2016 Nissan Versa Review

Pros & Cons

  • Roomy interior with an adult-friendly backseat
  • low base price
  • comfortable ride
  • large trunk
  • high fuel economy with CVT.
  • Bland performance and driving dynamics
  • noisy engine
  • no telescoping steering wheel.
List Price Range
$5,850 - $10,998

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Edmunds' Expert Review

The 2016 Nissan Versa sedan provides comfortable, spacious and inexpensive transportation, and comes with a generous choice of available amenities. Just don't expect much in terms of personality or driver engagement.

Vehicle overview

The 2016 Nissan Versa is a subcompact sedan that's famous for its bargain-basement starting price. But did you know that the Versa also offers one of the roomiest rear seats in its segment? That makes this economy sedan a natural choice for buyers who anticipate hitting the road with a full load of passengers. What's more, a remarkably spacious trunk means none of them needs to worry about packing light.

The 2016 Nissan Versa's inoffensive styling is representative of how it drives.

Here's the thing, though: The list of standard equipment for entry-level Versa models is quite modest. And once you move to the upper trim levels with their more generous feature sets, you'll find that most of the Versa's initial price advantage has been negated. As such, this Nissan may make sense if all you need is a sensible, spacious car on the cheap. But if you're expecting much in the way of modern amenities, you might be in for a bit of sticker shock from less value-oriented Versa trims.

Drive the Nissan Versa sedan back to back with competitors like the 2016 Chevrolet Sonic, 2016 Ford Fiesta and the new 2016 Scion iA and you'll find that its handling feels lackluster by comparison. The 2016 Hyundai Accent and 2016 Kia Rio also offer zestier acceleration, and all of the above provide more style inside and out. But if "roomy" and "inexpensive" are priorities for your next subcompact sedan, the 2016 Nissan Versa remains a worthy option.

2016 Nissan Versa models

The 2016 Nissan Versa sedan is offered in four trim levels: S, S Plus, SV and SL. The Nissan Versa Note hatchback is covered in a separate review.

The entry-level S model comes with 15-inch steel wheels, body-color power mirrors, manual locks and windows, a tilt-only steering wheel, air-conditioning, cloth upholstery, Bluetooth phone connectivity, a trip computer and a four-speaker sound system with a CD player, steering wheel audio controls and an auxiliary audio input jack.

The S Plus gets a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT), a rear spoiler and cruise control.

Stepping up to the SV model nets you remote keyless entry, power windows and door locks, upgraded upholstery and interior trim, 60/40-split folding rear seatbacks, a height-adjustable driver seat with an armrest, upgraded instrumentation, map lights and a USB port.

The optional SV Appearance package adds 15-inch alloy wheels, foglights, chrome exterior trim and variable intermittent wipers. The SV Tech package adds a voice-controlled navigation system with a 5.8-inch touchscreen, smartphone-app integration, Bluetooth streaming audio, a hands-free text-messaging feature and a rearview camera.

The SL trim starts with the contents of the aforementioned Appearance and Tech packages, and it upgrades to 16-inch alloy wheels, side mirrors with integrated turn signals, keyless ignition and entry, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.

2016 Highlights

For 2016, body-color power mirrors and a four-speaker sound system are now standard across the Versa lineup. The top-of-the-line SL trim level also adds a standard leather-wrapped steering wheel.

Performance & mpg

The front-wheel-drive 2016 Nissan Versa is powered by a 1.6-liter four-cylinder that produces 109 horsepower and 107 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard on the S, and a four-speed automatic is optional. A CVT is standard on all other Versa models.

Acceleration is below average for the segment, but the Versa's fuel economy is fully competitive as long as you get the CVT.

In Edmunds performance testing, a Versa sedan with the CVT went from zero to 60 mph in 10.4 seconds, which is about a half-second slower than the average subcompact sedan.

With the CVT, EPA estimated fuel economy stands at an excellent 35 mpg combined (31 city/40 highway), though most competitors make similar numbers. With the standard five-speed manual transmission, those numbers dip to 30 mpg combined (27/36). The four-speed automatic also gets 30 mpg combined (26/35).

Safety

The 2016 Nissan Versa comes standard with antilock brakes (front disc, rear drum), traction and stability control, front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. A rearview camera is standard on the SL and optional on the SV. Another worthwhile feature is the SL's Easy-Fill tire alert system, which makes it easier to add air to your tires by sounding the horn when you've achieved the correct psi.

