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Best & Worst Years of Nissan Versa – Graphs & Owner Surveys

The best years of the Nissan Versa are 2019-2020, 2016, 2013-2014, 2008, and 2010-2011. The years you should absolutely avoid are 2007, 2009, 2012, 2015, and 2017-2018. Most issues are related to a malfunctioning Mass Air Flow (MAF) sensor or a worn-out catalytic converter.

Motor car Nissan Versa in the city street.

As the subcompact car segment dwindles, the Nissan Versa stands tall. Well, the latest model isn’t as tall as the earlier generations were. Still, nonetheless, the Versa has maintained its position as an ultra-low-cost option for those needing basic transportation. 

Introduced in 2007, the Versa has historically delivered top-shelf fuel economy from a tiny engine with a relatively basic level of amenities. Today, we’re looking back at that history, 14 years of FIXD data to be exact, to determine the best and worst model years of the Nissan Versa. 

Best Years



Impressive reliability with all-new 3rd-gen Versa

>> See 2019-2020 Nissan Versa for sale


Perfect FIXD Reliability Score, solid fuel economy

>> See 2016 Nissan Versa for sale


Notable improvements in reliability, safety, and fuel efficiency

>> See 2013-2014 Nissan Versa for sale


6-point jump in FIXD Reliability Score

>> See 2008 Nissan Versa for sale


Big market value increase, aligned reliability scores

>> See 2010-2011 Nissan Versa for sale

Worst Years



Reliability trouble with 1st-gen debut

>> See 2007 Nissan Versa for sale


New powertrain problems, terrible market value

>> See 2009 Nissan Versa for sale


2nd-gen launch issues, high recall count

>> See 2012 Nissan Versa for sale


Reliability and fuel economy down, low safety rating

>> See 2015 Nissan Versa for sale


Steady decline in FIXD Reliability Score

>> See 2017-2018 Nissan Versa for sale

Nissan Versa Engine Reliability Score, Safety Ratings, MPG, and Value v.s. Maintenance & Repair Costs Year by Year

The first chart below, the Nissan Versa Reliability Score, is essential to our best and worst model year rankings. It combines objective FIXD device data with subjective owner-reported information. 

It’s not unusual for the first year of a new generation – like 2007 and 2012 – to struggle with reliability as production kinks are worked out, which is reflected in the chart. This theme plays out across the industry, including with competitors like the Ford Fiesta and Chevy Sonic.

From there, we blend in published government safety scores from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and fuel efficiency figures per fueleconomy.gov

We also incorporate market values from Kelley Blue Book (KBB) against owner-reported annual maintenance costs. That goes into the ranking decision along with owner survey answers and pertinent safety recalls. Lastly, we can create the final rankings below with details on common Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs). 

If you’re in the market for a car, take a look at our article on the USA’s most reliable and cheapest to repair cars in the U.S. Don’t get stuck with a lemon, use our data to help you shop.

Engine Reliability Score – Over The Years

Nissan Versa Engine Reliability Score

Looking at the chart above, the FIXD Reliability score (green line on the Nissan Versa Reliability chart) is based on the number of CELs thrown by each model year. After tallying them up, we weight this objective score by mileage and convert it into a 1-10 scale where 10 is the best and 1 is the worst. 

By asking Versa owners, “How reliable would you say your car is?” we can pull together a subjective reliability score for comparison. This multiple-choice question offers answers from “Just Point A to Point B driving” to “I could take a cross-country trip, no problem.” After converting the response into a 1-10 scale, we create the Owner Reliability Score (gray line) on the chart above.

The graph shows that the objective and subjective reliability scores generally move in the same direction. But occasionally, like in 2007, the scores have dramatically different values in what is typically a data-driven rebuttal of long-time owners’ positive sentiment. We’ll explain this in the relevant section below, but it helps illustrate the importance of analyzing both data sets. 

You can find out more about our reliability scoring process at the bottom of this article and learn about some of the most common CELs to expect from Nissan.

NHTSA Safety Score – Over The Years

Nissan Versa NHTSA Safety Rating

An unfortunate reality of the Nissan Versa is that it mainly falls below the industry on safety ratings. That is illustrated on the chart above, where the green line represents Versa safety each year – averaging all available trim levels per published NHTSA data – and the gray line represents the auto industry. 

In 2011, the NHTSA instituted a new, more stringent crash-test protocol that drove a decline in safety scores industry-wide. But the Versa took a severe dive that year and was slow to catch back up. 

This relatively poor safety performance cannot be simply chalked up to subcompact cars being less safe due to small size, as the Chevy Sonic has exceeded the industry on safety scores since 2013. The 2020 Versa does move up strongly for this metric, which is part of the reason we include it in our “best of” rankings.

These safety ratings are essential in obtaining cheap auto insurance, another reason we recommend the 2020 Versa. If you live in one of the states listed below, we can show you the cheapest vehicles to insure in yours. 

