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2020 Nissan Versa SR Review – Comfort, Value, and Convenience For Under $20K

The 2020 Nissan Versa SR is an amazing value and a car you will love to own.

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The 2020 Nissan Versa is a newly-updated small sedan with seating for five passengers. This vehicle would be considered entry-level by some, but not to us. The Versa SR is a comfortable, enjoyable vehicle we found to be an outstanding daily driver or commuter vehicle.

The American family car has morphed into a crossover, typically the size of the incredibly successful Nissan Rogue. So, while we won’t call the Versa a family-vehicle, it sure fills the role of a first car for those planning to have one someday soon. Here’s our breakdown of a great sedan we cannot believe is available for under $20K.

2020 Nissan Versa – Pricing
The four-trim 2020 Nissan Versa line starts at just $16K including destination with the base S trim. That trim has a five-speed manual transmission. Even at this low price, Nissan includes standard active safety. The S with the automatic CVT transmission starts at $18K. Having not tested this trim level, we cannot comment in detail on it. The SV is the mid-trim Versa and adds Android Auto and Apple CarPlay with a price of around $19K. We tested the Versa SR that had the added Convenience Package which adds heated seats and intelligent Cruise Control. With an as-tested price of $19,435 including destination charges, the Versa is an almost shocking value. We would strongly recommend that new buyers on a budget look closely at the difference between the SV and SR in price and reach up for the SR if possible. The adaptive cruise control, smartphone integration, and the heated seats were important parts of our enjoyment of this great car.

2020 Nissan Versa SR – The Drive
We found that the Nissan Versa SR drives very nicely. We enjoyed driving it during the Columbus Day holiday stretch in the mountains of rural New Hampshire. On back-country roads, it was a joy to drive. Zippy, never underpowered, and with a surprising amount of spring travel that gave us a comfy ride on some dirt roads we traversed. We had this vehicle back to back with a BMW 330i xDrive and the Versa was more enjoyable on the dirt roads by a country mile.
On the highway, the Versa drives bigger than it is, in a good way. It feels more substantial than any other sub-$20K vehicle we have ever driven. The adaptive cruise control is a real asset on long highway stretches. In traffic, the automatic transmission is a big help and we liked the CVT’s operation.
2020 Nissan Versa SR2020 Nissan Versa – Infotainment
The Sub-$20K Nissan Versa SR has the same outstanding and simple to operate infotainment package that the $40K Nissan Maxima does. You won’t miss the native Nav because the Versa SR has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. We used Google Maps and enjoyed our own streaming music or the SiriusXM Sat Rad. Menus are perfectly intuitive and the Versa allows you to customize the vehicle settings to your taste.

The Versa also has easy to use and helpful menus in the gauge display. For example, on our trip, we ran over a large chunk of metal on the highway. Without having ever seen the manual we used the menus on the steering wheel controller to access the real-time tire-pressure display. 33 psi all around. That kind of easy to access information is often left out of vehicles at this price point.

2020 Nissan Versa – Options
We always like to say a bit about other options at a vehicle’s price point in our reviews. Thinking over all the affordable model vehicles we have driven recently, Nissan stands out. We love the Leaf, which after tax breaks and incentives can often be found for around $20K. If you want a green vehicle in this category, that is a great option. We also enjoyed the Nissan Kicks. Both make great alternatives to the Versa and you can test drive them back to back at one location. Other choices we would consider are the Ford EcoSport crossover and the Chevy Bolt EV.

2020 Nissan Versa SR – Conclusion
The 2020 Nissan Versa is an outstanding car at a price we are amazed by. Those on a budget looking for a daily driver or commuter car should start with the Versa SR.

In addition to covering green vehicle topics, John Goreham covers safety, technology, and new vehicle news at Torque News. You can follow John on Twitter at @johngoreham

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Digitaldoc (not verified)    October 17, 2019 - 10:51AM

Sat in the new Versa, and was not impressed despite the positive press reviews. I found the seats uncomfortable, and the hard black plastic pretty excessive. The engine is too small without enough power. While the new versa is arguably better than the last one, it hardly is a good car that anyone will want to purchase.

Digitaldoc (not verified)    October 18, 2019 - 7:16PM

In reply to by John Goreham

I think all of the choices in the subcompact segment are pretty lousy as they are dangerously underpowered. They really just make an argument to find the money for a compact car. I drove the previous Versa as a rental, and found it a stress test getting on the highway each time.

If I had to recommend a sub 20k car, at least the Toyota Yaris, really a Mazda 2, has a 6 spd transmission and is better to drive.

I have not purchased a car, and am looking at subcompact SUVs, and have interest in the Kona with the 1.6t engine that nicely solves the underpowered problem.

digitaldoc (not verified)    October 19, 2019 - 9:32PM

Well aware of the price of the Kona. The frustration with the subcompact cars is that none of them offer any optional engines, and are woefully underpowered. Not sure why no company has offered an optional engine, and rather just hope to get you into a bigger car. Unlike many other buyers, I want a subcompact not for the lower price, but I like a smaller car.