2018 Nissan Versa – In Depth Review

If you have to ask, “Which is the cheapest car currently on sale in America?”, this is it – the 2018 Nissan Versa sedan. It has a starting price of $12,995 including destination and unexpectedly offers an exceptionally roomy interior for the segment along with a cavernous boot.

A 109 hp 1.6L naturally aspirated I4 powers all the Versa but there are two available transmissions. While the base Versa S gets a 5-speed manual transmission, higher trims get much more efficient (with 31 mpg city and 39 mpg highway EPA rating) but significantly costlier CVT. The Versa still offers adequate performance for commute or occasional freeway jaunt and has a comfortable cabin.

That said, cost-cutting measures are obvious and if that concerns you, remember that the slightly pricier Toyota Yaris iA offers better interior and far more engaging driving experience. If you can get a hatchback, the Honda Fit is nearly unbeatable with slightly higher asking price. Still, the Versa offers new car warranty (3-years, 36,000 miles) for old car price.

Things we like

  • New car warranty for old car price
  • Extremely spacious interior and boot for the asking price
  • Quiet interior and comfortable ride

Things we don’t like

  • Base Manual is thirsty
  • Efficient CVT is pricey
  • Subpar fit and finish

What’s new for 2018 Nissan Versa

  • For 2018, Nissan Versa gets standard map lights, adjustable front headrests, and variable intermittent windshield wipers for all trims.
  • A new “Deep Blue Pearl” exterior color is added.

2018 Nissan Versa Pricing and Options

The base Nissan Versa S with the 5-speed manual has a price tag of $12,110. Even at this bare bottom price, you do get 4-speaker audio system and Bluetooth hands-free phone system. While the CVT equipped Versa S Plus is more efficient, it’s significantly costlier at $14,250. The Versa SV and Versa SV special edition top the range.

Trims S S Plus SV SV Special Edition
MSRP $12,110 $14,250 $15,840 $16,340
Features AM/FM/CD audio system with auxiliary audio input and 4 speakers

Bluetooth Hands-free Phone System

5-speed manual transmission

Variable intermittent windshield wipers

Features Includes S :

Xtronic CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission)

Cruise Control

Bluetooth Hands-free Phone System

Rear spoiler

Features Includes S Plus :

Remote keyless entry with remote trunk release

Trip computer with outside temperature display

Illuminated USB connection port

60/40 Split fold-down rear seats

Features Includes SV :

Bluetooth streaming audio

15″ Aluminum-alloy wheels

Fog lights

Rearview Monitor

Too many to choose from? We help you find the best trim

While the higher trims offer plenty of desirable amenities, it’s important to not get carried away as prices of higher trims are awfully close to much better products. Stick with the base Versa S and you will still get absolutely essential features like air conditioning.

2018 Nissan Versa Driving and Performance

It’s okay to be worried about the performance considering the price of the Versa. However, the Versa is adept at the job of transporting people and their luggage comfortably within city. Even on interstate trips, you will find the power to be sufficient for a decent cruise speed and the cushy suspension will impress on bad roads. However, don’t expect anything remotely exciting.

“The Nissan Versa will be comfortable for many buyers, but not necessarily quick.” – Carconnection


2018 Nissan Versa Engine
2018 Nissan Versa Engine

The Versa gets a 1.6L inline-4 engine developing 109 hp and 107 lb-ft of torque. The power output is adequate for most people and freeway overtakes can be executed with little planning. In the base Versa S, the engine is mated to a 5-speed manual.

“The only engine available in the front-wheel-drive 2018 Nissan Versa sedan is a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder with 109 horsepower. That’s not a lot of power, but the Versa’s not a lot of car, either.” – Kelley Blue Book

Models Nissan Versa (S) Toyota Yaris iA (Manual) Chevrolet Sonic (LS Manual) Mitsubishi Mirage G4 (ES)
MSRP $12,110 $15,950 $16,170 $15,395
Engine HR16DE 1.6-liter DOHC 16-valve 4-cylinder engine 1.5-Liter 4-Cylinder DOHC 16-Valve (VVT-i) engine ECOTEC 1.8-Liter 4-cylinder engine 1.2-Liter MIVEC DOHC, 12-Valve Inline 3-cylinder


Transmission 5-speed manual 6-speed maunal 5-speed manual 5-speed manual
Power 109 hp 106 hp 138 hp 78 hp
Torque 107 lb-ft 103 lb-ft 125 lb-ft 74 lb-ft

However, the manual transmission slaps a significant fuel efficiency penalty and does little to impart fun on a commute. The optional CVT is effortless and produces excellent fuel economy too. But again, the CVT comes at a cost and robs the value proposition of the Versa.


