It’s a great overall get around car and it’s been great for me and my family. I’ve had it 6 years and the only downsize to it, is that my kids have totally outgrown it. But I’ve had to do very little maintenance on it and it’s been very reliable for me.
My husband and I bought this car new in 2012, for around $14,000. We have put 97,319 miles on it, and commute out of state monthly. We change the oil religiously, every 4,000, and it averages about $60 for that service. We replaced the battery about a year ago (at roughly 60,000miles), and other than that have NEVER had to do any other maintanence on this vehicle apart from regular tire replacement (every 6-8mos at the rate we drive it). The car is light weight, so even at this mileage we are only halfway through our break pads...and it stops on a dime! The windows are large and virtually panoramic, so there is little-to-no blind spots, and as a hatchback, the seats lay down and can fit and hold an alarming amount of things. (When we got married, we were able to lay the seats down and move my things into his house in only two trips, minus furniture....note-I had lived on my own for several years so it was a Small apartment that we managed to fit into this car with only two trips...not simply a bedroom). We average about 35mpg, sometimes more, sometimes less depending on how conservatively you drive it. My only major gripes about this vehicle, are its lack of a key fob to unlock and lock the car from a distance, there is no cruise control, and...oddly....the front seat cupholders sit BENEATH the stereo column and many "large" size drink containers simply do not fit under it without bemding and sometimes breaking the straw...and you have to tip most cups sideways a bit to get it in...which results in a spill, or having to hold the drink and sip it down far enough to tip it before you can put it in. Overall, its an incredible car for a young person, or young couple, we hope to keep it long enough for our son to use as his first car due to its easy maneuverability and lack of blind spots. But with two car seats now we have to shop for something else. It DOES fit two carseats...surprisingly...but the front seats have to be scooted up pretty far in order to accomodate, which means the driver has to be either as tall as me or shorter (5'5") to fit their legs under the steering wheel to drive in that position...its tight. My husband (6'0") is cramped in the passenger seat with his knees against the dash if the carseats are in it. Overall, it is a terrific little car, harder than hell to break into when youve locked the keys in the car, so that could be a plus or a negative depending on how you look at it (haha!) And having been in three minor collisions in it, you would never know, it brushes off small accidents like nothing...no scratches, dents or anything.
Electric, mechanical, and body integrity no better--and far more costly to repair--that the 20-YO Ford Escorts (sedan and wagon) I formerly drove: ELECTRICAL: nobody in service at the dealership where I purchased the car can figure out why I periodically get shrieking warning blasts from somewhere in (?) the center console: they "never heard" of this (although 5 mins of online research show this reaction is not uncommon); brake, fluid, & all else that should be indicated by warning lights (and inspections) revealed nothing wrong. A/C noisy and barely adequate when the outside temp is over 90 degrees (it;s a roomy interior and would benefit, I think, from a bigger compressor. Had to replace the behind-the-dash fan (for both heating and A/C ) at 55K. Heating: the car's "cool" temp setting on the dash really mean just degrees of very hot air unless the A/C is turned on. The car lacks a temp gauge and oil pressure gauge. MECHANICAL: $250 wanted by the dealer to replace rear brake shoes (drum brakes in 2012? I didn't even think to look). Cracked control arm bushings seems reasonable on a car with 60K, but using parts ordered online, I had OEM struts, rear shocks, all of the control arms, bushings, an alignment, and rear brakes replaced and installed for less than than the dealer wanted to replace the cracked bushings and install new rear brake shoes. Mileage is worse than my auto-transmission Ford Escort STATION WAGON: lucky to get 30 mpg in the Versa at 55 MPH (with cruise control) on a 300-mile flattish stretch of open highway (the wagon routinely got 33-34, and the sedan, at that speed, 34-36). City mileage is horrifying: I'm a "gentle" driver and am not stuck in stop-and-go traffic, but Nissan in "city" driving gets a remarkably low 17-18 MPG. Interesting: there is a two-mile stretch of road I can coast down, and the Escorts reached 55-60 MPH on that mild decline, but the Versa is apparently not as aerodynamic, as it settles in at about 47-48 MPH. The Versa is tall and noticeably easier to get into and out of, however. BODY INTEGRITY and TRIM: laughable. I bought the car when it was two years old, but did not expect the "rubber" window seals to crack and turn brown nor come away and hang down, nor the trim at the front door to come away, nor the metal panel on the body (which the door slips over) to come off. Had none of these problems with the old Escorts. The Versa is noticeably more peppy than the old Escorts, but it's not going to win many races. Factor in the depreciation . . . Ouch! Note that I opt for Mobil 1 synthetic oil, which, I would think, ups MPG a little. Also, I very rarely have a passenger so there is little "extra" weight.
The Nissan Versa Hatchback is an economical car that is good to use in town (easy to park because of its size) but not a good car for making a long trip. I've been getting about 28 mpg in town and around 32 on the highway. The car is powerful enough to keep up with traffic on the highway but too light weight to feel safe when next to other cars and trucks. UPDATE posted Nov. 26, 2016: On May 27, 2016, I traded my Nissan Versa Hatchback for a used 2014 Kia Sorento SX in order to get a car I felt safer in. And my insurance company agreed by reducing my monthly premium. A friend owned a 2008 Nissan Versa sedan and was broadsided. Her car was totalled! I decided then to trade for a safer car.