In Edmunds brake testing, a Versa SL sedan came to a stop from 60 mph in 128 feet, which is 5 feet longer than the segment average.

In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety testing, last year's Versa sedan earned a top rating of "Good" in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact and roof strength tests. In the small-overlap frontal-offset test, however, the Versa sedan got the lowest score of "Poor." The Versa's seat/head restraint design was rated "Good" for whiplash protection in rear impacts.

Driving

The 2016 Nissan Versa sedan's 1.6-liter engine offers little in the way of excitement. Its acceleration is subpar for the class, and it gets noisy in merging or passing situations when you're hard on the gas. This is particularly true with the CVT. Noisy engine droning is a common trait in CVT-equipped cars, but most of the Versa's rivals seem more refined with their regular six-speed automatics. That said, the CVT is still the way to go considering its superior fuel economy and because it comes with the higher trim levels.

Don't expect much excitement from the way the 2016 Nissan Versa drives.

In terms of driving dynamics, the Versa's soft suspension tuning provides a pretty comfortable ride when you're driving over broken and rutted pavement. The downside, though, is that the suspension and the Versa's vague steering combine to produce unremarkable and uninspiring handling.

Interior

Inside the 2016 Nissan Versa you'll find spacious front seats that are fine for short trips, but not as comfortable on long drives. The fact that lower trim levels don't have a height-adjustable driver seat will put shorter drivers at a particular disadvantage, and the lack of a telescoping steering wheel can make it difficult for just about everybody to find an ideal driving position. The adult-friendly rear seats are worthy of special mention, though. It's almost unheard of to find 6-footer-friendly legroom and headroom in a subcompact sedan. In this regard, the Versa stands alone.

The Versa's interior is quite spartan, but passenger space is surprisingly generous