The Versa is built to a price and 0-60 mph figures are the last thing Nissan engineers care about in the Versa. That said, the Versa 0-69 mph time of 10 seconds is not especially bad among the compact cars here. The fastest car compared here is the Toyota Yaris iA and it can do 0-60 mph in 8.7 seconds.

“Sprinting up to 60 mph takes more than 11 seconds from a stop, which is fairly slow, but highway passes proved to be particularly onerous for the overmatched engine.” – Carconnection

Models Nissan Versa (S) Toyota Yaris iA (Manual) Chevrolet Sonic (LS Manual) Mitsubishi Mirage G4 (ES)
0-60 MPH 10 sec 8.7 sec 9.7 sec 12.8 sec
Quarter mile 17.6 sec @ 79.2 mph 17.1 sec @ 86.4 mph 16.7 sec @ 83.8 mph 17.8 sec @ 78 mph
Engine 1.6L 1.5L 1.8L 1.2L

(Tons/yr of CO2 Emissions @ 15K mi/year)

5.9 5.2 6.1 5.0

Ride and Handling

Nissan Versa has one thing that impresses in ride and handling department – the cushy suspension. The soft suspension tuning helps the Versa to absorb road imperfection with aplomb and gives the occupants in the large cabin a pleasant ride.

Unfortunately, the soft suspension eliminates any scope of driving enjoyment. There is a steamship body roll through corners and the steering never inspires any confidence at high speeds. However, within city, the light steering and tight turning radius make the car pleasantly manageable.

“It’s comfortable, quiet for its class, and it feels substantial going down the road. No, it’s not going to pamper you like a new Mercedes or thrill you like a supercar, but the Versa is agile and its little 4-cylinder engine has just enough power to move the little sedan with zip.” – Kelley Blue Book


Like every other bit, the brakes of the Versa are built to a price. The Versa gets basic drum brakes on the rear wheels and the pedal response does not inspire much confidence. Still, the Versa can stop from 60 mph in a respectable 129 feet.

Model Nissan Versa (S) Toyota Yaris iA (Manual) Chevrolet Sonic (LS Manual) Mitsubishi Mirage G4 (ES)
Brake Front(in) 10.0 10.2 10.8 9.0
Brake Rear(in) 8.0 7.9 9.0 7.0
Curb Weight(lbs.) 2404 2385 2773 3053
60-0 MPH (ft.) 129 N/A 124 119

2018 Nissan Versa Fuel Efficiency

The base Nissan Versa with the 5-speed manual delivers 27 mpg in city and 36 mpg on highway. These numbers will be respectable in larger cars but among subcompact cars, it’s disappointing. While a CVT delivering truly impressive 31 mpg in city and 39 mpg on highway is available, it’s significantly more costly.

“Base sedans offer a 5-speed manual transmission that helps cut costs at the dealership, but not necessarily at the pump. Sedans equipped with a manual are rated by the EPA at 27/36/30 mpg, which is a fairly significant drop from the more popular CVT models.” – Carconnection

Model Nissan Versa (S) Toyota Yaris iA (Manual) Chevrolet Sonic (LS Manual) Mitsubishi Mirage G4 (ES)
MPG (City) 27 30 26 33
MPG (Highway) 36 39 35 40
MPG (Combined) 30 34 29 35

2018 Nissan Versa Exterior

The Nissan Versa still wears the old Nissan design theme and does not get the modern Nissan V-motion design language. That means the Versa draws inspiration from old 2015 Nissan Sentra rather than the current 2018 Nissan Sentra. The Versa looks and is considerably larger than other subcompacts at 175.4 inches.

