder siblings the Sentra and the Altima. The grille is placed low and looks wide with swept-back headlights that help uplift its appeal. With a low window line, its roof gets a floating look thanks to a blacked-out pillar that visually separates the roof with the pillar. In the front, it is provided with a chrome grille and blacked-out trim, which makes it look elegant. You get halogen headlights as standard while the LED headlights and positioning lights features are available in the S trim

The 2020 Nissan Versa’s wheelbase is longer by fractions of an inch now but the overall length is up by about 2 inches to 103.1 inches from nose to tail, and nearly 2 inches added to the Versa’s width. Both the lower trims run on a 17-inch steel wheel and a heated exterior mirror is offered in both trims. Overall, the Nissan Versa looks simple and modern in appearance but also premium. 

Models

2021 Nissan Versa

(Expected)

2020 Kia Rio S Sedan

2020 Hyundai

Accent

2020 Chevrolet sonic

Curb Weight (lb)

2559

2767

2502

2857

Length (inches)

177

172.6

172.6

173.9

Width (inches)

68.5

67.9

68.1

68.3

Height (inches)

57.3

57.1

57.1

59.7

Ground Clearance (inches)

6.8

5.5

5.5

6.1

Wheelbase (inches)

103.1

101.6

101.6

99.4

If we compare the cars with its rivals the first position is acquired by Chevrolet Sonic in terms of road presence. It's a tie between the Kia Rio and the Hyundai Accent in terms of overall dimensions and they take the second position. However, the Nissan Versa has the largest wheelbase off the lot. It also offers the maximum ground clearance in this comparison making it the roughest road-friendly vehicle out of the lot here.

Exterior Features:

  • Carbon-fiber look for the rear diffuser
  • Automatic on/off headlights
  • Halogen projector headlights
  • Chrome grille
  • Blacked outside mirrors

2021 Nissan Versa Safety

2.0/10

We do not expect any changes to be done to the 2021 Nissan Versa in terms of safety features. The current model’s safety features provided with the car are satisfactory and it comes with a wide variety of safety features. With a five-star overall score from the NHTSA and automatic emergency braking on all models, the Nissan Versa is quite a safe car. It also gets safety equipment such as airbags for belted passengers and a rearview camera as standard. 

Some of the safety features provided are listed below:

  • Vehicle dynamic control
  • Traction control system
  • Rear outboard head restraints
  • Latch systems
  • Emergency retractor locking seat belts
  • Tire pressure monitoring system
  • ABS with EBD

2021 Nissan Versa Competition

Nissan Versa Vs Kia Rio S

Both cars are good but if we are looking for internal space, Versa’s longer body gives more legroom than Rio at the front but Kia provides a wider body with more hip and shoulder room. The Nissan Versa has an extra 1.2 cubic feet of cargo room as compared to Kia and also offers folding rear seats. Overall, the Versa also offers better quality interiors.

However, if you are looking for a better fuel economy the Kia is the right choice in front of you. It also provides better acceleration than Nissan Versa. Hence, overall the Kia Rio is a better value for money choice right now with its long list of features.

Nissan Versa Vs Hyundai Accent

Nissan's close competitor is the Hyundai Accent which is not far in terms of price. Nissan Versa's exterior and interior are impressive and better than the Accent. Nissan Versa and Hyundai Accent are pretty similar in terms of mechanical aspects well. However, the Nissan provides a better fuel economy than the Hyundai accent. 

Nissan Versa has a more affordable starting price, a more modern and upscale interior and it’s significantly more technologically advanced than the Accent. So it is a better subcompact sedan available between the two.

Nissan Versa Vs Chevrolet Sonic

When it comes to performance the Chevrolet Sonic is one of the best sedans you can buy in its price segment. Even when we talk about comfort, the sonic provides decent comfort as compared to Nissan Versa. Both also offer almost the same handling and have the same turning radius.

If we talk about performance the Chevy Sonic is somewhat more powerful than the Nissan Versa which does play a big role once you take both the cars on the highway. In terms of road presence, the Chevrolet Sonic is about the same width as the Nissan Versa with the same cargo space. Along the better-looking cabin, the Nissan offers a more premium look while the Sonic feels better behind the wheel.

2021 Nissan Versa Final Verdict

The Nissan Versa has always been an affordable and light on pocket sedan which offers a long list of features, low price, large truck and user-friendly cabin. It provides a comfortable ride along with an array of safety features that ensure the occupant’s safety in the best way possible for the price. While being cheap to buy it is also a cheap car to maintain along with low repair costs. Hence, you should go for this car if you are looking for a cheap sedan that provides features similar to premium cars at a low cost.