Drive Notes: 2024 Nissan Versa SR

The high cost of new cars is often bemoaned by consumers and keyboard warriors such as us alike. Sticker prices are high these days, no doubt. Enter the 2024 Nissan Versa -- a potentially decent set of wheels for under $25K.

Is the Versa a good entry-level ride or a penalty box?

Read on.

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The 2023 Nissan Versa Is the Hero We Need Right Now

Are you finding food too expensive? Do fuel prices have you down in the dumps? Tired of selling valuable bodily fluids to cover the phone bill? Boy, do we have good news. In a world where the average transaction price for a new automobile exceeds $47,000, the refreshed 2023 Nissan Versa still starts below $17,000 – including destination and delivery fees.

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Buy/Drive/Burn: The Cheapest Sedans in America for 2021

Imagine for a moment you’re not a well-heeled connoisseur of expensive cars and high finance, and there’s not a Bentley Mulsanne and a Land Cruiser in your garage. Instead, imagine you have to buy one of the three cheapest sedans on sale in America in 2021.

Today it’s Buy/Drive/Burn meets Ace of Base.

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Ace of Base: 2020 Nissan Versa S Five-speed

A few days ago, on the Official TTAC Slack Channel(TM), our bearded car reviewer was carping about the MSRP of a Nissan Versa he happened to be testing that week. “Too expensive!” he grumbled into his facial shrubbery, before extolling the virtues of several terrible French cars.

This got your author thinking: on sale now for the better part of a year, and recently refurbished from “Beirut taxi” to something resembling an actual car you’d want to drive, how does the base S model stack up against its bucks-deluxe brother which found itself on one of our doorsteps in Ohio?

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Ace of Base: 2020 Nissan Versa S

Our weekly sojourn into the nation’s vehicular bargain bin sometime takes a turn towards the extreme (you know we’ll be featuring the 2020 Corvette soon enough) but, every now and then, your author comes to his senses and remembers what this post is supposed to be all about.

It’s supposed to be about cheap cars like the one you see before you, of course. For the new model year, Nissan has re-upped on its smallest sedan at a time when other manufacturers are running away from such machinery en masse. A base model still exists of course, so let’s find out what this brand is offering those who choose to sit in the cheap seats.

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2020 Nissan Versa First Drive - A Step Up

Nissan’s Versa was previously known for one thing – being the cheapest car you could buy.

That will no longer be the case with the 2020 Nissan Versa.

An increase in price, however modest, should, in theory, correspond with an increase in quality and/or performance. The previous generation had little to recommend it beyond its bargain-basement price. Nissan is aiming to change that – the redesigned Versa will cost you more, but there’s improvement on offer.

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Hereditary: 2020 Nissan Versa Is Unmistakably Nissan, Less Entry-level Than Before

Regardless of which angle it’s viewed from, Nissan’s next-generation Versa stands atop a box and screams “Nissan!” for all to hear. From the side, you’d be forgiven for thinking someone shrunk the Maxima. Looking at the upward-sweeping character line and upstairs/downstairs door handles, its identity could be that of the new Altima. Head-on, a pedestrian might think they were being run down by a Leaf.

Yes, the 2020 Versa keeps it in the family in terms of design, donning a corporate grille and styling flourishes borrowed from its larger siblings. Perusing the car’s specs, it seems that — flat-bottomed steering wheel aside — its mission hasn’t changed one iota.

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America's Second-cheapest Nissan Bows Out of the Market

Journalists who holler nonstop for “affordable cars!” have one less model to choose from. As it isn’t a vehicle patterned off the original Fiat 124/Lada 1200, with the quality and handling of a BMW, suffice it to say the Nissan Versa Note probably didn’t rank high on their might-buy list.

And yet the Versa Note did offer buyers a cheap way to move five people and a decent amount of cargo from place to place, with a standard continuously variable automatic sweetening the pot for those who never bothered learning a stick. After 2019, it’s gone from North American dealers.