2018 Nissan Versa Rear Quarter
2018 Nissan Versa Rear Quarter

Moreover, large rear doors ensure getting in and out is easy and installing child-seat won’t be a chore either. While all the lower trims get black door handles, the Sentra SV and SV special edition sports chrome finish door handle. Versa SV special edition is also the only Versa to get fog lamps.

“From some angles it’s easy to confuse the 2018 Nissan Versa with the larger and more expensive Nissan Sentra” – Kelley Blue Book

Model Nissan Versa (S) Toyota Yaris iA (Manual) Chevrolet Sonic (LS Manual) Mitsubishi Mirage G4 (ES)
Curb weight(lbs.) 2404 2385 2773 3053
Length(in) 175.4 171.7 173.9 169.5
Width(in) 66.7 66.7 68.3 65.7
Height(in) 59.6 58.5 59.7 59.2
Ground clearance(in) 6.3 5.5 5.0 6.3
Wheel base(in) 102.4 101.2 99.4 100.4
Track width(in) F/R 58.3/58.5 58.9/58.5 59.4/59.4 56.9/56.3


Except for the top-end 2018 Nissan Versa SV Special Edition, all other trims of the Versa get 15-inch steel wheel as standard. The 15-inch alloys are available in the Versa SV bundled in the optional Special Edition package ($500).

Model Nissan Versa (S) Toyota Yaris iA (Manual) Chevrolet Sonic (LS Manual) Mitsubishi Mirage G4 (ES)
Size F/R (in.) 15*5.5/15*5.5 16*5.5/16*5.5 15*5.5/15*5.5 14*4.5/14*4.5
Quality Steel Aluminum Steel Steel
Wheel type w/o Alloy Alloy w/o Alloy w/o Alloy

2018 Nissan Versa Interior

The Nissan Versa interior has one thing in abundance – space. However, the Versa is built to a price and hence compromises are obvious in terms of build quality. Also, basic equipment like the power window and split rear seats are only available in the top Versa SV trim. That said, the cabin is surprisingly silent and that combine with the spaciousness and cushy suspension to give you a comfortable experience.

Seating and Comfort

2018 Nissan Versa Interior
2018 Nissan Versa Interior

The Versa boasts one of the most spacious interiors among subcompact cars. While the front seats match the competition in terms of legroom and headroom, the rear seats beat them outright with a massive 37-inch legroom. This means two 6-footers can comfortably seat behind one another.

“Nissan Versa is meant to be comfortable for wallets. That it’s also comfortable for rear-seat passengers is a pleasant surprise.” – Carconnection

Model Nissan Versa (S) Toyota Yaris iA (Manual) Chevrolet Sonic (LS Manual) Mitsubishi Mirage G4 (ES)
Passenger capacity 5 5 5 5
Passenger Volume(ft. cube) 90.2 85.9 90.3 89.5
Front (Head/Shoulder/Leg)



39.8/51.7/41.8 38.2/53.1/41.9 38.7/53.4/41.8 39.1/51.7/41.7
Second (Head/Shoulder/Leg)



36.6/51.9/37.0 36.8/50.0/34.4 37.8/53.0/34.6 36.9/51.2/37.2

However, the height adjustable driver’s seat is only available in the top Versa SV trim. Steering wheel does not telescope either making finding a good driving position difficult. The Cruise control is available from Sentra S Plus onwards.

“The Versa has a big back seat and it’s easy to see out of, but that’s about all that’s good. The driving position suffers from lack of standard height adjustability and steering-wheel telescoping. Visibility is expansive. The quality of interior materials is subpar.” – Edmunds

Cargo Capacity

2018 Nissan Versa Trunk
2018 Nissan Versa Trunk

Along with the spacious rear seats, the Versa also has one of the largest trunk among subcompact cars at 14.9 cubic feet. While the available 60/40 split rear seats offer great flexibility, it’s only available in the pricey Versa SV trim reducing its appeal.

