2020 Nissan Versa Preview

May 29, 2019
  • New exterior styling reminiscent of redesigned Altima, Maxima sedans
  • Lower, longer, and wider than outgoing model
  • Standard automatic emergency braking
  • Newly available traffic-sensing technology for front, side, and rear
  • Available blind-spot warning and intelligent cruise control
  • New SR trim level brings sporty elements to the Versa lineup
  • Versa Note hatchback has been dropped from the lineup


Not only is the Nissan Versa known for being the automaker’s most affordable model, it’s also one of the least expensive models available, period. For 2020, the Versa continues to offer a compact package but with a surprising amount of interior space, as well as new safety technology that makes it more competitive with others in the segment.

2020 Nissan Versa photo

The redesigned 2020 Versa debuted at Rock the Ocean’s Tortuga Music Festival with a notably new look that seems much more Altima-like than Versa. With its newly standard and available tech and safety features, the 2020 Versa is in even better position to battle its main competitors, the Toyota Yaris and Ford Fiesta. Nissan also has announced that the hatchback-bodied Versa Note has been discontinued, leaving the sedan as the only body style available for the Versa for the 2020 model year.

Exterior Features

The 2020 Nissan Versa is lower, longer, and wider than its predecessor, giving it the most generous interior space of any Versa to date, according to the automaker. Nissan notes that the new Versa is “all about proportion and stance,” continuing to offer a compact body but with an all-new look.

The exterior of the new Versa has indeed received a significant makeover for the new model year, inheriting several design elements from the stylish Maxima and Altima, both of which received recent redesigns. The result is a look unlike any previous Versa. The grille and headlights are among the new-look items, while Nissan also added some sharp lines and sleek curves to the body, along with a lowered and sloped roofline.

The 2020 Versa will be available in a new SR trim level, adding several sporty elements to the body. LED headlights, a body-color rear spoiler, and an exclusive wheel design also come with the SR.

Interior Features

The interior of the new Versa also looks noticeably different, again taking after its larger siblings, the Altima and Maxima. Nissan focused its attention mostly on the instrument panel, giving it a larger area with a “winged” look that the automaker says creates a more upscale feel than previous versions. Inside the cabin are upgraded materials that lend the car a more refined look, Nissan says. Also, what Nissan calls a “horizontal architecture” will make the car feel even roomier.

Optional Features

The 2020 Nissan Versa will be available in three trim levels: S, SV, and SR, each receiving some new features. The base “S” model will come with air conditioning, power locks and windows, a 7-in. touch-screen interface, forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, rearview camera, keyless entry and ignition, and Bluetooth.

The mid-level SV trim adds a touch of luxury with upgraded upholstery, split-folding rear seat, fog lights, and smartphone integration for Apple and Android devices.

The new SR trim, previously offered only on the Versa Note hatchback, gives the Versa sedan a sporty look and feel that it’s never had. The range-topping SR offers LED headlights, body-colored rear spoiler, halogen fog lights, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, black heated exterior mirrors, exclusive 17-in. wheel design, and a 6-speaker sound system.

Available tech features for the 2020 Versa are mostly safety-focused and include adaptive cruise control, blind-spot warning, and rear cross-traffic alert, but drivers will reportedly be able to add some other features like Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration, customizable gauges, and automatic climate control to trim levels that don’t include them as standard equipment.

Under the Hood

Unlike the exterior and interior, the Versa’s powertrain is mostly unchanged for 2020, but it will come with a bit more power. All versions of the 2020 Versa come standard with a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine, which makes 122 horsepower and 114 lb.-ft. of torque—a slight boost over the previous model’s 109 horsepower and 107 lb.-ft. of torque.

Drivers of any 2020 Versa can choose between a standard 5-speed manual transmission or optional continuously variable transmission (CVT).


Safety was Nissan’s primary focus for the Versa for 2020, the automaker upgrading the car with an impressive array of standard and available driver-assistance technologies typically found on higher-priced vehicles. Beginning with the 2020 model year, every Versa will come standard with automatic rear braking, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning, and auto high-beam assist.

Optional safety technologies include blind-spot warning; rear cross-traffic alert; front, side, and rear safety monitoring; and intelligent driver alertness. Smart cruise control, which is also available on any trim level, automatically senses other vehicles when using the cruise control system to keep the Versa at a safe following distance.


In addition to the safety-related items discussed previously, the Versa’s new 7-in. full-color display allows drivers to customize the instrument panel gauges to show information related to music playlists, tire pressure, fuel economy, engine RPM, and more. With the tablet-style touch screen, drivers can also connect their Android or Apple device for convenient access to hands-free texting, calling, and listening.

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