NASHVILLE — The 2020 Nissan Versa subcompact attempts to make the case that "value" doesn't have to mean compromise.
The third generation of Nissan's "gateway to the brand" vehicle offers as standard a suite of safety technologies for less than $16,000.
"The democratization of technology is our differentiator," Erich Marx, Nissan marketing communications director, told Automotive News at a press event here.
The 2020 Versa arrived at U.S. stores last week starting at $15,625, including an $895 shipping charge.
The subcompact, which competes with the Toyota Yaris and Hyundai Accent, is powered by a 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine that delivers 122 hp, a 12 percent increase from the previous generation.
The base Versa comes standard with a five-speed manual transmission — an anachronism in the U.S. market. Upgrading to the more common automatic transmission requires plunking down an additional $1,670.
While several automakers are walking away from manual transmissions, there are a lot of buyers in certain demographics that still prefer a manual transmission, said Rob Warren, Nissan director.
"We have the technology available because we make this car for multiple markets, not just the U.S.," Warren said. "So from that perspective we decided that we were going to bring it to the market."