“Its 14.9-cubic-foot trunk challenges those of midsize sedans for space. It’s enormous for a subcompact sedan. A folding rear seatback is found only in the SV.” – Edmunds

Model Nissan Versa (S) Toyota Yaris iA (Manual) Chevrolet Sonic (LS Manual) Mitsubishi Mirage G4 (ES)
Volume (ft. cube) 14.9 13.49 14.9 12.3

Infotainment System

The 2018 Nissan Versa has a generation old push button stereo as standard that will surely disappoint the geek within you but if you value simplicity, it’s for you. If you want the available 5-inch touchscreen infotainment system, you have the get the Versa SV with special edition package ($500) taking the total price to $17,225. Bluetooth streaming is standard across the lineup.

“Our SV test car featured the standard push-button audio system. Simple and easy to use, the system suffers from a small screen that’s difficult to read at a glance.” – Car and Driver

2018 Nissan Versa Safety Ratings and Reliability

The 2018 Nissan Versa is one of the rare cars that do not provide any driver assistance systems. Although the Versa has demerits, it does come with a peace-of-mind of new car warranty
(3-years/36,000 miles) for a used car price.

Nissan Advanced Air Bag System with supplemental front airbags with seat-belt and occupant-classification sensors
Driver and front-passenger seat-mounted side-impact supplemental air bags
Zone Body construction with front and rear crumple zones
Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) with Traction Control System (TCS)
Airbags, dual-stage, frontal, driver and right-front passenger includes Passenger Sensing System
Door locks, rear child security
LATCH system (Lower Anchors and Top tethers for Children), for child safety seats
Pipe-style steel side-door guard beams
Tire Pressure Monitoring System

The 2018 Nissan Versa has got 4-star rating from NHTSA.

Overall Rating 4 star
Overall Frontal Barrier Crash Rating 4 star
Frontal Barrier Crash Rating Driver 4 star
Frontal Barrier Crash Rating Passenger 3 star
Overall Side Crash Rating 4 star
Side Barrier Rating 4 star
Side Barrier Rating Driver 4 star
Side Barrier Rating Passenger Rear Seat 4 star
Side Pole Rating Driver Front Seat 4 star
Combined Side Rating Front Seat 4 star
Combined Side Rating Rear Seat 4 star
Rollover Rating 4 star

The IIHS has given the 2018 Nissan Versa “poor” rating for small overlap front driver side crash test. However, it performed well in other crash criteria.

Small overlap front driver side Poor
Small overlap front passenger side N/A
Moderate overlap front Good
Side Good
Roof strength Good
Head restraints & seats Good

2018 Nissan Versa Competition Check

Toyota Yaris iA

Toyota Yaris iA is essentially a rebadged Mazda and owing to that, it will entertain you on commute and has superbly built interiors that looks far more upscale than the Versa. However, Yaris iA has tight rear seats and its trunk is also not as spacious as the Versa. More importantly, the Yaris iA brings more quality and driving engagement for a price while Versa offers low cost of ownership.

Chevy Sonic

The Chevy Sonic may be a subcompact car but is equipped as well as more expensive compact cars including features like Wi-Fi hotspot – if you are ready to spend. Sonic also comes with optional turbocharged engine. Inside, it’s spacious and packs a large boot too. However, all these come at a price significantly higher than the Versa.

Mitsubishi Mirage G4

With 40 mpg in city and 43 on highway, the mirage is the most efficient non-hybrid car. However, with just 78 hp, it’s also one of the slowest. Add harsh ride and noisy transmission to the mix and you have a car that’s hard to recommend. The exceptional warranty does brighten things but Versa is a better choice for the price.

2018 Nissan Versa Final Verdict

Despite being the most affordable car currently on sale, the Nissan Versa offers exceptionally roomy interior and trunk. This combine with cushioned suspension and excellent sound deadening to make the Versa a truly comfortable family car. However, the efficient CVT should have been available at a lower price (if that’s possible at all with current technology).

Also, you have to deal with subpar build quality and this Nissan has no excitement on offer either. You do have the option of getting a better equipped used car at this price. However, if the uncertainties of owning a used car make you anxious, the Nissan Versa has the unmatched peace-of-mind of a new car with a new car warranty.

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