2008 Nissan Versa Hatchback
2007 Nissan Versa Hatchback
Nissan Versa Hatchback, 2007–2013. Click image to enlarge

Review by Justin Pritchard

Vehicle Type: Compact Hatchback

History/Description: With a focus on spaciousness and fuel economy, Nissan’s Versa Hatchback blended space and functionality with interesting style for a standout package. With short overhangs in front and rear, engineers and designers worked hard to maximize interior space. The results included claimed “best in class” total passenger volume and rear legroom.

This cabin hits above its weight where size and dimensions are concerned. Even taller Versa drivers report satisfaction with the machine’s interior spaciousness. That’s thanks in no small part to nearly 2700 L (95 cu. ft.) of passenger volume. Additionally, a folding rear seat and generous cargo hold help Versa Hatchback tackle any combination of passengers and stuff. The cabin is also equipped with smart, at-hand storage solutions for books, cell phones, water bottles and any other items that occupants need to keep at arm’s-length.

All of that in a package that’ll go 100 kilometres on about seven bucks worth of gas!

Key competitors in your shopping process should include the Toyota Yaris, Honda Fit and Hyundai Accent three-door or five-door, depending on the year.

Engines / Trim: A 1.8L four-cylinder engine with 122 hp powered the front wheels on all Versa Hatchback models. Transmission choices for this generation Versa Hatchback included a six-speed manual, a four-speed automatic or an Xtronic CVT transmission – depending on the model selected. All Versa Hatchback models were five-door, four-cylinder units.

Trim grade nomenclature for the Versa Hatchback works thusly: S and SL designations are the only available, with several options and packages helping differentiate the models further. A six-speed manual was available on the SL models, which is nice if you like to row your own cogs without being relegated to a barebones base-model. Available feature content included a premium audio system, Bluetooth, a moonroof, an intelligent key system, and a sport package.

2007 Nissan Versa Hatchback2007 Nissan Versa Hatchback2008 Nissan Versa Hatchback2008 Nissan Versa Hatchback
Nissan Versa Hatchback, 2007–2013. Click image to enlarge

What Owners Like: Seems like Versa Hatchback initially got shoppers into showrooms with its promise of a highly favourable space, efficiency and price equation, and used its generous occupant room, easy entry and exit and decent performance to help seal the deal. Plenty of space and flexibility for easy adaptability to a variety of tasks, trips and lifestyles is noted of the model. Many owners comment positively on the abundant at-hand storage. Even drivers who call themselves ‘larger than average’ in terms of height, width or weight say they have ample room.

What Owners Dislike: Though Nissan positioned the Versa as a sporty model, owners tended to disagree. In fact, the numb steering feel and softly set suspension, and their negative effect on handling and entertainment value, are among the Versa’s most common complaints. Others include the… er… unique looks and the drone from the engine with the Continually Variable Transmission. Some owners also wish for better gas mileage and less interior squeaks and rattles as the car ages. Note that owner-stated fuel economy figures are largely subject to driving habits, locales, and adherence to maintenance requirements – so they should be used as a guideline only.

Here’s a list of owner reviews of the Nissan Versa
Owner Reviews (autoTRADER.ca)
Owner Reviews (Yahoo Autos)

Common Issues: Start your walk-around of a potential used Versa candidate with some common checks. Is there rust under the edges of the door or hatch? At the edge of the hood? Do the tires look new and fresh, or aged and worn? Is there any sign of excessive wear around the cargo area, door sills or paint? Does the hatchback stay opened on its own, or do the gas struts need to be replaced to prevent a whack to your noggin?

On board, inspect all electronics for proper operation. Confirm that no check-engine lights are present. Inspect the outboard driver’s seat bolster for signs of wear or ripping. If the Versa Hatch you’re considering shows excessive amounts of wear relative to its age or mileage, call it into pricing negotiations.

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