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Take Note: Nissan Announces Pricing for Its Littlest Hatchback

Despite a public hell-bent on buying trucks and crossovers, Nissan is boldly continuing to forge paths and spend money in the sedan and subcompact categories. As Tim noted earlier this week, the company’s optimism in those segments comes at an interesting time.

We can now chalk another one up in the small car department for Nissan, by way of the 2019 Nissan Versa Note. This diminutive little hatch wears clothes that differ greatly from its sedan brother, a trait for which it should be thankful.

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Nissan Recalls 166,000 Vehicles in North America Over Ignition Switch Snafu

Nissan is recalling roughly 166,000 vehicles due to an ignition switch issue that could cause the vehicle’s engine to shut off while driving. The automaker said 153,000 of the recalled units are in the United States, with another 13,000 in Canada.

Hoping to stave off additional problems before the matter can be resolved, Nissan has requested that drivers remove all objects from their vehicle’s keyring (extra keys, comically heavy keychains, etc). According to Transport Canada, select Nissan vehicles equipped with a mechanical key ignition system utilize a spring that could wear and break, allowing the ignition to inadvertently move from the on position to the accessory position. Obviously, that’s not the kind of surprise you want while navigating a particularly tricky piece of road.

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QOTD: What Car On Sale Today, If Given To You Free, Would You Give Right Back?

I’m all for cheap cars. What I’m not for is unnecessarily cheap cars. And if I was given a new, fresh-out-of-the-Thai-takeout-box Mirage, I’d probably give it right back.

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Review: 2014 Nissan Versa Note (With Video)

Making a “cheap” car is a tried and true formula for most auto makers. Making a car with a low sticker and a solid value proposition is tough. Not only do you have to keep the starting price low, but you have to worry about fuel economy, maintenance, insurance and everything that goes into an ownership experience. Reviewing cars that focus heavily on value is even trickier. Indeed a number of buff-book journalists were offended by the Versa Sedan’s plastics, lack of features and small engine. My response was simple: what do you expect of the cheapest car in America? Trouble is, the Versa Note isn’t the cheapest hatchback in America, so this review is about that elusive quality: value.

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Chicago 2014: Nissan Versa Note Gets "Sporty"

Nissan has added a few “sports car-inspired” design cues to its practical grocery getter.

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Review: 2014 Ford Fiesta Hatchback (With Video)

For many Americans, the words “Ford Fiesta” dredges up memories of a claustrophobic rattle-trap competing with “Geo Metro” for the title of Worst American Small Car. Personally, the only time I ever wanted a fiesta was during a drunken weekend in Cabo, and it had more to do with tequila than cars. But that was four years ago and 214,000 Fiestas ago. Since then the Fiesta has proved that an American car company is capable of creating a desirable compact car. Is the party over, or is the car’s first refresh a sign that the party has just begun? Let’s find out.

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First Drive: 2014 Nissan Versa Note Hatchback (Video)

I seem to be the only car guy with a soft spot for the Versa. My peers at Car and Driver, Consumer Reports and Autoblog (among others) came off less than impressed by the least expensive car in America when we were all invited to its launch. That left me scratching my head. S o I borrowed another one and came to the same conclusion: “Versa delivers a totally unobjectionable experience at a very compelling price.” This apparent disconnect bothered me for a while but I wrote it off as a “lack of perspective” suffered by my peers in the biz. Seriously guys, what do you expect out of the cheapest car in America? The new 2014 Versa Note however isn’t the cheapest car in America, nor is it the cheapest hatch in America. How does it stack up? Nissan flew me to San Diego to find out.

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  • Michael S6 Somewhat shocking that Tesla has maintained its sky high stock valuation. The faithful continue to have unshakeable faith in Musk. Tesla models are in dire need of redesign to be competitive although the model 3 recently got a refresh. I test drove a model S six months ago and it's was very nice driving car. However, the interior was very underwhelming in quality of materials and design. There is absence of physical controls such as a turning stalk, and the rear seat was uncomfortable. Tesla would have been in much better shape if they redesigned its current models to face the competition, rather than spending so much money creating a Cybertruck.