2008 Nissan Versa Review | Edmunds.com

2008 Nissan Versa

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Nissan Versa Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 1.8 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 122 hp @ 5200 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 26/31 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2008 Nissan Versa

  • Larger and more comfortable than other entry-level hatchbacks and sedans, the 2008 Nissan Versa is a reasonable choice for budget-minded consumers with long commutes. However, several of its rivals offer greater agility in the corners, along with a higher level of overall refinement.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Roomy interior with an adult-friendly backseat, comfortable ride, available with many useful convenience features.

  • Cons

    Engine gets noisy at high rpm, less than athletic handling and braking capabilities, inconsistent build quality.

  • What's New for 2008

    After its debut last year, the Nissan Versa receives only minor equipment revisions for 2008. The SL sedan can now be equipped with a rear spoiler and a lower body kit, while cruise control is a new option on base S models.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (30 total reviews)  |  Write a Review


Awesome!

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Vehicle: 2008 Nissan Versa 1.8 S 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl 6M)

This is by far the most fun I have had driving a car.. I don't understand people saying it gets bad gas mileage.. i am averaging 26ish around the city I don't know about the highway but I bet its better. The only issue I don't think is great is the gas pedal is a little shaky at 2800+ rpm's but it's a 4cyl so what do you expect? I'll take the gas mileage all day over a little vibration! and it's got cruise so it's great!




A sporty yet sophisticated vehicle

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Vehicle: 2008 Nissan Versa 1.8 S 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl 6M)

I am a first time car buyer. My parents had bought me a Toyota for my first car, and I had been driving my dad's Lexus for a time. I decided to take my chances on a Nissan since my best friend's whole family loves, and drives, Nissans. I love the sporty look of the Versa. It has the large interior space of a mid-size sedan with the agile steering of a compact vehicle. The power is great for a 1.8L engine. However I did notice, as another reviewer had, the high RPMs at such a low speed. Every other 4 cylinder vehicle I have driven would be at 3,000 RPMs at 80 MPH- not 65 MPH like this vehicle. I thought it would affect gas mileage, but I have not seen any evidence of it.




Compacts have come a long

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Vehicle: 2008 Nissan Versa 1.8 S 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl 6M)

I have mostly owned Toyotas and decided to give Nissan a try. Jury is still out on if I made the right decision. The car has been reliable accept for a front end clunk that the dealer cannot replicate. Seems to be a common issue that Nissan should address. The interior space and smooth engine are its greatest assets. Not sure if I like the 6-spd. It should provide a lower RPM in 6th gear for highway driving. Having said that the gearing allows for unmatched power on hills. For an entry level car this is miles ahead of the Tercels and Metro I have owned. It provides a fairly quiet cabin, plenty of rear legroom, adequate power, and many modern amenities at a fair price.




Not the prettiest peach!

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Vehicle: 2008 Nissan Versa 1.8 S 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl 6M)

I love this car. Straight up. Personally, I think the exterior design leaves a bit to be desired. However, I've put 40k hard-driven city and highway miles on it since purchase (1/08) and it's given me no problems.. Other than a recalled starter issue, which was covered by Nissan. I have the hatchback, and am mindblown by the amount of stuff and people I can comfortably pack into the versa. Nice base stereo, interior design is intuitive and ambient. I have manual trans with the standard 6-speed, Nice for highway driving. A bit squirrely on highways during windy weather and suspension is indeed soft. Standard stereo has trouble reading mp3 cds sometimes. Solid deal for a tough little car.




Spend a little more and

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Vehicle: 2008 Nissan Versa 1.8 S 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl 6M)

I bought a modestly equipped Versa as an extremely economical choice. It was the most affordable 5-door that wasn't too small, but I was dissatisfied overall. A mediocre suspension, poor 6-speed shifter and unsupportive seats made an unrefined ride. Mine got poorer than average MPG despite a light foot. The brakes squeaked from the first day and were never repaired to my satisfaction. Nissan even distributed a note to dealerships to excuse themselves from this problem. In other words: Versas squeak. Too bad. If you want a low cost Nissan, buy the Cube instead.




Commuter car supreme

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Vehicle: 2008 Nissan Versa 1.8 S 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl 6M)

I got sick of driving my BMW 325 in the snow, and then got sick of fixing my Volvo, so I sucked it up and bought a commuter car. I have always been a fan of Nissan reliability -- have had several over many years. I now drive 25k a year. I have put 34k on this car, and it runs the same as the day I bought it. There was a minor vibration at 3000 RPM that was easily repaired (air conditioning insulation was vibrating). I have done all the scheduled maintenance. I recommend that. I am of the mind set that if this car is maintained correctly, it will last a long time. Is it fun to drive like a Euro car? NO! But it is reasonably quiet, handles okay, and slow as molasses. Overall I am happy.



Full 2008 Nissan Versa Review

What's New for 2008

After its debut last year, the Nissan Versa receives only minor equipment revisions for 2008. The SL sedan can now be equipped with a rear spoiler and a lower body kit, while cruise control is a new option on base S models.

