The manual transmission lost another soldier today. The 2024 Nissan Versa drops the longstanding five-speed manual transmission option and goes CVT only for good. Despite getting a facelift with a new front fascia, some new features and options, and continuing to be very cheap, it’s one less manual gearbox in the world.
OK, let’s be real for a moment–nobody will miss the Versa manual. It was a utilitarian option that carried over from the days when manuals were more efficient than automatics. And it probably stuck around because Nissan still uses the five-speed globally, and the initial cost to offer it in the U.S. has been amortized, though I can only speculate. Nonetheless, the Versa manual was never and will likely never be remembered as an enthusiast machine. It was transportation with a manual gearbox.
Still, there’s good news here. The 2024 Versa is still cheap: $20,630 base price to be exact. And, like the similarly priced 2024 Nissan Kicks, it gets some new stuff and a brace of standard features for the new model year. Where the Kicks gets a 1.6-liter engine, the Versa gets a positively huge 2.0-liter by comparison. It’s also a hot rod (relatively speaking) compared to the Kicks: 149 horsepower to 122 hp. It gets 40 mpg highway, and generally outperforms the Kicks on paper for nearly the same amount of money. However, it represents a huge price increase from the base 2023 Versa, which started at $16,725.
You also get a standard suite of advanced driver’s assistance tech with blind spot monitoring, front and rear automatic emergency braking, and lane departure warning being the key systems. Higher trim Versa models lose two mpg highway but gain a Bose eight-speaker stereo, 360-degree parking camera, and turn signals in the side mirrors. Fancy.
The Versa loses the manual, but it remains one of the cheapest cars you can buy today. It’ll just have to be with a CVT.