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2019 Nissan Versa: What You Need to Know

US News & World Report - Cars logo US News & World Report - Cars 12/7/2018 U.S. News & World Report
a car parked in front of a blue wall: 2019 Nissan Versa© Nissan North America, Inc. 2019 Nissan Versa

The affordable 2019 Nissan Versa has decent cargo and passenger room for a subcompact car. However, it ranks near the bottom of its class because it has a drab design with low-rent materials, and it falls short on safety features, power, and agility compared to rivals.

The 2019 Nissan Versa is ranked:

Is the Nissan Versa a Good Car?

The Nissan Versa has spacious seats and a larger trunk than many rivals. It’s also one of the most affordably priced new cars on the market, and shoppers can pick between a sedan or hatchback body type. However, the Versa is not that good a car. It prioritizes being as affordable as possible, which translates to this vehicle’s look and feel. Its cabin is full of low-grade materials, and many rivals have stronger acceleration, nimbler handling, longer features lists, and more available safety technology. While its rivals may cost more, many of them are a better value.

Should I Buy the Nissan Versa?

The 2019 Versa’s main claim to fame is its price. As a bare-bones way to get from point A to point B, the Versa suffices. That said, nearly every other subcompact car offers more than this Nissan. All of them cost a little more, but their advantages generally make them worth the extra money.

The Kia Rio, Honda Fit, and Chevrolet Sonic are all class leaders among subcompact cars. Each has a higher-quality interior, more horsepower, and more tech features than the Nissan. They have higher retail prices, but they’re all better cars.

Should I Buy a New or Used Nissan Versa?

The 2019 Nissan Versa belongs to a generation that launched for the 2012 model year. For 2019, the Versa is available with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which were not offered in older models. The new Versa is already affordable, but you could save even more money with a used car. There were no big updates in the 2018 Versa. The Versa Note hatchback received refreshed exterior styling for the 2017 model year, while the sedan gained a similar exterior styling update for 2015. However, there haven’t been many other major changes. If you want the Nissan Versa Note hatchback, you’ll need to stick with 2014 models and newer.

Visit our reviews of the 2016, 2017, and 2018 Nissan Versa if you're interested in a used model. Also, check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts on used vehicles.

We Did the Research for You: 72 Reviews Analyzed

Our goal is to provide you with the information you need to make car shopping a breeze. You'll find everything you need to know about the Nissan Versa in our comprehensive review. It combines concrete data (like fuel economy estimates, safety scores, and cargo space dimensions) with professional evaluations from over 70 automotive sources. This Nissan Versa review incorporates applicable research for all models in this generation, which spans the 2012 through 2019 model years.

Why You Can Trust Us

We’ve been reviewing cars since 2007, and our Best Cars team has more than 75 years of combined automotive experience. We also award the Best Cars for the Money, Best Cars for Families, and Best Vehicle Brands on an annual basis. To ensure our impartiality, a third party handles our advertising, and we don't accept expensive gifts from automakers.

How Much Does the Nissan Versa Cost?

With an MSRP of $12,360, the 2019 Nissan Versa sedan is one of the lowest-priced new cars you can buy. The Versa Note hatchback starts at $15,650, which is still less than the starting prices of a few rivals. Even the top-of-the-line trims for the sedan ($15,990) and hatchback ($18,360) are much less expensive than the top trims of competitors. In a few cases, they’re less expensive than even the base trims of some rivals, such as the Toyota Prius c and Volkswagen Beetle.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Nissan dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Nissan deals page.

Nissan Versa Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Nissan Versa or Hyundai Accent?

The Hyundai Accent may not be a leader in the subcompact car class, but it’s much better than the Versa. The Hyundai has a stronger engine and composed handling. It has more available safety features, like forward collision warning. While it has a lot of hard plastics, its cabin still feels more refined than the Versa’s. The Nissan Versa does have more trunk space and rear-seat legroom, though. Additionally, you can’t get the new Accent as a hatchback. With a base price of $14,995, the Hyundai Accent is around $2,600 more expensive than the Nissan Versa sedan. However, it is the better car. If it's in your budget, go with the Hyundai.

Which Is Better: Nissan Versa or Ford Fiesta?

Like the Versa, the 2019 Ford Fiesta comes in sedan and hatchback body types. Neither configuration has the rear-seat space or cargo room of the Versa. However, the Fiesta has a stronger engine, and it’s more fun to drive, zipping over roads and showing pinpoint agility around turns. Its starting retail price of $14,260 makes it roughly $1,900 more expensive than the Nissan Versa sedan. But if you don’t need the Nissan’s extra space, the Ford is the better pick.

Versa Interior

How Many People Does the Versa Seat?

Regardless of body style, the four-door Versa seats up to five people on standard cloth upholstery. Upgraded cloth seats, faux suede seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a driver’s seat armrest, and a rear-seat center armrest are available.

There’s ample head- and legroom in both rows, and even the rear seats have enough space for two tall adults. The front seats are comfortable enough for short trips and daily commutes, but they lack the cushioning to remain supportive on longer rides.

Versa and Car Seats

The Nissan Versa has two full sets of LATCH car-seat connectors in the rear outboard seats. There’s a third tether anchor for the middle seat. The lower anchors are set deep in the seats and difficult to access.

Versa Interior Quality

This Nissan’s cabin feels cheap. The interior is filled with low-grade materials and hard plastics, and the bland design fails to impress.

Versa Cargo Space

At 14.9 cubic feet, the Versa sedan has a larger trunk than most rivals. The Versa Note has 18.8 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats and 38.3 cubic feet with them folded down. Those figures are about average for a small hatchback. For comparison, the Honda Fit hatchback has a maximum 52.7 cubic feet of storage.

