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Josh Rosenberg By Josh Rosenberg
Updated March 16, 2024


Older Used Nissan Versa Overview, First And Second Generations (2007 - 2019), Reliability, Possible Maintenance Problems, Overall Pros And Cons

Related: The Simple Way To Get The Lowest Price On A New Nissan Versa

In today's extremely high-priced used car market, many shoppers are looking for "older" models that have aged well as a way to save significant dollars, making a vehicle's history for reliability and longevity of prime importance.

2016 Nissan Versa

What about the Nissan Versa's reliability? Has it aged well?

Well, history has proven that, yes, it actually has earned a decent reputation for reliability. But it's not without some possible mechanical issues that prosective buyers should be aware of.

And by older, I'm generally referring to Versas that are 10+ years old, which would mean those from its first and second generations, produced for the 2007 - 2019 model years, with a primary focus on the earlier models when it comes to the second generation (2012 - 2019).

And it should also be noted that much of an individual vehicle's reliability outcome will come down to how well it was maintained and how it was driven by its previous owner(s), as well as its environmental conditions. This makes it extremely important to locate an older Versa that has been treated very well.

So here, ...

- We'll do an overview of the first two Nissan Versa generations, covering the 2007 - 2019 model years, with an emphasis on the earlier models when discussing the second.

- Then we'll list possible mechanical issues for these production runs that have been reported by owners so they can be checked before buying one today.

- And then we'll summarize the overall pros and cons of an older Versa worth consideration for potential buyers.

But first, and very importantly ...

Things To Do When Considering An "Older" Versa

Locate Lower Mileage Vehicles: They are certainly out there to be found with careful and patient shopping. Be willing to drive a distance if you have to.

Vehicle History and Maintenance: Ask for the vehicle history report (CarFax or AutoCheck) as well as documented maintenance and repair records. If not provided by the Dealer or private seller, it's usually best to move on.

Pre-Purchase Inspection: Have the vehicle independently inspected before making a final decision. This usually will cost in the $150-$200 range but is well worth it given the potentially thousands in savings over the long term.

And My #1 Price Tip: It's important to get dealers to compete for your business whether looking for a new or used car. When dealers know they are in a competition, prices tend to drop, and it's very easy to get dealer quotes. My personal favorite site for easily getting multiple dealers involved is Edmunds.com due to their massive dealer participation and ease of use.

Second Generation Nissan Versa (2012 - 2019)

2013 Nissan Versa

The second generation Nissan Versa marked a significant evolution from its predecessor. This iteration brought forth a host of enhancements, ranging from design updates to technological advancements.

Engine And Gas Mileage:

Under the hood, this Versa was equipped with a 1.6-Liter Inline-4 engine. This efficient engine provided ample power for daily driving while delivering impressive fuel efficiency, making it an appealing choice for urban commuters and highway travelers alike.

EPA gas mileage is an impressive 30 mpg city and 38 mpg highway.

Available Models and Trims:

S Trim: As the base model, the S trim provided basic features such as air conditioning, a height-adjustable driver seat, a trip computer, a two-speaker sound system with a CD player and an auxiliary audio jack, and manual windows and locks.

SV Trim: Stepping up to the SV trim added more comfort and convenience features, including power windows and locks, keyless entry, cruise control, upgraded interior materials, and options like a touchscreen infotainment system and smartphone integration.

SL Trim: The SL trim represented the top-of-the-line option, boasting more premium amenities such as alloy wheels, fog lights, automatic climate control, an upgraded audio system, navigation, and other luxury touches.

SR Trim: Available in some model years, the SR trim offered sportier styling elements, a unique grille, sport-tuned suspension, and special interior accents for those seeking a more dynamic driving experience.

Interior Features and Comfort:

Inside, you'll find a fairly refined cabin environment with improved materials and build quality. Depending on the trim level, occupants can enjoy premium upholstery, heated front seats, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Additionally, enhanced noise insulation contributed to a quieter ride, enhancing overall comfort.

Technology and Connectivity:

Nissan equipped this Versa with an array of technology features aimed at enhancing convenience and entertainment. Some models can be found with options such as a touchscreen infotainment system with NissanConnect, Bluetooth connectivity, USB ports for device charging and media playback, and smartphone integration via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in later model years.

