If you want a brand-new car in the United States in 2024, it’s going to cost you $17,530 before options, taxes and tags. That’s the base price and destination charge of the 2024 Nissan Versa, the least-expensive new car you can buy.
Nissan offers the least expensive new vehicle in the U.S.: the 2024 Nissan Versa with a price tag of $17,530. That’s 64% less than the average new vehicle price of $48,759, according to Cox Automotive.
If you’d like to compare it to its competition, well, there are only two: the Kia Rio and Mitsubishi Mirage G4. They’re more expensive, although not by much. Still, if you’re looking for a car in this class, every penny counts.
Offered in S, SV and SR grades, the Versa measures 177 inches long, 68.5 inches wide, 57.7 tall and has a 15 cubic-foot trunk. So it’s about the same size the Sentra and its ilk were decades ago.
Of course, the great thing about the Nissan Versa is that it has some of the fashion sense of its pricier siblings. That’s saying a lot considering how dowdy its predecessors were. Then again, the first Nissan Versa was built at a price for the Chinese market, and only later shipped to America. Still, that was then and this is now. These days, this cheap date comes with the brand’s signature V-motion grille, floating roof, and C-pillar design trim.
Certainly, it doesn’t look as if you’re paying penance for having spent less. But that changes once you climb inside.
At this price, you can expect lots of durable hard plastic surfaces in shades of gray and black. But the funeral coloring shouldn’t shade your judgement. There are padded surfaces where you’d expect them, and such conveniences as power windows, power door locks, Bluetooth and cruise control. Opting for the S Plus option on base models adds Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, 60/40 split sear seat and 16-inch alloy wheels.
The SV being trimmed with a padded instrument panel and stitching, which certainly elevates the ambience a bit. There’s also a center console with armrest, a wireless charging pad, 7-inch infotainment touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and SiriusXM satellite radio. Step up to the SR and you’ll get the sort of niceties you’d never expect in this class, including as automatic climate control, heated front seats, intelligent key with pushbutton start and automatic headlights. And its touchscreen is larger, at 8 inches. A four-speaker AM/FM audio system is standard unless you opt for the SR, which comes with six speakers.
How much muscle?
Regardless of which trim level you choose, all Versa come powered by a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine generates 122 horsepower and 114 pound-feet of torque through a 5-speed manual transmission on base S models. A continuously variable automatic transmission is optional on the S and standard on the SV and SR. Payload on the S trim is 862 pounds, rising to 948 pounds for the SV, but falling to 876 pounds on the SR.
Fuel economy is EPA-rated at 32 mpg city, 40 mpg highway and 35 mpg combined with the CVT, and 27 mpg city, 35 mpg highway and 30 mpg combined with the 5-speed manual. The EPA estimates you’ll pay $250 less in annual fuel costs by choosing the CVT. Yet it costs a minimum of $1,190 to choose it over the base manual, meaning it takes nearly five years before you start saving money by choosing the CVT over the manual.
Standard safety features including Automatic Emergency Braking and Lane Departure Warning. Opting for the SV adds Blind Spot Warning and Rear Cross Traffic Alert.
Hitting the road
The Versa does a great job of fitting the description of a low-end economy car. Slow off the line and reluctant to provide additional power, its sluggish engine whines loudly, as it provides good fuel economy at an affordable price. This is all basic transportation, not excitement. Its stiff ride and noticeable body lean while cornering will not surprise any economy car owner.
But the SR test car’s tires do provide a surprising amount of grip. Typically, low rolling resistance tires are fitted to deliver better fuel economy. This fancy footwear’s traction makes for added piece of mind.
The cabin proves roomy up front and merely adequate in the rear, a change from previous models that boasted expansive second rows,. Instead, there’s a very voluminous trunk considering the size of the car.
Certainly, the 2024 Nissan Versa is among the last affordable compact sedans offered in America. Fuel economy is decent, performance is adequate and space is about what you’d expect. In other words, it’s a run-of-the-mill economy car.
It certainly is automotive salvation for those who thought they might have to settle for a used car and can get a new one instead. This way, you’re not buying someone else’s problems.