• All-new subcompact sedan adds features and style
  • Strong suite of safety systems standard
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto available
  • On sale this summer
  • Pricing still to come; current model starts below $13,500


For its latest vehicle debut, Nissan skipped an artificially lit convention center filled with industry-specific attendees and opted instead for a beach packed with thousands of concert-goers. The all-new 2020 Nissan Versa sedan debuted Friday during a pop-up performance at Rock the Ocean’s Tortuga Music Festival in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

The debut of this all-new Nissan Versa subcompact sedan comes just days ahead of the New York International Auto Show, the kind of event where such unveils usually take place among automotive media and industry executives. Rather than fight for attention among myriad other similar vehicle introductions, Nissan pre-empted them by giving the new Versa a public debut in a festive environment where one couldn’t help but have fun.

“First impressions are exceptionally important, which is why we are thrilled to introduce the all-new 2020 Versa directly to our customers in such a memorable way,” said Claudia Marquez, vice president of sales operations, Nissan North America. “The Versa is our first impression into the Nissan family. I believe that when customers see this beautiful new car and all the amazing technology that comes with it for the price, they will be part of the Nissan family for life.”

In addition to unveiling the new sedan at the 3-day music festival, Nissan created a “village” inside the venue with a complimentary lounge, Wi-Fi and other amenities to further attract interest.

All-new, but price expected to remain low

All new inside and out, the 2020 Versa marks the first overhaul for Nissan’s entry-level sedan since it launched as a 2012 model. In that time, the Nissan Versa has courted value-minded buyers thanks to its high-efficiency and ultra-low price. With a starting price below $13,500, including destination charge, the current Nissan Versa continues its reputation of being the lowest priced new car in America.

While Nissan is keeping mum on the 2020 Versa’s price, we imagine it will maintain its value position.

Packed with features

What we do know is that it’s packed with features, especially ones pertaining to safety that are especially important for the kind of younger drivers the Versa attracts. Standard on every 2020 Nissan Versa sedan are automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning, automatic high-beam assist, and rear automatic braking – an especially rare feature on this class of car.

More active safety features are available, part of Nissan’s Safety Shield 360 system, and include blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, radar cruise control, and a system that monitors driver alertness.

All Versa models will come with push-button start, keyless entry, and power windows. Optional will be amenities like heated front seats, automatic climate control, and a biggie for anyone with a modern phone: Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration.

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All-new design

Let’s be real for a sec: While the outgoing Versa has always had an attractive price and a surprisingly roomy interior, its design doesn’t exactly turn heads. Dowdy is the best descriptor that comes to our mind.

Thankfully, that too changes with this all-new Nissan Versa. Suffice to say, it looks like a smaller version of the Altima, which also just had a full reboot and packs plenty of pizzazz.

As with the Altima and Nissan’s flagship Maxima sedan, the little Versa makes a bold statement up front with the brand’s “V-motion” grille and boomerang headlights, while in back is a “floating roof” – a design aspect that the Maxima debuted years ago and that has since been followed by competitors.

Inside, the Versa also mimics aspects of its older brothers with what Nissan dubs a “Gliding Wing” instrument panel and upgraded materials.

Versa powertrain improved

Under the hood, the 2020 Nissan Versa will retain a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine, but it has been improved to make 122 horsepower and 114 lb-ft of torque, up from respective 109 and 107 figures of the current model. The next-gen Versa will again be offered with the choice of a 5-speed manual transmission or a CVT automatic. We expect fuel economy to at least match or exceed the 31 mpg city and 39 mpg highway ratings of the current CVT-equipped model.

When does the new Nissan Versa go on sale?

The 2020 Nissan Versa will hit showrooms this summer. Pricing will be announced closer to the new Nissan Versa’s on-sale date, but we expect it to remain very competitive.

The competition

As other automakers like Ford and Chevrolet are pulling out of the small-car market, Nissan sees an opportunity with the new Versa, just like Toyota does with its all-new 2020 Yaris. From this first look, it appears Nissan is bringing another strong contender as its gateway vehicle into the brand.

Deals on wheels

While we strongly encourage you to wait for the new Versa, if you need a cheap car right now, you can get a great deal on the old Versa. But really, you should wait.

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