Avg. Price Paid:$6,546 - $8,095
Original MSRP: $12,880 - $15,980
MPG: 26 City / 31 Hwy
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2008 Nissan Versa Performance

This performance review was written when the 2008 Nissan Versa was new.

The 2008 Nissan Versa skimps on performance compared to competitors like the Honda Fit or Scion tC. Automobile.com calls the Versa "no fireball," while Car and Driver says the car is "a little bit dull to drive; performance is midpack."

However, a number of reviewers are pleased with the Versa's responsive steering. But Kelley Blue Book highlights the Versa's reaction to turns, saying, "It feels quite confident in the corners and exhibits good stability on expressways." Reviewers like Auto Mall USA note parking the Versa is a "breeze." However, the 2008 Nissan Versa was not a favorite for its noisy ride. About.com notices noise that "tells you there's a four-cylinder under the hood," whereas MSN is annoyed with the sounds from the road and the engine, writing "tire noise only stopped when I traveled on new asphalt surfaces."

Acceleration and Power

All versions of the 2008 Nissan Versa have a 1.8-liter DOHC 16-valve four-cylinder engine with 122 horsepower and 127 pound-feet of torque. The standard transmission is a six-speed manual, but the S trim has the option for a four-speed automatic transmission instead. The EPA rates the 2008 Versa with the four-speed automatic transmission at 24 miles per gallon in the city, 32 miles per gallon on the highway.

Drivers with the SL trim can choose an automatic continuously variable transmission (CVT), a transmission system that produces different engine/wheel speed ratios and helps for easier acceleration when changing gears, decreased downshifting and increases fuel efficiency. With the standard six-speed manual transmission, the EPA rates the Versa at 26 miles per gallon with city driving and 31 miles per gallon on the highway. Using the automatic CVT, the Versa rates at 27 miles per gallon for the city, 33 miles per gallon on the highway. Road and Track specifically compliments Versa on these numbers, and credits the "silky CVT that gives the Versa excellent EPA fuel economy."

Handling and Braking

Motor Week calls the Versa's handling with its suspension outfit capable. "But it's a mild, safe kind of capable, with moderate levels of front plow and plenty of wheel travel to soak up urban potholes," the reviewers writes. The 2008 Versa has electric power-assisted steering, and a suspension system that includes an independent strut suspension with stabilizer bar for the front and torsion beam suspension with integrated rear stabilizer bar in the rear. Also coming standard are ripple-control shock absorbers.

Reviews are mixed on the Versa's standard vented front disc/rear drum brakes. While About.com comments that "the front discs provided excellent stopping power," Edmunds recommends purchasing the optional four-wheel antilock braking system with Electronic Brake force Distribution and brake assist. Its reviewers report, "Our non-ABS Versa stopped from 60 mph in 152 feet and made us pretty nervous in the process."

Review Last Updated: 2/17/09

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