Car Buyer Labs

Car Buying Advice, Tips, and Reviews

A red 2023 Nissan Versa Sr is shown parked near a city.

2023 Nissan Versa: Low Cost, High Value

Quality doesn’t come cheap, except when it comes to the 2023 Nissan Versa. One of the last of its kind, the Versa is a budget-friendly subcompact sedan that doesn’t compromise style for cost. Starting at $15,980 MSRP, the Versa is a fantastic option for anyone looking for a reliable vehicle that won’t break the bank. Several trim options let you decide how many features you want on your car so you aren’t paying extra for stuff that you don’t need.

You have the option to choose a five-speed manual transmission for the most basic package or take a look at one of the three automatic options. Available in the S, SV, or SR trim, the automatic features an Xtronic Continuously-Variable Transmission (CVT) for those who prefer the benefits of controlled shifting. Getting the CVT on the base trim only increases its price by a couple of thousand, keeping it quite affordable. It comes as no surprise that the Versa has been a recipient of the Consumer Guide Automotive Best Buy Award for several years in a row, highlighting its value.

A silver 2023 Nissan Versa SR is shown driving on a highway near a city.

The 2023 Nissan Versa S Five-Speed Manual

The 2023 Nissan Versa S with manual transmission is the most cost-effective option. Its manual transmission lets you be in control and has the added perk of a more responsive acceleration. The fun and sporty S is equipped with a 1.6L I-4 engine and gets respectable gas mileage with an estimated 27 MPG in the city and 35 MPG on the highway. With improved gas mileage comes savings, which is another plus in the Versa column.

The manual S is equipped with plenty of features that make it a great value. An assortment of safety features, like Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, High Beam Assist, and a Rear View Monitor are all standard, not compromising safety for the bottom line. The S is also equipped with a 7.0-inch color touchscreen that offers features like voice recognition, Bluetooth, and a Hands-Free Text Messaging Assistant to provide you with enough tech to keep you connected safely.

This five-seater is ideal for commuting, running errands, or toting around the family. The interior is simple but comfortable and practical, with a hint of attitude in the form of matte carbon-fiber door trim, dark charcoal cloth seating, and a corresponding dash. Plus, the exterior is sleek and classy, making the Versa a car you want to be seen in.

The 2023 Nissan Versa S Xtronic CVT

For a little bit more, you can choose the 2023 Nissan Versa S with a CVT. Paired with the same engine, the Xtronic CVT provides smooth and seamless shifting, as well as improved fuel efficiency. The S, SV, and SR are all capable of getting an estimated 32 MPG in the city and 40 MPG on the highway. So, even if you are paying a little more upfront, you will end up saving over time thanks to improved gas mileage.

Beyond the different transmission types, the S automatic is relatively the same as the S manual. They come with the same safety features, infotainment technology, and so on. However, the S automatic has the option to upgrade certain components, which are not offered in the manual. Upgrading any options will of course increase the overall price, so keep that in mind.

The gray interior and dash of a 2023 Nissan Versa is shown.

The 2023 Nissan Versa SV

The SV trim is only available with an automatic transmission, as is the final SR trim. You’ll find the SV’s transmission mated to the same engine and it gets the same impressive fuel efficiency. A few extra safety features are added to this trim, increasing the tag price, but this bump gets you a Blind Spot Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and Intelligent Driver Alertness.

The SV also receives a few exterior changes, like body-colored mirror caps, and some interior changes like upgraded upholstery. One of the most convenient upgrades to this trim is the back seat gets swapped out for a 60/40 folding seat to allow you to customize how you load it. The SV also gets a bunch of tech add-ons like an upgraded touchscreen, the addition of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a wireless charger; plus, you get a push-button start.

Coming in at a great price makes this trim my favorite so far. It offers all of the safety and convenience features you could ask for, while providing some premium styling and added comforts. The addition of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto makes it easier to connect your smart devices and creates a more inviting space for your family.

The 2023 Nissan Versa SR

The SR is the top trim of the line-up but even so, it still comes in at a very reasonable price. While the SR costs slightly more than the SV, you get to enjoy the same benefit of saving at the gas pump. The SR swaps out standard cruise control for Intelligent Cruise Control and adds in heated side mirrors along with Remote Engine Start featuring Intelligent Climate Control.

Cloth seating in the previous trims is replaced with Sport cloth and covers, plus you get heated front seats. The dash is trimmed with Prima-Tex appointments and the steering wheel is leather-wrapped. One of the other major changes is made to the Infotainment screen, which is enlarged to an 8.0-inch display and comes with NissanConnect Services.

All-in-all, the SR is pretty great but many of the upgrades aren’t essential. Heated seats and a larger Infotainment screen are nice, but not necessary if they push the Versa outside of your budget. Of course, since the price tag is still quite reasonable, splurging might not make you feel too guilty. Choosing the SR is more about a matter of preference and deciding if the minor price bump is worth the luxury extras.

The trunk space of a red 2023 Nissan Versa is shown.

Affordable Maintenance Across the Board

Regular service is important to maintain your vehicle, but depending on the vehicle even the maintenance can get pretty costly. That’s why it’s important to understand what can impact maintenance before you buy. One example is choosing a vehicle that is all-wheel drive (AWD) vs. front-wheel drive (FWD). AWD vehicles can handle rough conditions better than their two-wheel counterparts thanks to increased traction. However, that doesn’t mean that AWD is necessary for everyone.

All-wheel drive introduces a few extra maintenance costs compared to FWD vehicles. For instance, it is usually recommended to replace all four tires on an AWD vehicle, even if only two of them need replacing. This is because the tread on all four tires needs to match for optimal performance. FWD vehicles don’t rely on all four wheels for traction the same way as AWD so it is acceptable to replace only two tires on a front-wheel vehicle if only two are needed. Tires can be costly, which is why the Versa’s front-wheel drive is a great money saver.

Additionally, AWD vehicles use different components to successfully divert power for directed traction. These additional components add to the need for extra maintenance, specifically concerning differential services. On FWD vehicles, the differential is typically incorporated into another component, but on AWD models there is typically a separate differential in the rear that requires attention and maintenance. This can add a little bit to your typical maintenance.

Another consideration is that on vehicles with fancy, high-end appointments such as leather seating, you have to be careful how you care for it. For cloth seats, all you might need is a vacuum and some spot cleaner, but for leather, you will need a special cleaner. It is recommended to clean and condition leather monthly, which means more time caring for your vehicle and more money on leather cleaning and leather conditioner.

Save Big With the Compact Nissan Versa

Many of us feel like we need to keep up with the Joneses, always wanting the newest and best of everything. It’s those ideas that often lead to us spending more than necessary on a new car, with some new cars costing as much as a house! But you don’t have to overextend yourself to find a quality and reliable vehicle that is sure to get you where you need to go for many years to come. The Nissan Versa is perfect for those of us looking to get a vehicle that is low in cost and high in value. It’s more than worth a look for anyone wanting to save on a new car, providing you with great features inside and out, terrific fuel economy anywhere you need to go, and a smooth driving experience that you’ll look forward to each day.