2020 Nissan Versa Is No Longer A Frumpy Duckling, Gets New Tech And More Power Too

Some automakers are abandoning sedans, but Nissan has unveiled the all-new Versa at the Tortuga Music Festival in Florida.

Looking like a shrunken down Altima, the 2020 Versa has a slender V-motion grille which is flanked by angular headlights. Moving further back, there’s a sculpted hood and a more rakish windscreen.

The redesigned sedan sports sleeker bodywork and a prominent character line that continues all the way to the wraparound taillights. Designers also give the Versa a more dramatic roofline and a sportier greenhouse with a “kick-up” near the C-pillar. The model also has a faux floating roof which will likely prove controversial.

One thing everyone can appreciate is Versa’s all-new interior which no longer looks like it was made by Playskool. Nissan didn’t say much about the cabin, but the pictures show the SR variant will have a flat-bottomed steering wheel and a high-tech instrument cluster. The latter has a large display with a digital tachometer, but the speedometer is analogue.

Elsewhere, there’s an upholstered “Gliding Wing” dashboard and a modern infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility. We can also see two-tone upholstery and tasteful chrome accents.

Nissan didn’t go into details, but confirmed the entry-level Versa will have remote keyless entry, a push button ignition and power windows. Customers will also be able to order an assortment of high-end options including heated front seats and an automatic climate control system.

Speaking of options, the 2020 Versa can be equipped with the Nissan Safety Shield 360 suite of driver assistance systems. It includes Blind Spot Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Intelligent Driver Alertness and Intelligent Cruise Control. This is on top on standard safety features such as Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Rear Automatic Braking, Lane Departure Warning and High Beam Assist.

Power is provided by an upgraded 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 122 hp (91 kW / 124 PS) and 114 lb-ft (154 Nm) of torque. This is a modest improvement of 13 hp (10 kW / 13 PS) and 7 lb-ft (9 Nm) of torque.

Despite the updated engine, Nissan decided to retain the old five-speed manual transmission. Thankfully that isn’t the only option as customers can also chose an “enhanced” CVT.

The 2020 Versa will go on sale this summer and Nissan said the model will have a “price fitting buyers in the segment.” That’s pretty vague, but the outgoing model started at $12,460.

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  • disqus_6AHa0ycWUI

    They nailed it. Smart design concept, basically downsize the last generation of your flagship sedan and make that design available at a low price point. Also, theoretically, the Kicks is the versa note replacement seeing as they share the same interior

    • Eythan Aldrich

      On top of that…..the Versa Note wil be axed although the Kicks is the Juke’s replacement in the US

      • Perry F. Bruns

        The Kicks seems to be replacing both the Juke and the Versa Note in the US. Considering the Versa Note cost a few thou more than the Versa sedan, I think it will work out all right. Of course, they could bring the Micra hatch over as a new Versa hatch.

        • Eythan Aldrich

          hmmm….I think you made your point

  • Super Rob

    I don’t understand why anyone would buy one of these, or any car in this class. Buy a two year old Civic or Corolla instead. They are real cars that have power and can hold actual adults. Buying brand new a little car like this just doesn’t make sense.

    • MayTheBestCarWin05

      You raise a good point. But a lot of people like the idea of a brand new car.

    • TheBelltower

      People with iffy credit have a lot more financing options with new cars. You aren’t going to get 84 month financing on a ten year old Civic.

      • Super Rob

        If a 10 year old Civic is your budget then you aren’t buying a new Versa either.

    • tkindred

      I have pretty good credit, descent income and bought a Chevy Spark because of its size, price, and mpg. A car to me is either for utility or fun. I plan to get a pure hardcore sportscar for the latter. I personally don’t like driving cars larger than I need. Many reasons I prefer a smaller car. Too many to list.

      • Super Rob

        I would buy a 1 or 2 year old Corolla over a new Spark every day of the week. It even gets better mileage as a little bigger car. Definitely will last longer.

  • Adilos Nave

    Behold, the future of Hertz rental cars.

    • Loquacious Borborygmus

      Haha, when you walk up to your rental in the parking lot it’ll be a real Hertz donut.

    • .. EL CHAPO THA GREAT 🤴🏻

      Still will sell as always

  • NeoShark

    thumbs up for the blonde

  • charlotteharry57

    The exterior is a huge step up, but the interior doesn’t back up the exterior. Infotainment screen is too low, for one. Like my beef with the mush-brained management over at Mazda these days, the like-brained management team at Nissan has decided that Nissans command Toyota prices, have way less equipment for the $, and discounts (the big ones) have gone bye-bye. Pricing for the Altima is just laughable. I hope this one comes in under $20K fully loaded.

  • DM

    So “modern” yet so bland. The interior looks already outdated.

  • Liam Paul

    I got to give Nissan credit, this looks good, well in top trim anyhow

  • Dennis Scipio

    For what it is, being an inexpensive entry level car, it looks nice.

  • Wow, what an upgrade from the current model!


  • Paul

    That thing looks seriously nice compared to the old one. I want to see the S version for comparison though because the top of the line always looks good. I actually think it looks a bit nicer than the new Altima too.

  • California Guy 90

    Designwise it is basically a Micra sedan which is a good thing. I really like it.
    It is great to see car makers investing in small affordable hatches and sedans instead of only SUVs and crossovers.
    I hope it is better than the predecessor. Had one as a rental in San Francisco for two days, it was one of the worst cars I’ve ever driven.

  • Leconte Dave

    Where’s the Sentra?

    • :/ Yurr

      It’s coming, I think that’s next.

    • JRP

      We might see that at Shanghai.

  • Craig

    I like this a lot! This, the Mazda 3 and the 2020 Corolla are great looking small cars. The Honda Civic? Not so much.

    • SpongeBob99Swell

      However though, the Versa in a league/segment that’s lower than that of the 3, Corolla, Civic. The Sentra competes with those cars.

      The Versa rivals the Fit and the Yaris (albeit the new one being essentially a badge-engineered Mazda 2)

      • Craig

        Right you are. And that makes it even more appealing. Less expensive.

  • WalthamDan

    It’s finally like a normal car, albeit one with a Nissan CVT.

  • Six_Tymes

    nice job Nissan. this looks very good. and I love the flat bottom steering wheel, nice touch

  • SpongeBob99Swell

    ….not bad! A junior-sized Altima in styling, with finally more potential in an otherwise generic segment.

    We’ll see how it’ll stack up..

  • SteersUright

    Not frumpy? This thing is hideous. For good design in this class, look to the Mazda3 sedan and even some of the Korean cars.

    • J-Triumf

      Not hideous at all, this looks way better than the Mazda dildo.

  • erly5

    It ain’t great is it? But it’s a vast improvement on what went before!

  • :/ Yurr

    Definitely looks better, much needed redesign. Those Halogens 😷…just make everything LED. And how does this get the digital gauge cluster but not the new Altima…doesnt make since.

  • J-Triumf

    This is such a beautiful design, definitely the best looking execution of Nissan’s current styling language (and the haters need their eyes checked), especially because of its aerodynamic shaping; a sedan version of the current Micra as someone else has said. Now if only they could make a performance SR/Nismo version with 200 HP, limited slip and tight suspension, then I’d be sold on one for sure.

  • FlameWater

    wow way to make the last gen model look like the ugly step child

  • Stephen G

    I think you must be interested in a Leaf then?

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