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Sunday Drive: 2023 Nissan Versa SR elevating the subcompact car experience to new heights

By Craig and Deanne Conover - | Sep 2, 2023
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High on the Mirror Lake Highway with the 2023 Nissan Versa. We even encountered some snow in mid-July as we ventured through the mountains.
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Looking toward Hayden Peak high along the Mirror Lake Highway, Deanne stands with the impressive Nissan Versa.
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The interior of the 2023 Nissan Versa.
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The interior of the 2023 Nissan Versa.
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The interior of the 2023 Nissan Versa.

The subcompact car segment has always been known for its affordability and practicality, but the 2023 Nissan Versa SR aims to take it to a whole new level. As the top trim level of the Versa lineup, the SR delivers a blend of style, comfort and advanced features that is sure to turn heads and surprise even the most discerning drivers, as it did with us during our weeklong test drive.

With a sleek design, impressive performance and an array of cutting-edge technologies, the Versa SR aims to set a new standard for what a subcompact car can and should be. We always enjoy the opportunity to drive an entry-level vehicle, especially one that has all kinds of added design and features like the new Versa.

At first glance, the 2023 Nissan Versa SR impressed us with its bold and sophisticated exterior design. The sharp lines, sleek contours and distinctive V-motion grille gave the Versa SR a striking presence on the road. The LED headlights and LED signature daytime running lights added a touch of modern design, while the sporty rear spoiler and chrome exhaust finishers accentuated the dynamic character that was the Versa.

The SR comes with 17-inch alloy wheels that not only enhanced its sporty appearance but also improved its road-holding capabilities. Available in a range of eye-catching colors, including Scarlet Ember Tintcoat, Electric Blue Metallic and the Gray Sky Pearl that came on our test ride, these colors allow drivers to express their individuality and style with confidence.

Stepping inside the 2023 Versa SR, we were pleasantly surprised by the spacious and well-appointed cabin. Despite its subcompact classification, the Versa SR boasted ample headroom and legroom for both front and rear passengers, even when they are in the vehicle at the same time. The premium sport cloth seats with orange accent stitching not only provided us comfort during a long journey to Evanston Wyoming,, we took on Saturday but also added a touch of sportiness to the interior.

The leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob also added to the premium feel, while many soft-touch materials and gloss black accents elevated the overall ambience of the cabin. With some very clever storage solutions, including a center console with multiple compartments, the Versa SR ensured that we had a place for everything we needed.

The 2023 Versa SR came equipped with Nissan’s advanced infotainment system, featuring a 7-inch touch screen display. With very intuitive controls and awesome graphics, the system was easy to navigate and offered seamless integration with our smartphones through Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The six-speaker audio system delivers clear and impressive sound and was great for enjoying our favorite tunes and podcasts during our extended road trip and during everyday driving.

In addition to the outstanding infotainment capabilities, the Versa SR offered a range of up-to-date connectivity features. The NissanConnect services provide access to emergency assistance, vehicle health reports and remote start, giving all owners and drivers peace of mind and convenience at their fingertips with the Nissan Versa.

Under the hood, the 2023 Nissan Versa SR is powered by a peppy 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine, producing 122 horsepower and 114 foot-pounds of torque. While these figures might not sound overwhelming, the Versa SR’s lightweight and responsive chassis made the most of its power, providing a zippy and nimble driving experience. Even when we were at higher elevations over the Mirror Lake Highway, it did very well.

The available Xtronic CVT (continuously variable transmission) enhances fuel efficiency and ensures smooth acceleration without sacrificing performance, as we found with an end of the week performance of 40 mpg. With precise steering and well-tuned suspension, the Versa SR handled with confidence. This would make it an ideal choice for navigating city streets and tight parking spaces, as Deanne found on two trips to Costco in the sedan.

Nissan has prioritized safety, and the 2023 Versa SR was no exception in this area. Equipped with Nissan’s Safety Shield 360, the Versa SR offered us a comprehensive suite of advanced safety features. These included automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, rear cross-traffic alert, blind spot warning, lane departure warning and high beam assist.

The Intelligent Around View Monitor provides a 360-degree view of the vehicle, making parking and maneuvering in tight spaces even easier. With these safety technologies, we definitely had peace of mind knowing that the Versa SR was looking out for us and whoever was with us at all times.

The SR trim also came equipped with adaptive cruise control, which is always a favorite or ours and proved to be invaluable on our extended ride through the Wasatch Mountains and into Evanston, as it would keep a constant speed with the vehicle in front of us, even stopping and starting with traffic as we went along our journey. What a great addition for a vehicle costing under $25,000.

The 2023 Nissan Versa SR proved to us that a subcompact car can be more than just an affordable and practical choice. With its bold design, comfortable interior, advanced technologies and agile performance, the Versa SR sets itself apart from the competition.

Whether for a daily commuter, a city dweller or an adventure seeker, the Versa SR offers a perfect blend of style, performance and practicality. It’s a subcompact car that surprises and delights, elevating the driving experience to new heights in this competitive segment.

Base price: $19,820

Destination charge: $ 1,095

Price as driven: $22,460


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