2008 Nissan Versa Review

Type:

Pros & Cons

  • Roomy interior with an adult-friendly backseat, comfortable ride, available with many useful convenience features.
  • Engine gets noisy at high rpm, less than athletic handling and braking capabilities, inconsistent build quality.
List Price
$3,995

Used Versa for Sale
Select your model:
See all for sale

Get More For Your Trade-In

Get More For Your Trade-In

Edmunds shoppers get on average $235 more for their trade-in.
Find out what your car is really worth in minutes.
See your car's value

Edmunds' Expert Review

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.

Vehicle overview

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.

2008 Nissan Versa models

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.

2008 Highlights

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.

Performance & mpg

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."

Driving

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

Interior

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.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2008 Nissan Versa.

Trending topics in reviews

Most helpful consumer reviews

08 Versa Hatchback (CVT)
alan600,04/05/2011
Overall, I have been very happy with the car. It handles well, is easy to drive and has a lot of interior room and comfort. Good value too. The one caveat is that my transmission failed after 40,000. It was replaced under warranty with no problems. I am not sure how common this is or if I was just unlucky. Since the replacement transmission was installed the car has run great. The gas mileage estimates are not as high as stated by Nissan.
We've had more bad times than good
jpease3984,10/12/2011
We bought this car brand new. In three years we have replaced 6 tires, and we buy good quality tires. The car needs an alignment more often than normal. We had to replace the fuel pump (the car just died on the middle of a busy highway). Now we are replacing the entire muffler system because it has rotted. We have done routine tune ups, oil changes, and have taken good car of this car. The power windows don't work in cold weather, they go down but don't go back up. Overall we give this car a 2/5 stars. It does hail alot of stuff which we like and gets good gas milage.
Love it! A few problems, but it's great for the money!
andresama3,05/27/2013
I've got over 105,000 miles and I've never had the alignment problems people keep mentioning. I did however have the muffler problem at about 95000 miles which is longer than most people got hah. The manual recommends a spark plug change at 105k but I started to notice it needed changing around 90k. I've never had it stop or lockup in traffic and I actually get BETTER gas mileage than what's posted. 24 city/30 hwy 27 hybrid was what the dealership sold it as; I usually get about 30-35 hybrid driving. But I do my best to drive it right though, make sure my tires are inflated and do maintenance on time. I got it new in 2008 and drive it A LOT!
NEVER HAD AN ALIGNMENT PROBLEM
anthony87,05/05/2013
I have read these reviews and I have to wonder if the people that have had alignment problems are just hitting too many potholes. I have over 70k on my car and have only had one alignment and I know it was due to the terrain. Nothing flimsy about this car. It's been an excellent car, I drive a lot and I highly recommend it. It's held up extremely well, no mechanical problems at all. I think it's all in how you drive.

Features & Specs

See all Used 2008 Nissan Versa features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Good
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Good
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2008 Nissan Versa

Used 2008 Nissan Versa Overview

The Used 2008 Nissan Versa is offered in the following submodels: Versa Hatchback, Versa Sedan. Available styles include 1.8 S 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 4A), 1.8 SL 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl CVT), 1.8 S 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl 4A), 1.8 S 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 6M), 1.8 SL 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 6M), 1.8 S 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl 6M), 1.8 SL 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl CVT), and 1.8 SL 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl 6M).

What's a good price on a Used 2008 Nissan Versa?

Price comparisons for Used 2008 Nissan Versa trim styles:

  • The Used 2008 Nissan Versa 1.8 S is priced between $3,995 and$4,000 with odometer readings between 117207 and142341 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2008 Nissan Versas are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2008 Nissan Versa for sale near. There are currently 2 used and CPO 2008 Versas listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $3,995 and mileage as low as 117207 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2008 Nissan Versa.

Can't find a used 2008 Nissan Versas you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Nissan Versa for sale - 3 great deals out of 12 listings starting at $18,728.

Find a used Nissan for sale - 11 great deals out of 22 listings starting at $15,700.

Find a used certified pre-owned Nissan Versa for sale - 5 great deals out of 8 listings starting at $9,156.

Find a used certified pre-owned Nissan for sale - 6 great deals out of 9 listings starting at $17,073.

Should I lease or buy a 2008 Nissan Versa?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Nissan lease specials
Check out Nissan Versa lease specials