2007 Nissan Versa 1.8 SL
2007 Nissan Versa 1.8 SL; photo by Chris Chase. Click image to enlarge

Related links
More Nissan Versa articles on Autos.ca

Manufacturer’s web site
Nissan Canada

By Chris Chase

Introduced in 2007, the Versa was Nissan’s entry in a class of entry-level cars that included the Toyota Yaris, Honda Fit, Hyundai Accent and Chevrolet Aveo. All of those cars were notable in some way, but they were also all small. Not surprising in a category where pricing begins not far off the $10,000 mark, but the Versa’s claim to fame was its size. It was marketed as a subcompact, and yet offered a roomier interior and more refined performance than just about anything it could be compared to price-wise. The Versa was large enough inside that Natural Resources Canada classed it as a mid-sized(!) car for the purposes of its fuel consumption ratings.

The Versa was sold in four-door sedan and hatchback body styles. Power was provided by a 1.8-litre four-cylinder that generated 122 horsepower and 127 lb-ft of torque. Unusually, three transmissions were offered: a six-speed manual was the base gearbox, and a four-speed automatic and a continuously variable transmission (CVT) were the options.

2007 Nissan Versa 1.8 SL
2007 Nissan Versa 1.8 SL
2007 Nissan Versa 1.8 SL; photo by Chris Chase. Click image to enlarge

In 2009, the sedan’s packaging and pricing were altered to make it a true base model: it was offered only with a new 1.6-litre engine (107 hp/111 lb.-ft.), five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmissions, and came with very few features (even a radio was extra).

The 2010 model received the expected mid-model makeover, which included a new grille, wheel designs and updated interior fabrics.

Fuel consumption figures in 2007 were 7.9/6.1 L/100 km (city/highway) with the CVT; 7.9/6.3 with the four-speed auto and 8.5/6.2 in stickshift form. For 2008, the CVT’s figures improved to 7.5/6.0 L/100 km, and dropped again in 2011, to 7.2/5.7. With the 1.6-litre engine, ratings were 7.7/5.8 with a five-speed manual and 7.8/5.9 with the automatic.

Thus far, the first generation Versa has held up quite well, reliability-wise. Consumer Reports gives the Versa an average used vehicle rating, but the problems noted by the publication are minor. The big stuff, like the engine and, importantly, the continuously variable transmission, which is still a relatively new technology, are solid.

There’s the matter of climate control blower motor resistors failing, which leaves you with a fan that will only run on the highest setting. The fix is simple and inexpensive.

Connect with Autos.ca