The Price is Right

2021 Nissan Versa retains sub-$15,000 price tag

The Nissan Versa is one of the least expensive cars you can buy.

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

The Nissan Versa is traditionally a low-cost, high-value option for car shoppers. It was redesigned for the 2020 model year. The 2021 model does not break the mold and is a carryover from the previous year, continuing to offer a competitive equipment and tech lineup along with attractive interior and exterior design.

The 2021 Nissan Versa starts at $14,930. The base grade Versa S comes standard with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that is paired with a five-speed manual transmission. It's one of the few vehicles remaining that offers the manual as an option for buyers.

2021 Nissan Versa The Versa is an attractive enough model that is perfectly serviceable as a daily driver.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

Opting for a continuously variable transmission (CVT) in the Vera bumps the price of the Versa S up to $16,600. All other Versa models come with that same powertrain, w which achieves 122 horsepower and 114 pound-feet of torque. Versa models with the CVT achieve 32 mpg in the city, 40 mpg on the highway, and 35 mpg combined. No hybrid version of the model is sold.

The next level higher Versa SV has a $17,740 starting price tag.

Nissan has saved its sportiest Versa model for last, giving the top-tier grade the Versa SR designation. Nissan traditionally uses SR to designate this sporty daily drivers throughout its lineup, as seen in the Maxima and Sentra. Buyers who get the 2021 Versa SR receive a model riding on 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, LED headlights, fog lights, and more. Additionally, buyers can choose the SR Convenience Package, which adds heated front seats, automatic climate control, and adaptive cruise control. The Versa SR starts at $18,340.

All models have Nissan's signature V-motion grille, boomerang-shaped headlights, and floating roof. The interior of the models offer best-in-class front legroom, a D-shaped steering wheel, and a 7.0-inch infotainment touch screen. Keyless entry and push-button start are standard. Each Versa has a 60/40 split-folding rear seat.

2021 Nissan Versa The interior of the 2021 Nissan Versa features materials that are a big step up from the previous generation's appointments.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

Buyers who opt for the Versa SV or SR get Nissan Safety Shield 360 as standard equipment. The suite of safety and driver assist technology includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, rear automatic braking, lane departure warning, high beam assist, blind spot warning, and rear cross traffic alert. A driver alertness monitor and adaptive cruise control are available.

Each Versa carries a $925 destination and delivery charge.

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Electric vehicle concepts

Nissan shows off new concepts and plans for future EVs

Nissan showed off a group of funky concept vehicles at the announcement.

Nissan

Nissan is approaching the release of Ariya, its brand-new EV, but there are plans for much more in the automaker’s near future. Today, the Japanese company announced Nissan Ambition 2030, its plan to develop electrified vehicles and become a more sustainable company. Beyond new vehicles, the roadmap includes investments in battery recycling and charging infrastructure, new battery tech, and more widespread safety technologies.

Nissan Ambition 2030 The automaker plans for 50 percent electrification by 2030.Nissan

Nissan’s plans include 23 new electrified models by 2030. The target covers 15 new EVs and a target of 50 percent electrification. The automaker says it plans to launch a proprietary solid-state battery by 2028, and notes that it will develop a pilot production facility in Yokohama, Japan by 2024. Solid state technologies are not yet commercially viable but will offer faster charging times and better energy densities than lithium ion battery packs.

Nissan Surf-Out Concept Surf-Out is a concept truck with super funky styling.Nissan

While the focus was on the news of its electrification plans, Nissan’s concept vehicles stole the show. The Surf-Out concept truck features a long, low cargo surface and unique all-terrain tires. Typical of concept cars, the Surf-Out’s styling and design are over-the-top. The cabin is surrounded on three sides by glass and open to the bed in the rear. Instead of a grille, there’s a glass panel with an illuminated Nissan logo. It's unlikely Surf-Out or the other concepts shown will make it to production unchanged, but they show that the automaker is looking to explore bold designs with its electrified vehicles.

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Updated compact SUV

2022 Nissan Rogue gets new VC Turbo engine

The Rogue was fully redesigned last year.

Nissan

Nissan refreshed its best-selling vehicle, the Rogue SUV, in 2021 with a grown-up new look and plenty of new tech. Changes the year after a major overhaul are usually minor, but for 2022 Nissan's giving the Rogue a new powertrain. A brand-new 1.5-liter variable compression (VC) Turbo engine is on board, producing 201 horsepower and 225 pound-feet of torque.

2022 Nissan Rogue The new VC engine can change its compression to adapt to driving conditions.Nissan

Power is up 11 percent and torque is up a staggering 24 percent with the new power plant. The variable compression engine is capable of adapting to changing driving conditions. When the driver needs more power, the engine shifts to higher compression, which delivers better acceleration at the expense of fuel economy. When efficiency is best, the engine changes its compression again. The VC engines made their debut in 2019 in both the Infiniti QX50 and Nissan Altima. It's trick engine technology, but it doesn't always deliver on its promise of efficiency gains. Nissan's continuously variable transmission is still in place, though it has been improved with 17 percent wider gear ratio coverage and 32 percent lower friction. The automaker says it helps deliver better acceleration and fuel economy.

2022 Nissan Rogue Top Rogue trims get upscale finishes and a handsome cabin.Nissan

Pricing for the 2022 Rogue S FWD starts at $27,875, including a $1,175 destination charge. Adding all-wheel drive pushes the price by $1,500. Nissan offers three packages for the SUV as well, including a $2,660 SV Premium Package, a $1,320 SL Premium Package, and a $400 10.8-inch head-up display for the top Platinum trim.

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