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2008 Nissan Versa

Overview
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2008 Nissan Versa Review

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Several automakers, including Nissan, foresee a comeback in entry-level compact cars, triggered largely by rising fuel prices. "For the first time in many years," said a Nissan senior marketing manager, many shoppers are "giving serious consideration" to smaller automobiles. These marketing folks detect a "void" in the sub-$14,000 price range, noting that a new generation of young people, known as "echo boomers," will reach driving age soon. Billed as a "no-compromise" value-priced offering that reaches beyond basic amenities, the company promises class-leading horsepower and torque, along with generous interior space, for its newest entrant, the 2008 Nissan Versa.

You'll Like This Car If...

The Versa leads the small-car pack in spaciousness, which is worth considering if you carry passengers in the back seat. Standing tall in both dimensions and refinement, it may also tempt those who appreciate the smoothness of a CVT, which promises 33 miles per gallon on the highway (according to EPA fuel-economy estimates).

You May Not Like This Car If...

Nissan's hatchback might not satisfy you if you need to fit three full-size occupants into the rear, but that's common for entry-level compacts. If you like anti-lock braking but don't want to pay extra for it, it's an option on the Versa, not standard equipment.

What's Significant About This Car?

The Sport Package is now available on the Versa Sedan SL, while cruise control is made available on S trims.

Driving the Versa

Driving Impressions Nissan's Xtronic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) is as smooth as they come. Almost no engine noise is noticeable in ordinary driving and you hear only a tolerable light snarl during...

hard acceleration. The Versa's acceleration rivals that of competitors with conventional automatics, although, like most small cars, it's not particularly quick going up hills. Reacting capably on curvy roads, it feels quite confident in the corners and exhibits good stability on expressways. Although the well-controlled ride is pleasant on good surfaces, on rougher roads the occupants may feel a lot of surface imperfections, but few will be particularly troubling. The instrument panel has deep-set gauges that are easy to read.

Rear-Seat Space:
Not too many larger cars are as easy to get into and out of, and as spacious for knees and feet, as the Versa. Rear-seat riders can expect real comfort, without asking to push the front seats too far forward.

Xtronic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT):
Nissan has been a leader in CVT installations, which substitute a belt and twin variable-diameter pulleys for the usual gears. The result is exceptionally smooth, linear and rewarding operation—once the driver gets accustomed to the fact that no gear changes will be taking place.

2008 Nissan Versa Details
2008 Nissan Versa photo Interior

The Versa provides considerably more knee and foot space than many larger automobiles, and front and rear headroom are also abundant. Seats that are close to "chair-height" give impressive comfort, and double French-seam stitching on the upholstery is but one indicator of careful attention to detail. The compact rear suspension results in a low, flat cargo floor, and the front seats are nearly as large as a Maxima's. As in so many smaller cars, the center rear seating position is not the most comfortable.

Exterior

The tidy Versa succeeds at not being boxy or bland. Taller and more upright in stance than most small cars, the Versa is exceptionally easy to enter. You can see at a glance that the passenger compartment takes up much of the car's length, the back doors are particularly long and the windshield is about as far forward as possible. Five-door hatchbacks excel in versatility, but may not be popular with everyone. Some shoppers might prefer the Versa sedan.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Every 2008 Nissan Versa is equipped with seat- and roof-mounted curtain side-impact airbags, a tire-pressure monitor system, electric power steering and an engine immobilizer. The basic S model includes 15-inch steel wheels with full covers, power body-colored mirrors, a cargo cover (hatchback only), 60/40 split-folding rear seat, 120-watt CD stereo, air conditioning and tilt steering wheel. The SL version adds a 180-watt stereo with six-CD changer, 15-inch alloy wheels, six-way manual driver's seat, rear center armrest, remote keyless entry and power windows and locks.