Gauges and controls are easy to understand and use on the fly. The availability of a rearview camera and a voice-controlled infotainment and navigation system is a plus, though as noted, specifying such options takes a bite out of the Versa's value proposition. Practicality comes in the form of the large 14.8-cubic-foot trunk that can be expanded with the fold-down rear seatbacks that are standard on SV and SL models.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2016 Nissan Versa.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Excellent for the money
Frank,06/05/2016
1.6 S 4dr Sedan (1.6L 4cyl 5M)
The good: Great price, I paid under $10,500 out the door (tax, license, etc not included). I paid more for a 1991 Civic LX in 1990. That Civic had electric door locks and power windows, but no ABS or airbags. I like the ride. I wouldn't call it plush, but certainly comfortable for a small car. I find the car fairly quiet ... I don't have problem with using the phone when driving at highway speed. The 5MT and engine provide acceptable power ... I don't notice the problem going up hills the professional reviews have commented on. The big mile-long hill near me I go up in 5th without losing speed although I do have to hit the gas. Gas mileage is excellent ... getting higher than advertised if I don't roast it. The manual transmission and clutch are really smooth and easy to use. Long throw, but the clutch engagement is really light. Easy to drive. I like the steering ... it is quite strongly assisted, but it is easy to turn the wheel. I can see how some prefer more feel, but this doesn't bother me. The trunk is huge. There is a donut spare, but it looks like there is room for a full size spare. There wasn't in my 1991 Civic ... I did buy the full sized spare for that car but it didn't fit in the well. For this Versa, a full size spare would definitely fit. Hands free phone works great; connection with my android was painless. With the aux in and a $5 lighter-USB adapter, I play music on my phone no problem. I haven't used my CDs since ripping them, but now they have a use. The styling of this car is nice. Expert reviews whining about a lack of soft touch plastic inside are a laugh. Who said soft touch plastic is the best? I can guarantee you the hard plastic used in the Versa S is more durable than "soft" thin skin plastic over polyurethane ... and what are the reviewers doing touching the plastic inside anyhow? Shouldn't they also note the taste of this plastic isn't as good as much more expensive cars too? There is a remote trunk release inside the cabin ... some reviews say there is not. Car comes standard with nice Continental tires. The FM radio reception is quite good; controls on the steering wheel are convenient. The bad: The display (mileage, miles left in the tank, trip, etc) could be better ... you have to choose displays so I can't see trip and total miles or miles per tank on the same display. There is a tachometer, but only idiot lights for everything else. Not much adjustment for the seat, but it does fit me quite well. The steering wheel does adjust up and down. The rear seat backs don't fold down on this model. Rear brakes are drum. Storage is limited. Although the glove compartment is huge (non locking), other than this, cup holders in middle and on doors, and a small slot between seats that is too small for my Nexus 6P, there is no storage. A space for quarters or storage of little things would have been nice. The ugly: No automatic door locks takes some getting used to. The locks are a bit more difficult to actuate than they should be. Only one door lock on the driver side ... lets hope it never goes bad. OTOH, I just leave the car doors open with nothing of value inside. Most thieves don't look at the cheapest new car sold in America thinking there must be a lot of valuables inside. Other than that, not much else I can gripe about. There is an amazing amount of space for the rear passengers. Comments on the car ratings from professional reviews. I look at several sites that provide professional reviews and see this car at or near the bottom. I wanted an inexpensive commuter car with good gas mileage, hands free phone, the ability to play music on my phone, and this car fits the bill nicely. It has hard plastic inside ... oh boo hoo. If this is what you have to complain about, things are looking pretty good. Cars costing thousands more have more features ... duh. More than a year on I still love this little car, but understand the difference between the stick and CVT versions ... the stick is what I have and recommend. Update 2 years and 35K miles. There isn't another Nissan I'd buy ... you want to trade my 5MT Versa for your CVT Maxima? Not a chance. Americans are missing out with their love affairs with CVT & other automatic transmissions. Gas mileage is 33-38 depending on how fast I'm going. Roll down windows and manual locks take a second more to use than electric. My Continental tires are worn close to the limit after 35K miles so I'm thinking of switching to Michelins. But no, I wouldn't trade this car for anything with an automatic, even a Porsche. Not hyperbole, automatics, even those silly ones with gear shift on the wheel, are lame. I love this little beater. Pushing 70k now @ 3.5 years. An annoying rattle has started. The sole door lock froze up last month ... I needed to use lock deicer. Keep some in your trunk. I love this car despite the rattle.
Totally Awesome Car
Dave the Rave,06/26/2016
1.6 S 4dr Sedan (1.6L 4cyl 5M)
I bought this for my daughter, whose used car was on its last legs. I am very happy with our Versa S 5 speed manual. Attention Tall drivers: I am 6' 6" and I fit comfortably with plenty of head and leg room in the front seats. Rear seating has less headroom, but plenty of leg room. The seats are comfortable with lumbar support even on my base model. I do not feel like I am in a subcompact when in this car. It feels roomy. The AC is nice and cold and instrumentation is easy to see and use. What makes this car special, though, is how much fun it is to drive. We have the zippy 5 speed manual. I really had forgotten how much fun it is to drive a stick, and the versa puts a smile on my face. The gearing seems well spaced with just enough growl to enjoy. Braking is good and solid, and the handbrake is easily used to prevent rollback. The only drawback for me is that there is only one keyhole, on the driver's door, which I will hope stays functional. Having replaced power window mechanisms and keys with chips in other cars, I am happy with the crank windows and standard keys ( get a copy at Home Depot) that will keep my money in my pocket. Overall, for the price, an excellent value and a fun car to drive. Update: The above review was for my daughter's car, but 3 months later my own car died. Because I continue to be impressed by this car, I went and got a Versa S 5-Speed Manual for myself. I love zipping around in this car. It is fun, roomy and comfortable. BTW the Bluetooth Phone system is excellent. Callers can't tell I'm talking hands-free and I can devote my attention to shifting. I am very happy with my decision to buy two of these - for what I had previously paid for one car. Update in 2018: I still love this car. It is dependable and a joy to drive. Frugal drivers take note: It uses regular oil, not the expensive synthetics.
The 2016 Versa Sedan no Vice needed:)
Paula,05/23/2016
1.6 S 4dr Sedan (1.6L 4cyl 4A)
overall it a great starter car for credit repair its light on the road especially on windy days so i added 120lbs in my trunk which gave it stability other than that i love my 2016 Versa Sedan........ but my next car will be a NIssan Sentra only because im moving up lol or maybe i will stay with the Versa......
Not What You Drive, But How You Drive It
DudeBaker,04/23/2016
1.6 S 4dr Sedan (1.6L 4cyl 5M)
If you are considering purchasing a bottom of the barrel Versa S, then you probably care about precisely three things: Economy, practicality, and reliability. That's great, because the Versa has those bases covered. But you should also know that this clumsy little gas-miser can also be an incredibly fun and engaging drive. I own and daily drive a 2015 Versa S with a five-speed manual, and it has quickly become one of the most fun cars I have ever owned - and I've owned a lot of cars. I absolutely love tossing this car through the corners, driving directly over every bump in the road, and taking all five gears up to an raucous 5000 RPM. The claimed 109 horses take a very heavy foot to reel in. The interior panels rattle and creak in protest of every bump. The front suspension compresses far too much during hard cornering. Understeer is standard. The back-end seemingly drags on the ground behind you. Yes, I drive this car hard. Very hard. It roars, it rattles, it thumps and clunks, and I love every second of it. While I'm having fun, I'm also enjoying fantastic economy and mostly worry-free ownership. Mixed driving brings me 37 mpg average and just one visit to the pump per week. Oil and air filters are so cheap that I replace both every 3000 miles. There are no fancy electronic parts to fail, no expensive interior surfaces to worry over, no fancy paint job to polish and protect, no shiny alloys to dodge potholes for. My Versa is so cheap, in fact, that it came with rust pre-embedded in paint. Yes, my brand new car is already rusty. BUT - I just don't care. I bought this car to get from A to B, not to worry about. Even with the rust and cheap build quality, I like the way the Versa sedan looks. When it's cleaned up, it looks kind of sophisticated, grown up, mature. Contrary to what the price may tell you, the Versa is not for everyone. If you're looking for a smooth, quiet ride, don't buy a Versa. If you're looking for state of the art electronics, don't buy a Versa. If you want high tech engine management, disc brakes at all four corners, fully independent suspension... Don't buy a Versa. If you own a track car, the Versa is a perfect daily beater for you. If the best car you've ever owned as and E30, the Versa is a perfect daily beater for you. If you don't want to worry about locking your doors ever again, the Versa is a perfect daily beater for you. If you're anything like me, then buying a Versa for you commute will make you very happy.

