2021 Nissan Versa is a small but capable sedan Featured

Posted On Monday, 07 June 2021 23:09 Written by
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The 2021 Nissan Versa is one of the few remaining subcompact sedans available to car buyers. The 2021 Nissan Versa is one of the few remaining subcompact sedans available to car buyers. Photo courtesy of Nissan

As we move closer to everyone and their mother having a truck or SUV, small car offerings are a rarity these days, especially the subcompact vehicles that seem to be disappearing more and more each year.

The Nissan Versa is one of the few still available to those in search of a tinier ride: A subcompact, front-wheel-drive, 4-door sedan. I spent a week in a 2021 Versa, and I’m back with a full report on this small but capable ride.


Completely redesigned in 2020 and touched up a bit for 2021, the 2021 Nissan Versa is now one of the better-looking subcompact sedans available on the market, inside and out.

Legroom is always a concern in a subcompact, but up front there’s plenty to spare even for taller folks. In the back, of course, it’s going to be a bit cramped, which is why these types of vehicles are often used as commuter cars and not family carriers.

Heated front seats are offered, as well as Automatic Climate Control. A 60/40-split fold-down rear seat provides a bit of flexibility to help carry cargo.

Moving outside the vehicle, a classy and modern look sets this little ride apart from its competitors. Exterior dimensions are 1.6-inches longer and 1.8-inches wider than the previous generation Versa, and the ride height is 2.3 inches lower. It features what Nissan calls a “V-motion” grille, as well as LED headlights. A wide variety of colors are offered, from Electric Blue Metallic and Monarch Orange Metallic, to Super Black and Aspen White TriCoat.

The interior is not fancy, but it’s functional. Seating is comfortable and the tech setup is well-designed. Total interior volume is 88.9 cubic feet, with 14.3 cubic feet of trunk volume.

A leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob are offered, and you get push-button start.

Tires are 15-inch standard, with options for 16-inch and 17-inch tires on higher trim levels.


If you are looking for power, look elsewhere, as the 2021 Versa is powered by a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine, featuring 122-horsepower and 114 lb-ft of torque. The engine is paired with an enhanced Xtronic automatic transmission or available 5-speed manual (on the base Versa S trim level only). The Versa comes in FWD only, with no AWD option.

Zero-to-60 time is nearly 10 seconds, which makes freeway merging and passing a bit difficult at times. But the vehicle is quite smooth once you get moving. The engine can be a bit noisy, but handling and agility is impressive. 

The vehicle features electric power steering, Hill Start Assist, and an Anti-lock Braking System with Brake Assist.

One thing I noticed driving the Versa is you feel much lower on the road vs. all the larger cars. For example, you can see lights from taller vehicles shining into your ride.


Small cars tend not to have all the tech and safety bells and whistles that larger ones do, but the Versa bucks that trend to some extent, offering more features than the competition.

The available Nissan Safety Shield 360 suite features Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Rear Automatic Braking, Lane Departure Warning, High Beam Assist, Blind Spot Warning and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. These features are standard on both the SV and SR trim levels.

Other available technology on the Versa includes Intelligent Driver Alertness and Intelligent Cruise Control. Government safety ratings are also very strong (nearly all five stars), and you get 10 standard airbags.

As far as technology, you get a 7-inch touchscreen display on the infotainment system, and voice commands work very well. The overall tech setup works well and is easy to use for people of all skill levels.


The official fuel mileage numbers on the Versa are 32 city/40 highway/35 combined. In my real-world testing, I averaged just 27 mpg, which was lower than I expected and will be beaten by its competitors.


The 2021 Versa that I tested was a loaded SR-level offering, and cost just over $21,155; base price starts about $15K. The Versa is one of the most affordable new vehicles available today, and will save you some dough vs. other models in class.

Trim levels include S, SV and SR.


The 2021 Nissan Versa is a low-powered but smooth ride that features an attractive design and is extremely affordable. Not everyone needs a large vehicle, and for this group the choices are increasingly limited in recent years. Thankfully they have some strong subcompact options like the Versa to choose from. 


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Matt Myftiu can be found on Twitter @MattMyftiu

Additional Info

  • Vehicle: 2021 Nissan Versa    
  • Price as tested: $21,155      
  • Best feature: Affordability, smooth ride, design   
  • Rating: 3.5 out of five stars     
  • Who will want this vehicle?: People looking for an attractive and affordable small car option
Matt M. Myftiu

Matt Myftiu has been a journalist for two decades with a focus on technology, NASCAR and autos.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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