Nissan has given the Versa an update for 2023, but the subcompact sedan remains true to its mission of providing cheap, competent transport. The already handsome front end now has a flashier grille with cascading silver trim pieces, and new optional 17-inch wheels are available to dress up the little sedan’s looks. The Versa is powered by a four-cylinder engine, and while its 122 horsepower isn’t going to win any stoplight drag races, this powerplant will return impressive fuel economy on the highway. The Versa also impresses with its smooth ride, and it packs a suite of high-tech safety features like emergency braking. The 2023 model also brings more interior features, like a larger touchscreen on the top SR trim and a wireless charging pad on the mid-tier SV. Combined with comfy front seats, the 2023 Nissan Versa has a well-appointed cabin for its affordable price point. Add to that its good driving dynamics and efficient engine and the Versa is a handsome, frugal, and solidly capable daily commuter vehicle.
What’s New for 2023?
Nissan has given the Versa a light facelift for 2023, with a revised grille and a new 17-inch wheel design for the SR model. There are also added technology features in the cabin, with the SR trim gaining an 8.0-inch touchscreen, WiFi hotspot, and adaptive cruise control as standard. The SV model also receives a wireless charging pad and a center console with an armrest.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
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 slightly 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. For 2023, the SR gets even more standard equipment, like adaptive cruise control, a WiFi hotspot, and a new 8.0-inch touchscreen. For those who live in colder regions, we’d also add the Convenience package for its heated front seats.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Every Versa is motivated by a 122-hp four-cylinder engine that powers the front wheels. A five-speed manual is the default transmission on base models, but a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) can be had on the S, too. The latter comes standard on the higher SV and SR trim levels. While the Versa feels slow when pulling away from stoplights and during highway-passing situations, its CVT helps prevent coarse noises by mimicking actual gearchanges. The Versa we drove had a smooth ride that isolated road imperfections. It also was much better to drive than the version it replaces, providing accurate steering feel and consistent brake-pedal feedback.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The Versa is rated up to 32 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway when equipped with the CVT. The entry-level Versa with the manual has significantly worse figures, with an estimated 27 mpg city and 35 highway. We tested an automatic-equipped Versa on our 75-mph highway fuel-economy route, which is part of our extensive testing regimen, where it earned 40 mpg. For more information about the Versa’s fuel economy, visit the EPA’s website.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The Versa’s interior no longer looks and feels like a children’s play area. It uses nice materials throughout and has soft-touch surfaces on the doors and dashboard. While Nissan doesn’t offer power-adjustable seats and leather upholstery here, the fanciest model can be had with heated front seats as well as a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. The mid-level SV model unlocks some desirable standard features, such as a digital screen in the gauge cluster. For 2023, the SV also gains a center console with an armrest and a wireless charging pad. The top-tier Versa SR brings automatic climate control, passive hands-free entry, remote start, and more, and adds both a WiFi hotspot and standard adaptive cruise control for 2023. The back seat can comfortably fit two adults but both the Hyundai Accent and Kia Rio have more rear-seat headroom and legroom. The sedan has useful cubbies on its center console, and we managed to fit six carry-on suitcases in its trunk; 17 total with the back seat folded.
The Car and Driver Difference
Infotainment and Connectivity
The Versa features a standard 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with useful buttons and knobs; for 2023, the SR model gets a standard 8.0-inch display. Only the SV and SR trims have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration as standard, but a new package for 2023 allows buyers to add the systems to the base S trim. During our evaluation period, we found that the CarPlay interface responded better to our inputs than the car’s normal menus did. Every Versa has three USB ports and voice-command capability, but anyone who wants the ability to listen to SiriusXM satellite radio will have to look higher than the base model.
How to Buy and Maintain a Car
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
The Nissan sedan comes with a lot of standard driver-assistance technology, including automatic high-beams and lane-departure warning. For more information about the Versa’s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:
- Standard front and rear automated emergency braking
- Available blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert
- Available adaptive cruise control
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
While Nissan’s limited and powertrain warranties fall short of the lengthy coverage that Hyundai and Kia provide, its protection plans are comparable with most other rivals. The Versa also doesn’t come with complimentary maintenance.
- Limited warranty covers three years or 36,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers five years or 60,000 miles
- No complimentary scheduled maintenance
2020 Nissan Versa SR
front-engine, front-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan
PRICE AS TESTED
$19,645 (base price: $19,135)
DOHC 16-valve inline-4, aluminum block and head, port fuel injection
98 cu in, 1598 cc
122 hp @ 6300 rpm
114 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm
continuously variable automatic
Suspension (F/R): struts/torsion beam
Brakes (F/R): 10.0-in vented disc/8.0-in drum
Tires: Continental ContiProContact All Season, 205/50R-17 89V M+S
Wheelbase: 103.1 in
Length: 177.0 in
Width: 68.5 in
Height: 57.7 in
Passenger volume: 89 cu ft
Trunk volume: 15 cu ft
Curb weight: 2697 lb
Zero to 60 mph: 10.4 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 33.9 sec
Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 10.3 sec
Top gear, 30–50 mph: 5.0 sec
Top gear, 50–70 mph: 6.9 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 18.0 sec @ 79 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 178 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad*: 0.86 g
Observed: 26 mpg
75-mph highway driving: 40 mpg
Highway range: 430 miles
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/city/highway: 35/32/40 mpg
More Features and Specs