2012 - 2019 Nissan Versa Possible Mechanical Problems

The second generation Nissan Versa generally proved to be a reliable vehicle, but like any car model, it had reported mechanical issues as well. Here are some of the more common problems reported by owners which should be included in an inspection before buying:

CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) Issues: Similar to the first generation, some owners reported problems with the CVT. These issues included transmission slipping, jerking, or failure to engage properly.

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Transmission Fluid Leak: Some owners reported transmission fluid leaks from the CVT. This could be caused by issues such as damaged seals, gaskets, or faulty transmission components, requiring prompt attention to prevent fluid loss and potential transmission damage.

Engine Mounts Failure: Premature failure of engine mounts was reported by some owners, resulting in excessive engine vibration, especially during acceleration or at idle.

Brake System Problems: Various brake-related issues were reported, including premature brake wear, noisy brakes, and brake pedal pulsation. These issues could be attributed to factors such as worn brake pads, warped rotors, or malfunctioning brake components.

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Electrical Gremlins: Like many modern vehicles, the second generation Versa experienced various electrical issues reported by owners. These included malfunctioning power windows, door locks, and intermittent electrical shorts.

Suspension Component Wear: Premature wear of suspension components, such as bushings, struts, or control arms, was reported by some owners. This could lead to increased noise, vibration, and handling concerns.

Stalling or Rough Idle: Some owners reported instances of engine stalling or rough idle. These issues could be caused by factors such as faulty ignition coils, spark plugs, or fuel system problems.

First Generation Nissan Versa (2007 - 2011)

Nissan Versa 1.8 SL Sedan (2008)

While introduced in the United States for the 2007 model year, the Nissan Versa was previously sold under the Tiida name in Japan and as the Renault Clio in Europe., so it already had some history.

Here in the States, the Versa earned a name for itself as a surprisingly well-built subcompact that was affordable, got good gas mileage, and offered above-average space thanks to an efficient interior layout.

Interior:

The first generation Nissan Versa is an economy car offered as both a sedan and four-door hatchback. Both possess the Versa's high roof line which creates a large amount of interior space. There's plenty of headroom and ample legroom, even in the adult-friendly back seat.

While the spacious back seat cuts into the available cargo space in the sedan, the Versa hatchback's split rear seats fold to provide over 50 cubic feet of storage for those who need extra cargo room. The Versa also has a number of well-designed and convenient built-in storage areas around the doors.

Models And Trims:

These older Versa models can be found in four trims: 1.6 Base, 1.6, 1.8 S and 1.8 SL. All models come with a higher fit and finish level than most would expect in an economy car, including higher than average grade plastics, upscale-texture upholstery and well-tailored seats.

That noted, the 1.6 Base model (only available as a sedan and was new for the 2009 model year) is just that -- base. There's no stereo or air conditioning. And there's not much added in the regular 1.6 either, although it does include the air conditioning.

Standard features on the Versa 1.8 S include air conditioning, a stereo with CD player, and a tilt steering column. The SL model adds power windows, power locks, power mirrors, cruise control, a 180-watt stereo with an in-dash 6-disc CD changer, and driver seat height adjustment.

These older Versas can also be found with optional features such as Bluetooth, keyless entry, and a Rockford Fosgate audio system.

Used Nissan Versa 1.8 SL Hatchback (2008)

Engines And Gas Mileage:

Powering this Versa is either a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 107 horsepower and 111 pound-feet of torque, or a 1.8 liter that pumps out 122 horsepower and 127 lb-ft of torque.

They're mated with either a 5-speed or 6-speed manual transmission (standard on most trims) or an optional 4-speed automatic. The 1.8 SL can also be found with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that improves fuel efficiency with its more precise shifting.

Gas mileage for the 1.6 is an efficient 26 mpg city and 34 mpg on the highway (33 with the automatic). Fuel economy for the 1.8. doesn't fall much, coming in at 24 mpg city and 32 mpg highway with the 4-speed automatic.

Gas mileage for the Versa SL with the CVT comes out the best with a rating of 27 city and 33 highway.

2007 - 2011 Nissan Versa Possible Mechanical Problems

While not all vehicles experienced these problems, here are some of the more common mechanical issues which were reported by owners and should therefore be included in a pre-purchase inspection:

CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) Issues: Some owners reported problems with the CVT, including issues with transmission slipping, jerking, or failure to engage properly, and sometimes required transmission replacement.

