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Let’s face it, cheap new cars are a dying breed. Ford and Chevy both recently killed their least-expensive commuter runabouts, the Chevy Spark and the EcoSport for example, and small efficient cars are getting hard to find. Granted, the Spark never really had much spark and the EcoSport was barely sporty. But over at Nissan, the idea of an inexpensive-to-buy, cheap-to-own, and not ugly (we’re looking at you, EcoSport), car survives.

But is the cheapest Nissan, the 2023 Nissan Versa a good daily driver?

The 2023 Nissan Versa is the cheapest new Nissan you can buy

For 2023, the Versa got a much-needed facelift with a new grille and different wheels for upgrade trims. You can order a brand new Versa, with a 3-year/36,000-mile warranty, for $15,830. That’s pretty impressive in today’s automotive climate where it seems the magic number for most cheap new cars is about $22,000. It’s especially noteworthy because it even comes with driver’s assistance features that you only expect on cars that are much more expensive, such as emergency braking and adaptive cruise control.

Curiously, while other manufacturers have switched to droning CVTs for most of their entry-level cars, you can still order a Versa with a five-speed manual gearbox. The automatic CVT on the Versa mimics gear changes and is a $1,500 option.

The 2023 Nissan Versa can be well appointed

The 2023 Nissan Versa got a mild facelift. Shown here in red parked.
The 2023 Nissan Versa got a facelift | Nissan

Sure, we love a $15,830 car. But we also love heated seats and leather trim. Unfortunately, to get that you have to move to the top SR version, which starts at about $21,000, but it’s hard to find this level of equipment on other cars at this price range. For that money you get automatic climate controls, remote start, leather trim, heated seats and a digital gauge cluster.

We love the fact that this isn’t a penalty box on wheels anymore. Nissan knows that you don’t spend a lot of time looking at the outside of your car, so it improved the Versa interior with some upgraded materials, especially in the SR and SV trims. You even get AppleCarPlay and Android connectivity with wireless charging.

The 2023 Nissan Versa isn’t fast, but it’s efficient

rear fender of a red Nissan Versa
2023 Nissan Versa is the cheapest Nissan you can buy today | Nissan

All Nissan Versas come with a small 122-horsepower four-cylinder that spins the front wheels. While it’s not a barnstormer of an engine, it gets the job done and the car can cruise comfortably on the highway. It’s rated at 32 mpg in the city and 40 on the highway with the CVT, which are near hybrid car numbers. Though the base manual car sounds like a good deal, it only sees 27/35 mpg ratings.

Is the Versa roomy?

The steering wheel of the new 2023 Nissan Versa
2023 Nissan Versa interior | Nissan

The back seat isn’t the widest in the business. It’s designed for two adults, or three children ideally. Also, rear headroom of just 36.3 inches would make it a bit cramped for those over 6 feet. That’s the price we pay for the new swoopy styling of the back end. Speaking of the back end, the trunk has 14.7 cubic feet of space. While that’s nothing compared to, say, a Chevy Tahoe, it’s plenty for most suitcases and groceries.

When you add it all up, Nissan has created a car that’s cheap to buy and cheap to own, and it’s not just for teenagers. At J.D. Power, owners said that they like the fuel economy, the styling and the driving feel of the Versa. This is also a car that has the comfort and safety features of many cars costing thousands more. That’s a winner.


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