By Sekou Writes
If you watch the video above, you’ll see that I was introduced to the 2020 Nissan Versa on a rainy day in October. What you can’t see is that it was also early in the morning.
I’d accepted the 8:30 AM time slot that Nissan offered because, at the time, I was thinking that I’d have the rest of the day to get some writing done. But that was before my cousin invited me out. 🙂 So, the night before the test drive, we ended up hitting a late-night Jammcard jam session at The Cutting Room with an open bar sponsored by Monkey Shoulder Whiskey.
Suddenly, that 8:30 am call time was looking like a no-go. Thank goodness for an early morning text that got me up and moving. Since I always opt to roll out into the rain without an umbrella, I was pretty damp by the time I walked from the A-Train over to Davidson Gallery on 26th Street, but the gallery was a great place to warm up and get settled. Nissan rented out the penthouse for their presentation and after walking past a few million-dollar nudes created by artist Tom Wesselmann, I could see all the way to NJ. It was a lovely space. And, yes, I’m dead serious about the million-dollar sticker price on Wesselmann’s art.
Usually, on a test drive, we partner up with another journalist and drive together but since there were only five of us on the morning shift we each got a car to ourselves. Heaven!
I promptly drove my Fresh Powder Blue Versa straight to Harlem to get a few photos of the Versa in front of the iconic Apollo Theater. Funny thing, even though it was still raining in Chelsea, there was no rain on 125th street– as if it was meant for me to get those pics! After my photo op, I headed back down south where I immediately got stuck in stop-and-go traffic on the West Side Highway. The joys of test drives in NYC.
Anyway, here are a few things I learned about the Versa while I had access to it:
- Value. When Nissan’s Jordan Savage told us that the car started at only $14K I braced myself for a substandard ride. No need. The SR version of the Versa had plenty of features, including blind-spot notification, which I love
- Model. To be clear, I was driving the SR (not the base model) which starts at $18,000– still a fairly low barrier to entry
- Speed. The acceleration was a bit sluggish on the West Side Highway but once the Versa got moving it zipped along nicely
- Cruise Control. The cruise control is adaptive, which is impressive for a lower-priced car and I set it for 20 mph to help take the load off as I inched through slow-moving traffic
- Sound effects. I liked the sounds that the touchscreen made. I’m sure you can toggle them off but I actually appreciated the button clicking sounds– it felt like operating a high-end cell phone
- Bluetooth. Pairing my phone to Bluetooth was simple and easy. BTW, I saw that the Versa has a text message interface, but I didn’t get a chance to try it
- Details. Subtle design elements like contrast stitching and carbon fiber patterned panels added to the luxe feel
- Subcompact. Technically the Versa is a subcompact car but it certainly didn’t feel like one. Even in the backseat, there was plenty of space and the trunk was surprisingly roomy
- Plugs. It has three USB plugs and a cigarette lighter-styled plug also
I’m definitely looking forward to more time in the driver’s seat of this one!
Starts at $14,730
MPG 32/40 (city/hwy)