2020 Nissan Versa SR CVT: Rainbow Delight

Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins

Small cars get the job done efficiently, economically, and conveniently. If you need to park in a micro space in the downtown area of your city, then done. If you require 35 to 40 highway mpg for long journeys, then done. And if your overall budget is less than $22,000, then done. You won’t be winning road races in this category, and your girlfriend will not be highly impressed on date night, but you will have a greater peace of mind knowing that essentialism can be achieved in a respected manner. Thus, the little 2020 Nissan Versa SR 4-door sedan provides the essentials for day-today human operations.

From the Toyota Sentra to the Kia Forte, there are good competitors in this division who each have a strategic edge over the next.  Of course, styling is going to be one of the first markers that catch buyers’ attention. The lower, wider, and longer 3rd generation Versa is defined by sharp lines, a robust V-motion grille, boomerang-shaped headlamps and taillamps, and what Nissan calls a floating roof. It’s like that short fellow in the crew with the loud and deep voice needed for attention. The vehicle is small but confident. Consumers can select from eight lively exterior hues such as Electric Blue Metallic and Scarlet Ember Tintcoat, or the vibrant color my loaner arrived in aka Monarch Orange Metallic. Black contrast trim outlines the mirrors, window frame, grille border, and the rear taillamps. A trunk lid spoiler and pseudo-carbon-fiber trim on the rear bumper’s lower half add character.

The small guy gets its juice from Nissan’s next-generation 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine for 122- horsepower and 114 lb-ft of torque. It’s not much to accelerate with, but it does offer 32 mpg city, 40 mpg highway, and 35 mpg combined. In a timely fashion, I had to make an impromptu but essential run to Virginia from Maryland, which was about 150 miles each way. I was thanking the efficient engine and enhanced Xtronic transmission packaging the entire ride down and back. Though, the strong winds that day blew us around and required a stern grip on the sporty, leather-wrapped flat-bottom steering wheel. A 5-speed manual is also available on the Versa S model. Versa’s attractive 17″ alloy rims come wrapped in 205/50R17 Continental ContiProContact Grand Touring all-season tires designed to improve handling and steering response while supporting wet traction performance and hydroplaning resistance.

Inside, Nissan color coordinated the black SR text mesh seats with stitching flairs of the orange to make the cabin flow sweeter than a rainbow delight tropical smoothie. The carbon-fiber pattern also makes its way inside to bundle with Nissan’s “Gliding Wing” instrument panel, heated seats, 7″ touchscreen audio display (no featured apps), Automatic Climate Control with large knobs, Bluetooth streaming audio, RearView Monitor, Siri Eyes Free, etc. But the audio system with just six speakers could use a little boost. Well, I love pompous sounds, so maybe I’m asking for too much here. There is an upgrade for a center armrest with storage for $300 for those in need. The Versa’s trunk space is quite honorable as I loaded up three suitcases, two duffle bags, and gear for the kids who went to quarantine at a relative’s place.

Nissan Safety Shield 360 is at your disposal for added security and mindfulness. Standard on the SV and SR, the system incorporates Lane Departure Warning, High Beam Assist, Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Rear Automatic Braking, Blind Spot Warning, and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert into one thoughtful parcel.

Offered in three models: S (MT), S (CVT), SV, and SR, the 2020 Nissan Versa starts at $14,730 for the entry-level Versa S manual transmission and increases to $18,240 for the SR. My SR package totaled $21,885 with the $895 destination fee and options, including the $855 Electronics Package, $690 Lighting Package, and $395 Premium Paint upgrade.

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