In August 2018, the average price of a new car transaction came to $35,541. If you look at the vehicles that surged during the month, you get an idea how that number got so high.
Over 6,000 sales of the BMW X3 ($41,000) and nearly as many of the Ford Expedition ($52,130) drove up these transaction prices. Meanwhile, sales of the humble Nissan Versa ($13,255 including destination) had fallen by 50%.
Overall, it’s been a year of losses (?24%) for the lowest-priced car on the U.S. market, but it’s far from done. The Versa Sedan and its pricier hatchback version (Versa Note) are still posting more sales than the Mazda 3, Dodge Durango, and Volkswagen Jetta.
For the 2019 model year, Nissan will look to at least sustain its performance with the Versa Sedan and Versa Note. Here’s everything you’ll find new in both models.
Earlier in 2018, Nissan brought a standard rearview camera and 7.0-inch color touchscreen to every Versa Sedan. As it launches the 2019 edition, consumers will only see a $50 increase in the price of the base (S) model with manual transmission ($12,360).
All Versa sedans continue coming with the 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine (109 horsepower). Upgrading to the Xtronic transmission, a CVT that boosts fuel economy significantly, means going for the Versa S Plus ($14,500). That also went up $50.
The only factory option on these base models remains black 15-inch alloy wheels ($505).
2. SV Special Edition package
Car shoppers will find the biggest changes in the SV Special Edition package ($800), which went up $300 for 2019 and goes with the Versa SV Sedan ($15,990) with Xtronic transmission. This package will keep the 15-inch aluminium-alloy wheels, fog lights, chrome accents and leather-wrapped steering wheel.
It gains a push-button start function (Nissan Intelligent Key), a vehicle immobilizer system (to stop the car remotely), and a “fill tire” alert. In terms of infotainment, NissanConnectSM brings Apple CarPlay and Android Auto aboard with Bluetooth hands-free phone and texting.
Versa drivers also get the Sirius XM option with the package. All things considered, it’s probably worth the extra money if this tech is important to you.
3. 2019 Versa Note
If you want more versatility and space than the budget sedan, the Versa Note hatch starts at $15,650 with standard Xtronic transmission. That’s about a thousand dollars more than the Versa Sedan that drops the manual transmission.
Besides the better drive experience and V-motion grille you find in modern Nissan sedans, Versa Note comes with standard Bluetooth. For 2019, the NissanConnectSM infotainment suite becomes an option in SV ($16,550) and SR ($18,360) trims. All the same updates come with the SV Special Edition package, which tacks on $735 here.
4. Fuel economy and safety specs
In the base Versa Sedan, drivers get an EPA-estimated 30 mpg combined, which is about the minimum you should expect from a car of this size. Models that drop the manual transmission for the Xtronic do significantly better: 34 mpg combined with 39 mpg highway. That saves you at least $30 per year in fuel costs over the manual.
Versa Note, which uses the Xtronic transmission exclusively, gets 34 mpg combined. Both models have shown above-average reliability in the past few years.
On the safety front, the news is less encouraging. Versa sedans got a poor rating in small overlap front tests, which showed the driver’s legs to be vulnerable in a crash. Other tests returned the top scores, but these models continue to lack advanced safety equipment for 2019.
Nissan dealers were already marketing the Versa Sedan in late September, and Versa Note hatchbacks will follow later in the fall.