2023 Nissan Versa SR Review: A Delightful Daily Driver

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Written by Paul Strauss | April 23, 2023
2023 Nissan Versa SR Review: A Delightful Daily Driver

Not every car has to be built for action or adventure. Most people simply need a vehicle to get them to and from work, to run errands, and maybe take a person or two with them. The 2023 Nissan Versa SR does all of those things well and exceeds expectations in terms of design, features, and safety tech. The Versa has been Nissan’s entry-level compact sedan in the US since 2006. It’s seen three major generations plus a facelift for the 2023 model year. The most notable change for this year is a new version of Nissan’s V-Motion grille, flanked by redesigned LED headlamps. The overall look is more cohesive and sporty, especially on the SR trim vehicle I tested. The most athletic looking of the Versas has a dark chrome grille, black painted mirrors, a body-color trunk spoiler, and rolls on 17″ alloy wheels.

The Versa is powered by a 1.6-liter, 4-cylinder engine that produces 122 horsepower and 114 lb-ft. of torque. It works with a continuously-variable transmission (CVT) to send power solely to the front wheels. Acceleration is what you’d expect from a small, naturally-aspirated engine, and the CVT gets the job done, which is better than I can say about some other CVTs I’ve experienced. Fuel economy is good, with an EPA-rated 35 MPG combined. With its 10.8-gallon tank, you should be able to travel nearly 400 miles between fill-ups. I was pleasantly surprised by how the Versa handles. Its front strut and rear torsion beam suspension does a great job smoothing out bumps and isn’t harsh in the least. The power steering system is easygoing and reasonably accurate.

The Versa SR’s cabin is impressively quiet, besting other more expensive cars I’ve recently driven by keeping wind and road noise to a minimum. The dashboard design is nice and clean, incorporating soft-touch materials and sporty orange stitching. The cloth seats are comfy and feature matching red trim along their edges. The leather-wrapped steering wheel has a premium look and a sporty D-shape design. The front seats are nicely heated, as are the side mirrors, to help keep them free of ice on winter days. The headroom is good throughout the cabin, and I was perfectly comfortable driving this small car as a 6-foot-tall person.

Nissan has been generous with the technology in this trim level as well. There’s an 8″ color touchscreen with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support and a wireless phone charger. There are USB A and USB C ports in the center stack, plus an extra USB C port inside the small center console armrest. The intelligent cruise control system does a good job maintaining vehicle speed when the vehicle in front of you slows down or speeds up, and it’s also got safety features like blind spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, and a system that helps detect driver fatigue and inattentiveness and encourages you to take a break. It does this by monitoring steering for unusual input.

The cloth rear seats get the same red trim as the front and offer a reasonable amount of legroom and kneeroom for a car of this size. It can get a little cramped for taller passengers, but only if you’ve got tall people up front with their seats pushed back. There’s a single USB-C port on the rear of the center console for charging gadgets back here. They can fold in a 60/40 split configuration so you can pass through large items from the trunk while still accommodating a passenger. The Versa’s trunk is about what you’d expect from a compact car.

With 15 cubic feet of cargo space, you have enough room for grocery bags or a couple of suitcases, though the fold-down seats help with cargo-carrying versatility. The 2023 Nissan Versa SR is a great place to start as a daily driver. It’s quiet, fuel-efficient, quiet, and well-priced. You can get into a base model Versa for as little as $15,830 with a manual transmission, with the well-equipped Versa SR starting at just $19,820.

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