Compact car; Built in Mexico
  • 4-door hatchback
  • 4-door sedan
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $7,200 – $13,800*


2008 Nissan Versa hatchback


2008 Nissan Versa hatchback


2008 Nissan Versa hatchback


2008 Nissan Versa hatchback


2008 Nissan Versa sedan

Pros:
  • Cargo room (hatchback)
  • Control layout
  • Fuel economy
  • Handling
  • Seat comfort/space
Cons:
  • Acceleration
  • Engine noise
  • Road noise
  • Wind noise

Priced like a subcompact when new, Versa offers a blend of room, comfort, and refinement that makes an easy match for any number of more-expensive compact cars. Acceleration is modest, true, but that’s balanced by good road manners. All in all, this Nissan is a must-see Best Buy, new or secondhand, for the value-conscious shopper.

Overview

When the brand-new compact Versa debuted as an early 2007 model, it came only in four-door hatchback form. At the start of calendar-2007, a four-door sedan joined the Versa parade. Both compact models slotted below Nissan’s Sentra in size and price. Nissan promoted the Versa’s sizable back-seat space, in contrast to its modest exterior dimensions. Versa’s sole engine was a 122-horsepower four-cylinder. A six-speed manual transmission was standard. That could be replaced by a conventional four-speed automatic, or by a gearless continuously variable transmission (CVT).

Front side airbags and curtain side airbags were standard. Antilock braking was optional. Two trim levels were offered: S and step-up SL. The S model came with air conditioning and a tilt steering wheel. Optional on the S and standard on SL models were cruise control, remote entry, and power windows, locks, and mirrors. A wireless cell phone link and keyless locking and starting were optional for SL models. Nissan’s Versa competed against such small compacts as the Honda Fit, Hyundai Accent, and Toyota Yaris.

Yearly Updates

2008 Versa
Versa was little changed for the 2008 model year except that the optional Sport Package was now available on SL sedans as well as S hatchbacks.
2009 Versa
Added to the lineup for 2009 were bargain-priced 1.6 Base and 1.6 sedans, which had a 107-hp 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine (vs. a 122-hp 1.8 in other models) and very limited equipment.
2010 Versa
The 2010 Nissan Versa received additional safety features and slightly freshened exterior styling.
2011 Versa
The 2011 Nissan Versa saw few changes. Note that the sedan was redesigned for 2012, but the hatchback carried on in this form through the 2013 model year.

Engines

transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

Each Versa holds a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine, rated at 122 horsepower. Three transmissions have been offered: six-speed manual, four-speed automatic, and continuously variable transmission (CVT). Added to the lineup for 2009 were bargain-priced 1.6 Base and 1.6 sedans, which had a 107-hp 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine (vs. a 122-hp 1.8 in other models).

dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 1.6/98
Engine HP 107
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 111
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
26/34
26/33
dohc I41
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 1.8/110
Engine HP 122
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 127
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed manual
6-speed automatic
CVT automatic
26/31
24/32
27/33
24.8

1. EPA Note: Figures shown are for 2008 models. The Environmental Protection Agency changed its procedure for 2008 to yield more realistic estimates. Therefore, estimated mileage is lower than for prior years.

Road Test

Manual-transmission models feel labored and weak at low speed. Plenty of shifting is required for maximum acceleration. A test S with manual shift took 9.5 seconds to reach 60 mph. An SL with the CVT feels livelier from a stop and provides acceptable passing response.

Versas excel in fuel economy. An S hatchback with manual shift averaged 27.4 mpg in a test that included gas-eating performance runs. Another S hatchback, with four-speed automatic, averaged 24.8 mpg. An SL sedan with the CVT averaged 24.5 mpg in mostly city driving. Versas use regular-grade gasoline.

A long wheelbase for its class helps impart a comfortable, controlled ride on most surfaces. Large bumps still register sharply, however, and moderate bobbing occurs over wavy pavement. For a basic economy car without overt performance pretension, Versa is nimble and fun to drive. Precise steering helps. Sporty feel is blunted a bit by moderate body lean in turns, but tires squeal little. Tidy dimensions aid close-quarters maneuverability, and brake control is good.

Buzzy during rapid acceleration, the Versa engine is subdued otherwise. A quiet highway ride is disturbed by modest wind noise from mirrors, plus some coarse-surface tire thrum.

Controls are logically placed and, for the most part, clearly marked. Especially nice are the large rotary climate controls. A wireless cell phone link is an unexpected feature in this class, though it only understands commands that are spoken slowly, loudly, and very clearly. The SL interior is highlighted by plenty of soft-touch materials and classy-looking gauges-uncommon in this price class. S models lack soft-touch surfaces, but materials are still pleasant for the price. One test Versa suffered from malfunctioning power door locks. Another had a few dashboard squeaks.

Large, comfortable front seats belie the Versa’s small-car price. Even large adults have plenty of room, though tall occupants will want more seat travel. Visibility is good to all directions. Note that only the SL has a height-adjustable driver’s seat. Rear-seat space is exceptional for two large adults, highlighted by ample knee space and foot space. The rear armrest on SL models is a nice touch for a low-priced car.

Sedan trunks are tall and large for this class. Hatchback cargo room is generous, but the load floor in both body styles is interrupted by rear seats that don’t fold flush, creating an annoying stepped surface. Plenty of interior storage space is available, including front and rear map pockets.

Ratings

Model Tested: 2008 Versa SL hatchback w/CVT

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 4
40%
Fuel Economy - 6
60%
Ride Quality - 5
50%
Steering/Handling - 6
60%
Quietness - 4
40%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 6
60%
Room/Comfort Front - 6
60%
Room/Comfort Rear - 6
60%
Cargo Room - 7
70%

Other

Value - 10
100%

Total: 60

Specifications

4-door hatchback
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
99.8 177.5 67.3 55.5
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
50.4 13.2 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
40.6 38.3 41.4 38.0
4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
99.8 177.5 67.3 55.5
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
13.8 13.2 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
40.6 37.9 41.4 38.0
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2007 Versa 4-door sedan

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 4
80%
Front Passenger Injury - 4
80%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
100%
Rear Passenger Injury - 5
100%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Air conditioner
Description: Water soaks front carpets unless an air conditioning evaporator drain hose extension is installed. (2007-09)
Engine stalling
Description: Engine may not start for up to 10 seconds due to defective fuel pressure regulator. (2007-10)
Keys
Description: The key may not come out of the ignition unless the interlock cable is readjusted. (2007-10)
Seat
Description: The front seats may not recline and/or may no longer move fore and aft requiring installation of service parts. (2007-10)
Steering noise
Description: A clunking or popping noise may occur when turning the steering wheel unless both upper strut bearings are replaced. (2007-09)
Windows
Description: If the auto-up feature of a power window quits working, it is restored by closing the window and holding the button for four extra seconds. (2007-08)
Windows
Description: The auto-up feature may not work if the battery was disconnected or the power window is cycled numerous times without going fully up or down and must be reinitialized. (2007-09)
Seatbelts/safety
Description: It may be difficult to install a child seat because the rear seat back is too thick, interfering with access to the seat belt receiver. (2007-08)
None
Description: The foam from the dashboard creeps up and obscures the VIN plate. (2007-08)

Recall History

2007
Description: Brake fluid reservoir cap may be missing part of the required brake fluid warning.
2007 hatchback
Description: Terminals for passenger-side seatbelt sensor harness connector may have been damaged, which could result in inoperative occupant detection system.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.