Versa Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Like many subcompact cars, the base Versa is sparsely equipped. Standard features include a four-speaker stereo, Bluetooth, a USB port, and a 7-inch touch screen. Push-button start, remote keyless entry, proximity keyless entry, cruise control, satellite radio, and NissanConnect with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are available.

The infotainment system is easy-to-use. There are redundant buttons and knobs for controlling audio and climate settings, and they’re all well positioned to be within reach of the driver. For 2019, the Versa offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, bringing it a step closer to many rivals’ technology offerings.

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto?

Versa Performance

Versa Engine: Boring but Adequate

Both the Versa sedan and Versa Note hatchback have a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 109 horsepower and 107 pound-feet of torque. The sedan has a standard five-speed manual transmission, while the Note comes standard with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). This CVT (Nissan calls it Xtronic) is available in the sedan.

In both configurations, the powertrain is adequate for cruising around town, though it won’t blow you away. Acceleration takes patience, and the transmission can be noisy at higher speeds.

Versa Gas Mileage: CVT Boosts MPG

With the manual transmission, the Nissan Versa has fuel economy estimates of 27 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. That’s subpar for the class. Models with the CVT earn 31 mpg in the city and 39 mpg on the highway. Those fuel economy estimates are more in line with other subcompact cars. The Ford Fiesta with an automatic transmission gets 27/37 mpg while the Toyota Yaris with its automatic transmission gets up to 32/40 mpg.

Versa Ride and Handling: Smooth and Sleepy

This Nissan has a smooth, comfortable ride. Its suspension soaks up road imperfections with ease. The Versa has a tight turning radius that makes it easily maneuverable in confined spaces. However, it’s not going to wow you. It lacks the agility of class rivals like the Toyota Yaris sedan or Honda Fit.

Versa Reliability

Is the Nissan Versa Reliable?

As of this writing, J.D. Power has not evaluated the 2019 Nissan Versa.

Nissan Versa Warranty

The Nissan Versa is covered by a three-year/36,000-mile limited warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile limited powertrain warranty. Many subcompact cars have comparable warranty terms.

Versa Safety

Versa Crash Test Results

As of this writing, neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has crash tested the 2019 Versa. However, the similar 2018 model earned the highest rating of Good in four crash tests done by the IIHS but received the lowest rating of Poor in the small overlap front test. The Versa Note hatchback earned a Good rating in its sole conducted test. The NHTSA gave both the sedan and hatchback four out of five stars in the rollover crash test. The sedan also got four stars in front and side tests, while the hatchback got three stars in the front crash test.

Versa Safety Features

Aside from a rearview camera, there are no standard safety features in either the Nissan Versa Note or Versa sedan. Many rivals have more standard or available safety features.

Which Nissan Versa Model Is Right for Me?

Nissan offers both Versa body types in three trim levels. The sedan is offered as the Nissan Versa S, S Plus, and SV, while the hatchback is offered as the Versa Note S, SV, and SR. All Versa cars have the same four-cylinder engine and front-wheel drive. The Note hatchback is more expensive than the sedan, but it comes standard with an automatic transmission instead of the manual.

The base Nissan Versa S trim and the S Plus sedan don’t have many features. You won’t even find power windows or door locks in either model. Your best bet is to move up to the top-trim SV. It’s still affordable compared to many class rivals, and it’s available with several tech upgrades like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Nissan Versa S

The Nissan Versa S has a base price of $12,360. It has a five-speed manual transmission, air conditioning, cloth seats, Siri Eyes Free, a rearview camera, a four-speaker sound system, Bluetooth, a USB port, and a 7-inch touch screen. The Note S (MSRP: $15,650) swaps out the manual transmission with an automatic but is otherwise similarly equipped.

There are no notable options or packages offered with this trim.

Nissan Versa Sedan S Plus

The Sedan S Plus has an MSRP of $14,500. It adds cruise control, a continuously variable transmission (CVT), and some design upgrades. As with the Sedan S, there are no available packages.

There is not a corresponding hatchback variant to the S Plus.

Nissan Versa SV

The Sedan SV has an MSRP of $15,990. It has remote keyless entry, power windows and door locks, upgraded cloth seats, and 60/40 split-folding rear seats.

For $800, you can equip the SV sedan with the SV Special Edition package. It adds fog lights, alloy wheels, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, proximity keyless entry, push-button start, satellite radio, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto.

The Note SV (MSRP: $16,550) has nearly identical standard and available features as the sedan. However, it does not offer 60/40 split-folding rear seats.

Nissan Versa Note SR

The top-of-the-line Note SR (MSRP: $18,360) has all the features of an SV model outfitted with the Special Edition package. On top of that, it has larger 16-inch alloy wheels, 60/40 split-folding rear seats, and faux suede upholstery.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Nissan dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Nissan deals page.

The Final Call

The 2019 Nissan Versa is one of the more affordable cars on the market. You can get this new car as a sedan or as a hatchback called the Nissan Versa Note. It has a spacious cabin, and the sedan body type offers a large trunk. However, this vehicle lacks much of what people seek in a new car. It doesn’t have a peppy engine, the latest safety features, or a posh cabin design. This Nissan is designed to be as inexpensive as possible. If you’re on a tight budget, it’s worth a look. Otherwise, skip the Nissan Versa.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

Read the full 2019 Nissan Versa review on U.S. News & World Report for more details, photos, specs and prices.

Research the Nissan Versa Sedan on MSN Autos | Research the Nissan Versa Note on MSN Autos


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