Engine Mounts Failure: Premature failure of engine mounts was reported by some owners. This could result in excessive engine vibration, especially during acceleration or at idle.

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Electrical Problems: Various electrical issues were reported, including malfunctioning power windows, door locks, and intermittent electrical shorts.

Steering System Problems: Some owners experienced problems with the steering system, such as stiffness, wandering, or noise during steering input. These issues could stem from problems with the power steering pump, rack, or associated components.

Braking System Concerns: Brake-related issues, such as premature brake wear, noisy brakes, or brake pedal pulsation, were reported by some owners.

Suspension Components Wear: Premature wear of suspension components, such as bushings, struts, or control arms, was reported by some owners. This could lead to increased noise, vibration, and handling concerns.

Fuel System Problems: Some owners reported issues with the fuel system, including fuel leaks, fuel pump failure, or fuel injector malfunctions.

Overall Pros And Cons Of An Older Nissan Versa

Older Nissan Versa Pros:

Affordability: Older Versa models typically come with a lower price tag compared to newer vehicles and therefore offer significantly lower upfront costs.

Reliability: Despite some reported mechanical issues, the Versa has generally been known for its reliability and durability. With proper maintenance and care, an older Versa can still offer dependable performance and longevity.

Fuel Efficiency: Both the first and second generation Versa models offer competitive fuel efficiency, making them cost-effective to own and operate in terms of fuel expenses.

Spacious Interior: The Versa is known for its spacious interior, providing ample room for passengers and cargo compared to other vehicles in its class.

Availability of Used Parts: Due to the popularity of the Versa and its long production history, finding used parts for repairs and maintenance can be relatively easy and affordable. This can help reduce repair costs over the vehicle's lifespan.

Smooth Ride: With its well-tuned suspension and comfortable seats, the Versa provides a smooth and comfortable ride, especially over city streets and highways.

Older Nissan Versa Cons:

Potential Mechanical Issues: Older Versa models may require more frequent maintenance and repairs, possibly offsetting some or all of the upfront savings. It's very important to find one that has lower mileage and has been well-maintained.

Outdated Technology: Older Versa models may lack the latest technology features and amenities found in newer vehicles, such as advanced infotainment systems, driver assistance features, and connectivity options.

Safety Features: While newer Versa models offer advanced safety features like a rearview camera, blind-spot monitoring, and forward collision warning, older models may lack these features or offer them only in higher trim levels.

Lackluster Performance: While the Versa excells in fuel efficiency and comfort, its performance is somewhat lackluster compared to some rivals in the segment. The engine could feel underpowered during acceleration, especially when fully loaded or merging onto highways.

Interior Quality: While spacious, the interior of the first generation Versa lacked the refinement and premium materials found in some competitors. Hard plastics were prevalent throughout the cabin, giving it a somewhat cheap feel compared to higher-end models.

Limited Features: Base models of the first generation Versa were sparsely equipped, lacking many of the advanced features found in newer cars.

Road Noise: Despite its comfortable ride, the Versa is prone to transmitting road and wind noise into the cabin, especially at higher speeds.

Also, Always Know The Value Of Your Trade-In!

Whether you are trading or selling on your own, it's just a good idea ... even whether you are in the market or not at the moment. You can then use this important information for a number of purposes ... to negotiate with a dealer, or to know how to price your car in the retail market, or simply to know the value of one of your assets, which is always a good idea.

Getting trade-in values online tend to vary a lot from site to site. But I've found the one at Edmunds Trade-In Quotes is particularly comprehensive and accurate.

It's free, it's quick and there's no contact by any third parties. I think what helps its accuracy is the inputs will include either your plate# or VIN#. They really focus in on the specific vehicle.

Lastly, Suggestions For Getting A Low Versa Price

First of all, here's a Lowest Price Used Car Buying Guide that details a very effective method.

Here's another method that identifies Price-Distressed Cars Right On Dealer Lots. These are vehicles they are so desperate to unload they would welcome your wholesale offer.

In addition, you can also try the Public Car Auctions in your own geographic area. This article reviews what to expect at open-to-the-public car auctions and how to locate them.

And for those of you who might be interested in a "brand new" Nissan Versa if the price was really good, here's info on exactly How To Get The Best Price On A New Versa. This works just phenomenally well.


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