The 2015 Nissan Versa lineup continues to appeal to those who like their small cars to emulate something larger -- unlike, say, trendsetters like the Fiat 500 or Mini Cooper. Instead, the Versa takes after its larger Sentra and Altima siblings in its styling and design; and for 2015 it gets a sharpening inside and out with a few new details that might kick it a little more upscale.
The changes for 2015 are most apparent at the front end, where larger headlights, a more sculpted front fascia, and chrome plating for the grille all add up to a look that's even closer to those larger Nissan sedans. This year, the SV and SL trims of the Versa get a new fog light finisher, with integrated turn signals on the SL, and SV models have a new 15-inch, V-spoke alloy wheel design.
The Versa Note hatchback, which joined the lineup last year, has a design that we think is far more interesting. With different sheetmetal, along with sportier designs for the headlights and taillights, plus proportions that make it less homely than its sedan counterpart, it's less of a low-rent companion to the Sentra and Altima and more its own entity.
The Versa Note's short front and rear overhangs, aero-smoothed shape, and general proportions settle better than those of the Sedan from many paces back, as well. It's not exciting, but at the same time not nearly as bland as the Toyota Yaris. The hatch gets completely different styling in back, with taillights that have similarities to the Juke and 370Z, with a swoosh-like design. Our favorite design element is the character line on the sides, which Nissan calls the 'squash' line.
There's a little more in common between the models inside, especially if you're looking from the front seats forward. It's undeniably basic, and follows small car tradition in offering a parts-bin look, with a collection of cues and switchgear.
The interior is arranged around a dual-cockpit theme, with two sweeping lines on the dashboard. Hard plastic is typical in this class, but the Versa has an abundance of it. For 2015, the shape of the center stack for the Versa Sedan has been made more like that of the Note; there's also a new, 'more substantial' steering-wheel design, and the instrument-panel lighting is now white. In either case, the climate controls consist of three easy-to-use knobs. We like the dual-gloveboxes, but find it odd how Nissan gives these models round air vents on either side of the dashboard while the center stack gets rectangular ones.