Introduction

Since its introduction last year, the Nissan Versa has been grouped with the recent wave of subcompact import cars. The association is only natural considering the Versa's small exterior size, hatchback body style (a sedan followed later) and entry-level status in the Nissan lineup. However, a closer examination reveals that the 2008 Nissan Versa stands a bit apart from -- and perhaps above -- its peers.

Compared to other subcompacts, the Versa offers an extra helping of everything. Its 1.8-liter engine is among the biggest power plants in the class, and features more horsepower and torque than most competitors' offerings. It stands alone in offering a continuously variable transmission (CVT), which provides better performance and fuel mileage than the four-speed automatics typically offered in this price range. The Nissan Versa also lays claim to the most interior room in its class (enough to qualify as an EPA "midsize" car), evident in the cabin's open, airy feel. The payoff is especially apparent for rear-seat passengers, who enjoy even more legroom than in Nissan's Maxima. The downside to this extra size is extra curb weight: The Versa weighs more than its subcompact rivals, and in spite of its larger engine, isn't as quick.

Nissan's entry-level car doesn't feel as adroit through the corners either. Still, its softly tuned suspension delivers a comfortable ride quality that will appeal to those with long commutes. Generously cushioned seats are another plus, and the Versa's lengthy list of optional convenience features makes it possible to outfit the car to a level unheard of in most low-end economy cars. Among these items are Bluetooth connectivity, a sonically satisfying Rockford Fosgate stereo and an "Intelligent Key" keyless ignition system that we find especially convenient.

Among the current crop of subcompacts, we'd give an edge to the Scion xD and Honda Fit, which are quicker, better-handling and more refined than the Versa. But the 2008 Nissan Versa remains a solidly qualified, budget-friendly option for long-haul commuters, small families and anyone else who places a high value on interior room. It's worth a look.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2008 Nissan Versa is available as a four-door hatchback or sedan. Both body styles come in base 1.8 S and more upscale 1.8 SL trim levels. The 1.8 S starts you out with 15-inch steel wheels, air-conditioning, a tilt steering wheel, a four-speaker CD stereo, power mirrors, a split-folding rear seat and on the hatchback, a rear windshield wiper and a cargo cover. The Versa 1.8 SL adds alloy wheels; upgraded cloth upholstery; power windows and locks; cruise control; keyless entry; height adjustment for the driver seat; front and rear armrests; additional storage spaces; and a six-speaker stereo with MP3 playback and an auxiliary input jack.

The 1.8 S can upgrade with power accessories and keyless entry, while the 1.8 SL offers a Rockford Fosgate premium stereo, a sunroof and satellite radio. The SL's Convenience Package bundles Bluetooth connectivity, the Intelligent Key keyless entry and startup system, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls. Another SL exclusive is the Sport Package, which provides cosmetic upgrades like a rear spoiler, side sill extensions and an extended front fascia with foglights.

Powertrains and Performance

The front-wheel-drive Nissan Versa comes with a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine rated for 122 horsepower and 127 pound-feet of torque. The standard transmission is a six-speed manual. The optional transmission on the 1.8 S model is a four-speed automatic, while the 1.8 SL offers a CVT, which has an edge over the automatic in both performance and fuel economy. For 2008, the CVT-equipped Versa has the highest mileage ratings of the bunch at 27 mpg city/33 highway. In the small-hatchback segment, this is an average rating.

Safety

The 2008 Nissan Versa comes standard with front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and a tire-pressure monitor. Antilock brakes with brake assist are optional. In National Highway Traffic Safety Administration crash tests, it earned a four-star rating (out of a possible five) for driver and front-passenger protection in head-on collisions; five stars were given for side-impact safety. In the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's frontal-offset and side-impact tests, the Versa earned the top score of "Good."

Interior Design and Special Features

The Nissan Versa's interior is notable for its spaciousness. Its tall roof makes headroom a non-issue, and its expansive legroom lets 6-foot-plus passengers sit comfortably in either the front or rear. A fifth person can be wedged into the rear center seat, though the Versa's skinny body makes it a squeeze. Interior controls are attractive and easy to use, and the optional keyless startup system offers unexpected real convenience in a budget car. The overstuffed front seats are comfortable during hour-long commutes, but support fades on longer drives. The hatchback's split rear seat doesn't fold even with the cargo floor, but lowering it reveals a sizable 50.4 cubic feet of space. Likewise, the sedan's 13.8-cubic-foot trunk is on the high side for its segment.

Driving Impressions

Acceleration is adequate with any of the transmissions available for the 2008 Nissan Versa, but the six-speed manual is our recommendation if you don't mind shifting your own gears. The efficient CVT also makes decent use of the 1.8-liter's power reserves, but its presence results in a raucous cabin environment: In its quest for quick response, it sends the engine shooting up to high rpm, at which point the 1.8-liter becomes noisy and gruff. Ride quality is quite good on the highway, but the Versa's soft suspension gets a bit out of sorts over rough road surfaces. Moreover, the car feels tall and out of its element when going around corners, a quality accentuated by the Versa's considerable body roll and slow steering. Tire grip also leaves much to be desired and likely accounts for the Versa's long braking distances.

Read our Nissan Versa Long-Term 20,000-Mile Test

Talk About The 2008 Versa

Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 26
  • cty
/
  • 31
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs