Interior Comfort and Ergonomics
The interior is where the Versa excels over the other subcompacts. The seating position is fairly high, offering the driver a good view of the surroundings. The aforementioned large greenhouse is great for visibility out of the car, to see the big semi barreling towards you as you struggle to get on the freeway.
The first thing you will notice is the amount of space surrounding your head. The Versa has an unusually high ceiling and the windshield extends pretty far out front, giving the cabin an airy feel.
Rear passenger space is also quite decent for a subcompact, with enough legroom for adults and also great head space. I installed a rear-facing child seat in the middle, and found it a little tight for that, but the rear seats are wide enough for two adults to be back there with the baby.
Ergonomics are just OK on the Versa. The tester had the steering wheel-mounted controls for radios, phone and cruise control, which are great. But the dash-mounted radio, climate and nav controls are a little bit of a reach for the driver.
The tester also had Bluetooth for cell phones which works really well, and the power window and mirror controls are all easily located and quite usable.
The hatch back opens easily with the push of a button and the latch is located at a good height, I didn’t have to bend down to open it like on the Kia Sportage. The keyless entry (part of the $960 premium package) comes in really handy, and is something you normally don’t expect on a sub-$20k car.
The Versa 1.8 SL HB with the moonroof, floor mats, Premium Package and the Nav and Satellite radio package MSRPs for $19,995. Without these niceties the MSRP is $16,900. You can also get the base Versa sedan with the 1.6 L and a 5-speed manual for $9,990. That’s under ten grand! It comes standard with six airbags. In today’s world of cars that keep getting bigger and option lists running a mile long, that is simply amazing for a brand new car. Sure, one can always buy more car at that price point if one buys used, but there’s no way you can get the new car smell for less money.
If you are into a new French-looking car with lots of interior space for under $20 grand, the Nissan Versa is definitely something you want to consider. While the Versa is a million years ahead of my old 1986 Sentra Coupe, it is still no driver’s car, at least in the CVT configuration.
It is a competent compact car with subcompact pricing that gets decent MPG and will offer you all the amenities you expect in nicer cars…at a price.
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