The history of the Nissan Versa is a convoluted one, to say the least. The Nissan Motor Company originally introduced this compact sedan under the nameplate Almera in 1995. In 2011, a U.S.-spec Almera was introduced at that year’s New York International Auto Show as the second generation Versa. The first generation Versa was a four-door sedan hatchback version of the Nissan Tiida, unveiled at the 2006 North American International Auto Show. According to a 2008 press release, Nissan stated that the name “Versa” was derived from “versatile space.” This slogan is meant to convey the vehicle’s spacious interior and its configurable cargo arrangements.
Despite the confusing history, one thing has remained consistent from one version and generation to another: it’s been among the cheapest compact sedans on the market. According to a U.S. News list of the cheapest cars in 2013, the Versa was the second cheapest sedan ($5,559) after the Chevrolet Spark ($5,197). And it succeeded in making MotorTrend’s 2021 list of the cheapest new sedans. Not only that but the 2021 Nissan Versa made first place on that list with a starting MSRP of $14,930 (cheaper than the $15,855 listed by MotorTrend). MotorTrend humorously stated, “Unlike subcompact cars of old, the latest Versa doesn’t look dorky or drive like a shopping cart. And the back seat is actually useable, while the trunk is quite roomy.”
Asian carmakers totally dominated MotorTrend’s 2021 list of the cheapest sedans
Out of the 10 sedans listed by MotorTrend, nine of them are produced by Japanese and Korean vehicle manufacturers. The only non-Asian vehicle manufacturer that made the cut was Volkswagen with its Jetta making 7th place. Not surprisingly, the 2021 Toyota Corolla is last on the list, especially when you consider the strength of the brand and the strong reputation held by the Corolla for years. Like Volkswagen, only one Toyota made this list.
Both Kia and Hyundai have more than one sedan on the list with Nissan having two, including the newly designed Sentra. The 2021 Hyundai Accent managed 2nd place and is priced just under $1,000 less than the Versa, according to MotorTrend ($16,390). However, Hyundai’s U.S.-based website shows an MSRP of $15,395.
Coming in at third place, you have the 2021 Mitsubishi Mirage G4 priced at $16,830 according to MotorTrend. But when visiting Mitsubishi’s website, the MSRP is listed at $15,295. While this would technically make the Mirage G4 second place on MotorTrend’s list, the Nissan Versa still maintains the top spot.
Reasons why the 2021 Nissan Versa deserves to be on this list despite being the cheapest
In a review article published by MotorTrend and linked to the 2021 list of the cheapest sedans, reviewers seemed fairly pleased with the upgraded Versa. It states, “Long known for its affordable pricing as well as its you-get-what-you-pay-for fit and finish, the Nissan Versa has changed. In the sleek, current-generation Versa, mini-Altima looks [to] replace the dowdy, cartoonish look of its predecessor. Available only as a sedan, the Versa is a stylish, practical, fuel-efficient, and tech-packed commuter that won’t cost you an arm and a leg; pricing starts just under $16,000.”
Since many people in the United States have been forced to drastically cut back on spending, those who want to buy a car might consider a pre-owned model. But with the 2021 Nissan Versa, dreams of owning a new car have been rekindled. While this economy compact sedan isn’t the fastest or the most luxurious, it’s a perfect choice for people on a budget but wants a new car warranty and new car smell. A brand-new Versa comes with a $500 rebate – because the smell of cash is even better.
Plus, Nissan offers some really cool special offers that include the Nissan Military Program, Nissan College Grad Program, Nissan service offers, and coupons.
A brief overview of the redesigned Nissan Versa
As the Nissan Versa is intended to be an economical vehicle, it’s powered by a 122-hp four-cylinder engine with front-wheel drive. The automatic CVT that comes standard with the higher SV and SR trim models helps prevent rough gearbox sounds by mimicking actual gear changes. According to Car and Driver, the Versa drove smoothly and did a great job isolating road imperfections. Test drivers also mentioned that it drove “much better to drive than the version it replaces, providing an accurate steering feel and consistent brake-pedal feedback.”
If you opt for the CVT equipped model, you should expect an EPA-estimated range of 32 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway. As for the five-speed manual, it gets a lot less with an estimated EPA range of 27 mpg in the city and 35 on the highway.
The 2021 Nissan Versa offers three trim levels: S, SV, and SR. The Versa S is the base model and the only one that offers two transmission options, a five-speed manual transmission and a continuously variable transmission. This is a compact sedan but is able to seat up to five people with between 39.5 inches of headroom in the front and 39.3 inches in the rear. The front seats offer a lot more legroom at 44.5 inches and only 31 inches in the rear. The 2021 Versa’s cargo space is 14.7 inches, with the Car and Driver review stating that test drivers were able to fit six carry-on suitcases in its trunk.
It comes standard with a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system. The bad thing is that only the SV and SR come with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and SiriusXM satellite radio. But every model features three USB ports and voice command capability. Overall, the 2021 Nissan Versa is the perfect car for buyers on a strict budget; just don’t expect much.