Optional Equipment

Anti-lock braking (ABS) is optional for all models. A total of six option groups are divided between the two trims. A Power Package and cruise control are available on the S models, while an Audio Package for SL hatchbacks includes a Rockford Fosgate-powered subwoofer. SL models can also be equipped with a Convenience Package that adds Intelligent Key entry, Bluetooth hand-free phone operation and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio switches. The Sport Package includes a rear roof spoiler, side-sill extensions, front and rear chin spoilers and fog lights. A choice of XM or SIRIUS Satellite Radio, and a moonroof, are linked together as available options on the SL trim level.

Under the Hood

For the U.S. market, Nissan's 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine has been specially tuned for stronger low-end torque. Three transmissions are available: A six-speed manual, four-speed automatic and the Xtronic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). As production increases, the CVT is expected to oust the four-speed automatic as an alternative to a manual gearbox. In the SL trim level, a four-speed automatic will not be offered at all. The CVT incorporates a virtual low range, for long, steep hills and heavier pulling.

1.8-liter in-line 4
122 horsepower @ 5200 rpm
127 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 26/31 (manual), 24/32 (automatic), 27/33 (CVT automatic)

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2008 Nissan Versa Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.4
Out of 10

Based on 507 Ratings for the 2007 - 2011 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.8/10
    Quality
    8.5/10
  • Reliability
    9.0/10
    Performance
    8.4/10
  • Comfort
    8.6/10
    Styling
    8.5/10

Very reliable, good handling and theCVT trans grea

By on Friday, July 24, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 37,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Very easy to drive and upper 28 city & 34 high gar"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"As far as a reliable economy vehicle, with a plus in handling and low mileage this worth looking at it. The only reason I am considering selling is the doctors say in my medical state I shoul consider it at this time."

Best small car I ever owneed!

By on Monday, July 06, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 77,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Lots of leg room, lots of storage and cargo room."

Cons: "I wish the back seat would fold down flat."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"We use this car like a pickup sometimes. I love the room this car has and the fold down seat allows us to haul a lot of stuff. Very comfortable for such a little car. It fits every need we have , and the gas mileage continues to be really great."

3 people out of 8 found this review helpful

Great Car for Money - Cavernous Cargo Capacity

By on Friday, July 03, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 42,778

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "lots of rear legroom and cargo space."

Cons: "thin seat padding, spartan cabin"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Bought this for my daughter. She got it when she was a junior in HS now a Junior in college. Great car. Good on gas. Handles nicely - you can feel the road. The Cargo space is cavernous - and lots of backseat leg room. Highly recommend for younger driver."

3 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Love this car

By on Wednesday, July 01, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 77,500

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Spacious"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This car is simple, comfortable and dependable. I've driven cross country several times and never had an issue. Very spacious. There are six cup holders and the back seat has plenty of room. Love it."

6 people out of 10 found this review helpful

Reliable and capacious.

By on Wednesday, July 01, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 73,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Price, value, reliability, comfortable seating."

Cons: "Analog dashboard, lackluster acceleration."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"My 2009 Nissan Versa, SL, has been a good reliable car since I bought it one year old (it had been a dealer's car). With the exception of a couple of minor matters, fixed under warranty, and then a driver's door handle, which came off (I fixed it myself), the car has performed flawlessly if unspectacularly. (What do you expect of an economy hatchback?) I've used the hatch configuration to haul lots of garden supplies (mulch, dirt, blocks, rocks), and though the back of the interior is scuffed up because of this I've been able to move things in this little car that I could not have in a sedan or coupe."

3 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Love my Versa

By on Wednesday, May 27, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 200,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Roomy, dependable, affordable, cute"

Cons: "can catch the wind, interior very basic"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"my Versa currently has 200k miles on it. I've never had any issues. The only thing I've done is replace the battery and tires. I purchased it used with 46k miles on it, and I've never been happier. The only thing that keeps it from being perfect is the combo of its light weight and height makes it catch the wind on windy days."

5 people out of 11 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?