My current favorite Nissan is the Kicks, Nissan’s small SUV that offers a strong mix of value, technology and a surprisingly large passenger area for a vehicle of its size — but not all-wheel drive. And now, the same thing could be said of the 2020 Nissan Versa, which is being shown at the 2019 New York International Auto Show after its recent debut at a music festival.
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The redesigned Versa gets big-time changes inside and out. The new styling borrows heavily from other redesigned Nissans and the result is a Versa that looks like a smaller version of the Altima sedan. That’s a positive change for the Versa, as the old car had awkward proportions and looked very dated. Styling has been tightened up and the car is longer and wider, but height is 2.3 inches lower, which makes it look lower and sleeker rather than awkward and tall.
On the inside, the added length (1.6 inches) and width (1.8 inches) are felt in the backseat, which has very comfortable outboard seats even for adult passengers – something that’s a rarity in this subcompact class. The only thing I would like is a bit more headroom, as the side of the ceiling dips down a bit and I could feel my hair brushing against it (I’m 5 feet, 11 inches tall).
The Versa also offers a surprising amount of cargo room: 14.7 cubic feet in the trunk, which is more than the compact Toyota Corolla (13.1 cubic feet) and even the mid-size Toyota Camry (14.1 cubic feet). It’s a subcompact car that essentially offers compact car passenger and cargo space, an impressive bit of interior packaging.
Up front, the ancient-looking dashboard is significantly improved. There’s a touchscreen now, which appears identical to the one in the Kicks. The top-of-the-line SR model also had attractive contrast stitching (like the Kicks) and faux leather on the dashboard (also from the … well, you get the picture). There are still some things that recall the Versa’s budget nature, such as the rough headliner and missing inboard armrest for the front passenger, but those reminders are fewer than in the old vehicle.
Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are optional, and the Versa also comes with a good amount of standard safety equipment. Forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection, rear automatic braking, lane departure warning and high-beam assist are all standard. Nissan offers adaptive cruise control, blind spot warnings and a driver attention monitor as optional.
More From Cars.com:
Android Auto, Apple CarPlay Among 2019 Nissan Versa Offerings
2018 Nissan Kicks Review: Impressive Value and Utility Without AWD
5 Ways the 2018 Nissan Kicks Is Kick-Ass in the City
Toyota’s Yaris Hatchback Back for 2020, and It’s a Mazda
Research the 2019 Nissan Versa
Among small sedans, where some automakers are pulling back from, Nissan is doubling down, and I think this strategy could pay dividends. If the new one can come anywhere close in price to the previous generation (which started at just $13,255 including destination charges), it’s a definite winner. It has the same formula that impressed me about the Kicks so much: low price, big room and a strong set of features.
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