This car has been reliable for us! We bought it in Georgia (brand new) and now live in Ohio, so we've had the car in extremes of weather. We've used it to move, to drive people around town, for work, and for play. I had to replace the air conditioning compressor this summer, and just had the exhaust system redone. But those have been the only big items maintenance-wise. I love my Versa!
If the fuel pump has not already been replaced, it may have to be. It's an expensive job. This is a known vice in this model yet Nissan has not issued a TSB. That aside, this is a great small car: well designed with plenty of interior space, comfortable back seat, good brakes and steering, smooth shifting 4-speed automatic trans, adequate power and pickup though the smooth idling engine gets noisy under hard acceleration. The ride is about average for a shortish wheelbase car. Unfortunately there are only warning lights for engine temperature and amps. The sharply sloping hood is hard to see the end of which at the start can complicate parking. The model I purchased has power windows and door locks and a keyless entry though to start the car the coded key is needed.
For 50,000 km (about 30,000 miles) my Versa was perfect. Then one day the problems started....
1) Car started to make diesel-like noise every time I accelerated. I took it to the dealer and they informed me there was a crack in the pistons. Result=a new engine at 50,000 km 2) Air conditioning pump failed about 5,000 km later. Dealer repaired under warranty 3) The final draw was this week, when the car wouldn't start and left me stranded in a parking lot at night. I had the car towed to the dealer where I learned that the fuel pump was finished. As the car is out of warranty, repairs were $700
I signed for a Toyota Corolla yesterday, and I feel like a huge weight has been lifted.
This is a very comfortable car to drive, with nice seats and tons of rear leg room. The stereo and air conditioning (when it works) are also excellent. The car also offers a lot of cargo room when the rear seats are folded flat. The manual transmission is nice to operate, and the car is very quiet on the highway.
Before I begin, I fully understand that lemons exist in the auto industry and that I very well may have a lemon. However:
1) Build quality. These cars are particularly not suitable to Canadian winters. They are built for freeway driving in Orange County. The paint scratches very easily and the interior is rickety when you drive over potholes
2) Reliability (see review section). The 14 year-old Mazda I replaced with this vehicle is still going strong, while the Versa is practically falling apart
3) Fuel economy is very sub-par for the category. On average, the car gets about 9.5L/100 km (22mpg)
If you're in the market for a small hatchback, I suggest looking at Honda, Toyota or Mazda.
I'm not sure where car magazines got it into their head that the premiere concern of most drivers is 'fun'. Fun driving in a stop-and-go city you probably mean gunning it to the next light and cutting people off. Whee! You want fun, Mazda 3 makes more sense. For those of us who have commute on a city grid and not pick of a stable of autos, the Versa does great and is probably a better fit than the Fit. Edmunds admits in their Fit review: "However, more comfort-minded consumers may better appreciate the Nissan's quieter cabin, cushier seats and higher available feature content." I saved myself $3000 over Fit prices, have more horsepower and more torque, and a 7 yr ext. warranty.
Quiet for commutes, 30 mpg city. Stereo in the S sounds great, controls obvious. Cargo area very versatile, more room than the Fit (the 2009 Honda specs include passenger seat down driving space. Really, guys?) Deep glove box and convenient storage area above radio.
Antilock brakes should be standard on all cars; shame on Nissan for making them optional. EZ to access auxilliary port for portable mp3 player use should also be standard in this day and age. Wider and deeper cup holders.
I wrote a review a while ago, and thought I would follow-up one year later. I love this car more and more with each day! I live in Montreal, and the car handled very well on slippery roads in the winter. Thanks to the high ground clearance, it is also very good at getting through snow. Fuel economy is not as good as a Fit or a Yaris, but it has definitely improved since the car was broken it. Air conditioning is very cold, and this car is always comfortable to drive. Absolutely no problems to report after 1 year and 38,000 km (23,750 miles)
Air conditioning, leg room, overall comfort, peppy engine, height of driving position, reliability, exterior appearance
Fuel economy should be a little better, considering the 6th speed