Features & Specs

MPG
31 city / 40 hwy
Seats 5
Continuously variable-speed automatic
Gas
109 hp @ 6000 rpm
MPG
31 city / 40 hwy
Seats 5
Continuously variable-speed automatic
Gas
109 hp @ 6000 rpm
MPG
27 city / 36 hwy
Seats 5
5-speed manual
Gas
109 hp @ 6000 rpm
MPG
26 city / 35 hwy
Seats 5
4-speed automatic
Gas
109 hp @ 6000 rpm
See all Used 2016 Nissan Versa features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    Overall4 / 5
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger3 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    Overall4 / 5
  • Side Barrier Rating
    Overall4 / 5
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front Seat5 / 5
    Back Seat4 / 5
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover14.3%
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Good
  • Roof Strength Test
    Good
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Good
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2016 Nissan Versa

Used 2016 Nissan Versa Overview

The Used 2016 Nissan Versa is offered in the following submodels: Versa Sedan. Available styles include 1.6 S Plus 4dr Sedan (1.6L 4cyl CVT), 1.6 SV 4dr Sedan (1.6L 4cyl CVT), 1.6 S 4dr Sedan (1.6L 4cyl 5M), 1.6 S 4dr Sedan (1.6L 4cyl 4A), and 1.6 SL 4dr Sedan (1.6L 4cyl CVT).

What's a good price on a Used 2016 Nissan Versa?

Price comparisons for Used 2016 Nissan Versa trim styles:

  • The Used 2016 Nissan Versa 1.6 SV is priced between $5,850 and$10,998 with odometer readings between 35818 and137227 miles.
  • The Used 2016 Nissan Versa 1.6 S Plus is priced between $7,988 and$8,998 with odometer readings between 29174 and77639 miles.
  • The Used 2016 Nissan Versa 1.6 S is priced between $7,481 and$10,599 with odometer readings between 34592 and108282 miles.

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Which used 2016 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) 2016 Nissan Versa for sale near. There are currently 20 used and CPO 2016 Versas listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $5,850 and mileage as low as 29174 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 2016 Nissan Versa.

Can't find a used 2016 Nissan Versas you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Nissan Versa for sale - 8 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $8,343.

Find a used Nissan for sale - 8 great deals out of 10 listings starting at $10,752.

Find a used certified pre-owned Nissan Versa for sale - 4 great deals out of 24 listings starting at $19,186.

Find a used certified pre-owned Nissan for sale - 1 great deals out of 21 listings starting at $11,198.

Should I lease or buy a 2016 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.

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