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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 481 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
    8.7/10
    Styling
    8.6/10

Only car I've ever had that surpasses EPA ratings.

By on Wednesday, November 12, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 52,000

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
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Great price for all the features it contains."

Cons: "A little noisey at 70mph. No telesopic stearing."

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

"I'm 56 and have had many cars. This is the only one EVER to surpass the EPA gas ratings! 38 mpg combined! It does make a difference in how I drive, but I've never got below 32mpg. It's very roomy and great on trips. The ride is great for the size. Of course it's not as comfee as my big Buick, but far more comfortable than other midsize cars. Has all the power you need in a midsize. It could be quieter on the open road, but again, it's not a $50k+ full size car. It's an awesome midsize car with the mpg of a subcompact."

2 people out of 4 found this review helpful

I Love the Versa Sedan

By on Thursday, October 30, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 69,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "$9999 Price, Fun to drive, No issues"

Cons: "Light at 2400llbs. Add 180 lbs & snow tires"

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

"I bought the Versa as my winter vehicle to my 2009 Nissan cube summer ride. The Versa sedan is the best car on the road for the buck. We push 39 MPG out of it with the 5 speed. The only changes to the car are: -Side window visors (for rainy hot days-no AC) -Rear roof spoiler -Front air dam -Radio with CD -Sub woofer -cold air intake Its a blast to drive. Not powerful, but responsive. I would never recommend the CVT for anyone that loves a manual shift car. No issues other than a few weeks during cold weather, the car cut out for a split second a few times. Turned out to be moisture near the coil packs. this happens on modern day cars. Still has the original rear brakes at 60,000 miles. Only other replacements have been: Front rotors and pads Starter (covered by Nissan One Warranty). Perfect car. I will not buy a new one because we think they are not attractive. We will get a Nissan Juke though :-)"

3 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Trouble free and fun to drive.

By on Wednesday, October 29, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 65,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Great price, very roomy, front and back legroom"

Cons: "Manual tranmission gearing - low gear is too high"

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

"This is simply the most car for the money. It is extremely roomy inside with great legroom front and back (I am 6'6" tall). Interior appointments good for an economy car. Power locks and windows, remote entry are standard features. Steering is light and precise and brakes feel solid."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

good Car for collage kid

By on Thursday, October 16, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 83,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "fair gas mileage lots of room front and back seats"

Cons: "paint chips to easy"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7

"this entry level car from Nissan is a great car for the money. I have had very low maint. cost on this car with 83000 miles it still has OE brakes and battery this is a great work car or first car for kids all the way thru collage. for me it was a good bang for the buck. I think 200k will be no issue. I am a keep the car in shape person change oil every 5k air and cabin filters every 15k the car is checked every 5k the tires are balanced and rotated at oil changes the car gets checked top to bottom then."

7 people out of 12 found this review helpful

Very comfortable and reliable! Nice colors too.

By on Tuesday, October 14, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 15,000

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
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Excellent handling, visibility and space inside"

Cons: "3-4 sec gearbox time delay from forward to reverse"

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

"Tremendously spacious for a small hatchback, including plenty of room for tall adults' legs in the back!. Also does not give you claustrophobia, as the "driver cockpit" cars like Prius and Fit. It is actually practical to slide over from the driver's seat to the passenger seat! Much better visibility all round than most competing cars. Great acceleration and CVT transmission is very smooth, but only moderate gas mileage at about 30 mpg mixed. Nice tight turning circle, too."

3 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Sad to consider letting her go

By on Sunday, September 28, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 112,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Virtually no mechanical problems"

Cons: "Too little ground clearance"

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

"I've had this '09 Versa hatchback for 4.5 years now, she's at 112k miles and the only trouble I've had was two years ago when the transmission went out. Well, turned out there was a recall for this model/year on transmissions so I got it completely replaced, completely free. Other than that, no problem with any other system, major or minor! The car is good on gas, handles nicely and the seats are so comfortable that long trips are very pleasant. This was my first hatchback and now I don't think I could ever go back to having a regular trunk again. Especially with the fold-down rear seats, this tiny car has hauled some surprisingly large items. I also love the smart key, namely the fact that it will not let you lock the keys inside the car, something I "try" to do on an embarrassingly frequent basis. Nice to have a car smarter than I am. My minor complaints are that there are no cupholders in the back seat area, and the rubber door trim started coming off very early on. My one major complaint is the poor ground clearance. This makes bumps and dips a real problem and I've had trouble keeping the bumper on almost this whole time."

5 people out of 7 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?