If you need a truly affordable new car, this is your least expensive option.
It may not be the most dynamic or enthralling new car on the block, but the Nissan Versa’s always played to one crucial selling point better than every other car on the market: value. That remains the case for 2024, as the automaker’s entry-level car retains the lowest price of any new car in the U.S., at $17,225 (including $1,095 destination). While we’re creeping ever closer to $20,000, that’s still $900 less expensive than the cheapest Mitsubishi Mirage, believe it or not.
The Nissan Versa just saw a minor refresh for the 2023 model year, so there are no changes to speak of for 2024 apart from a slight price bump. Across the range, the Versa is now $150 more expensive, with the fully equipped SR trim topping out the lineup at $21,235.
Under the hood, the 2024 Nissan Versa still rocks a 1.6-liter, naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine putting out 122 horsepower and 114 lb-ft of torque. I don’t really need to say it, but I’ll go ahead and state the obvious and point out this car is slow. But that’s obviously not the Versa’s game, and you still get 35 mpg combined with the CVT. However, unlike virtually every other low-priced option these days, buying Nissan’s cheapest car in its cheapest spec will get you a 5-speed manual transmission (though you do take a fuel economy hit if you go that route).
Nissan Safety Shield 360 comes standard – even on the base S – giving you automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, rear automatic braking and high-beam assist. The SV adds in blind-spot monitoring, wireless smartphone charging and a larger driver information display with a digital tachometer among other options, while the top-of-the-line SR adds in LED lighting, larger wheels, adaptive cruise control, an 8-inch infotainment display, heated front seats and dual-zone automatic climate control.
A personal recommendation
While some cars pitch the manual as a pricier enthusiast’s option – looking at you, Mazda and Kia – Nissan still pitches the 5-speed manual as its best value option. If you spec the base S trim with the CVT, you’ll have to spend a whopping $1,670 more, or an entry MSRP of $18,895.
That said…even as a die-hard #savethemanuals guy, you’ll probably want to get the CVT-equipped SV or SR for a daily driver unless you absolutely can’t stretch your budget that far (and no shame if you can’t: The S will still get you from A to B as well as the nicer versions). The extra features may help resale value a bit if you plan to sell it later on and make the car easier to live with for a longer period.
The mid-range Versa SV starts off at $20,515: $1,620 more than the S with a CVT and $720 less than the fully equipped SR. Those prices are a lot closer to the Mitsubishi Mirage G4 sedan, though the Mitsubishi does offer a more competitive warranty (10 years/100,000 miles on the powertrain, to Nissan’s 5-year/60,000-mile plan) and 2 years/30,000 miles of complimentary maintenance, which Nissan does not offer.