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GP 1y 2021 Nissan Versa: a good product, but for whom? - The Times Hub

2021 Nissan Versa: a good product, but for whom?

2021 Nissan Versa: a good product, but for whom?

The Nissan Micra no longer exists. The Versa Note either. As Nissan focuses on paid vehicles, SUVs, it made sense to rationalize the offer, by scrapping products with lower profit margins.

Spectacular turn of events! The Nissan Versa is back in the picture for 2021, but this time exclusively in the form of a sedan.

Why is there no hatchback variant? Because the Versa hatchback, or the Versa Note if you prefer, is now called Kicks. Yes, this small SUV offered with front-wheel drive only perfectly represents the current market, meaning that even traditional subcompacts can easily be converted into “SUVs”, and thus bring more profits to shareholders.

Tight price range

Back to the new Versa. Sold for just over $ 18,000 as a basic manual transmission version, the 2021 Versa arrives with a new look, a new interior and greatly improved handling. But beware, for $ 2000 more, you can get a basic Sentra, and for $ 3000 more, you get a basic Nissan Kicks.

What market is Nissan targeting with this vehicle barely cheaper than its other entry-level products? In the middle of a snowstorm, we put the 2021 Versa to the test in the Montreal area to try to answer this question.

Photo: Marc-André Gauthier

Really improved

I am fortunate to know the Versa sedan well: a member of my family has one, and I have often driven it.

This older generation version was very comfortable for a subcompact sedan, and provided a lot of space for passengers. For the rest, it was an anemic car to drive, coming out of a time when Nissan seemed to want absolutely to copy the Toyota formula, something greatly successful in terms of boredom …

The new version, painted a nice blue, has retained these two qualities, comfort and space. In fact, it’s astonishing how much better, even on rough Montreal roads, the 2021 Versa absorbs shock better than many compact sedans. In terms of space, nothing has changed: whether forward or backward, the seats are surprisingly generous. We have a lot more room than in most subcompact SUVs, like a Mazda CX-3 for example.

2021 Nissan Versa: a good product, but for whom?

Photo: Marc-André Gauthier

Added to that are a lot of good things. For example, the exterior look has been revised to use the brand’s stylistic language, and it’s successful. Looks like a little Maxima, very cute. The interior is finally worthy of the 21st century! We now have a nice HD screen with a modern infotainment system, and the dashboard is crimped with a screen capable of showing a bunch of information, ranging from the speedometer to gas mileage.

The only thing that can be faulted with the cabin is that the driver’s pivot armrest is a bit short, and there is no storage in the center console.

Under the hood is a well-known Nissan engine, a 1.6-liter four-cylinder developing 122 horsepower at 6,300 rpm, and 114 lb-ft of torque. Mated to a last generation CVT box, no choice to admit that the assembly does a good job. No, we will not win races with this mechanism, but we will get from point A to point B without too much frustration. Small snag, with an average consumption of around 7.5 L / 100 km, we would have expected better, since a Sentra, with a more efficient engine, does not consume much more than that …

In terms of behavior, the Versa shines. For a small car, driving is precise and fun, without compromising overall comfort. This is really what the engineers managed to do!

2021 Nissan Versa: a good product, but for whom?

Photo: Marc-André Gauthier

A car for whom, then?

Very nice, this little Versa. However, as mentioned above, the question is who it is for. Who will buy it? For a few more dollars a month, you get access to the Sentra – bigger and more powerful – or a trendy small SUV, the Kicks.

The answer lies in the equipment. You have to understand that a fully equipped Versa SR (sport), with nice wheels, advanced safety technologies, etc., sells for $ 22,783, including freight and delivery costs. At that price, we are far from having a well-equipped Sentra or Kicks. So, for those who want gear on the cheap, the Versa may be a nice option.

2021 Nissan Versa: a good product, but for whom?

Photo: Marc-André Gauthier

On the other hand, for someone who lives in the city, and wants a comfortable car that squeezes everywhere, parks easily, and is able to carry four adults without having to spend a fortune, the Versa is ideal, although it does not have a tailgate.

While several manufacturers have chosen to ditch their subcompact models for 2021 (think the Toyota Yaris, the Honda Fit or the Hyundai Accent), Nissan is making a surprising decision by bringing us the Versa. The product is successful, no doubt about it. It remains to be seen whether consumers will be there!

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