What Used Cars Are the Cheapest To Insure In:
North Carolina
New York

MPG – Over The Years

Nissan Versa Average MPG

Unlike safety, the Nissan Versa has always been a strong performer regarding fuel efficiency, as seen on the chart above. The green line is based on the average combined fuel economy figures – from fueleconomy.gov – across all trims of each model year Versa.

As is typical with a vehicle in production for this long, the Nissan Versa’s fuel economy improves over time as technology enables higher levels of powertrain efficiency. This is most notable in 2013 when Nissan offered a setup of low rolling resistance tires, air deflectors, and a rear spoiler to help stretch a gallon of gas.

Current Market Value of All Nissan Versa Years & Cost Per Year to Repair and Maintain Each

Nissan Versa Market Value vs Cost of Repairs

This chart plots current Nissan Versa market values from KBB against average annual maintenance costs per owner surveys. It’s a valuable data set illustrating why some model years are best avoided. For example, market values posted a notable decline in 2009, which is one of the reasons we don’t recommend these Versas. 

When shopping for a used Nissan Versa, it’s important to keep in mind that not all vehicles are cared for equally. To protect yourself from lemons, take along a FIXD Sensor on your test drive. FIXD connects to a free app on your smartphone to tell you more about the vehicle you’re checking out, including check engine lights and other hidden issues that the owner or dealership may be attempting to hide. Click here to learn more and get FIXD for only $19.99 (regular price $59)!

Important Features Timeline

Nissan Versa's Timeline of Important Features

2007 – First-gen Versa debuts with 122-horse 1.8L inline-4 and choice of sedan or hatchback body

2008 – Cruise control added to options list for S models

2009 – 1.6L inline-4 fitted to base model with 107 horsepower

2010 – Optional navigation system for SL trim

2011 – Anti-lock brakes made lineup-standard

2012 – Second-gen Versa arrives with revised 1.6L powertrain, 1.8L motor discontinued

2013 – Newly optional backup camera and high-efficiency model added to lineup

2014 – Hatchback model renamed Versa Note

2015 – Mid-cycle refresh brings facelift, standard Bluetooth, and upgraded cabin materials

2016 – Standard speaker count jumps from 2 to 4

2017 – 4-speed automatic discontinued leaving CVT and 5-speed manual options

2018 – 7-inch touchscreen, backup camera, USB port, and Siri Eyes Free made standard mid-year

2019 – Apple CarPlay and Android Auto become optional 

2020 – Third-gen Versa introduced with Nissan SafetyShield driver aids and more high-tech options

2021 – Carryover model year

2022 – No significant changes but manual transmission still available 

The Best Years of the Nissan Versa

Motor car Nissan Versa in the city street.

Taking into account FIXD and Owner reliability, government safety scores, fuel efficiency, and Versa owner survey responses, we’ve come up with this list of the best Nissan Versas. Pertinent recall information and notes about common DTCs are included as well.

2019 Motor car Nissan Versa in the city street.

FIXD App Engine Reliability: 10/10

Owner-Reported Reliability: 7-10/10

KBB Value: $8,534-$10,349

Fuel Economy: 32-33 mpg

Annual Maintenance/Repair: $250-$750

Safety Rating: 4.0-4.6/5

It’s not unusual for the most recent model years of any vehicle to top our rankings as “best of the best” and the 2019-2020 Nissan Versa fits that mold. Helped by average odometer readings at or below 75,000 miles and only being a few years old, these Versas both rate a perfect 10/10 for the FIXD Reliability Score.

For 2020, the Owner Reliability Score hits that high mark as well, making it the only year both reliability categories align at 10. It’s all the more impressive given that 2020 marked the start of the third generation Versa, which had a revised powertrain. This is an occasion often fraught with gremlins that cause reliability issues as an automaker works out the kinks, so kudos to Nissan for nailing the launch. 

Additionally, the 2019 Versa posted a notably improved safety score over the prior year, and in 2020, the Versa scored higher than the industry on safety for the first time ever. This was no doubt helped by Nissan making its suite of advanced driver aids, including forward collision mitigation and a lane-departure warning, standard that year. 

Fuel efficiency also increased steadily year-over-year during this stretch, averaging an all-time high of 33 mpg combined. Maintenance costs are slightly higher than average in 2019 but come back down for the 2020 Versa to an all-time low point. 

And though Kelley Blue Book values are flat into 2019, this metric moves up strongly in 2020. On that front, the 2019 Versa is an excellent value for those in the market. Reliability is high, these models average just 65,000 miles, and KBB pegs pricing around $8,500.

Nissan brought its well-regarded Zero Gravity seats to the Versa with the all-new 2020 model and customers appreciated it, as 25% of 2020 owners say the seats are comfortable. This is quite a bit higher than the 13% average for this metric. 

Owners of the 2019 model use their Versa as an office on wheels at a rate three times higher than average. This coincides with features like an infotainment touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a USB port becoming more widely available between 2018 and 2019. 

When problems do arise, one of the most commonly encountered is related to DTC P0705. It is triggered when the vehicle cannot detect what gear the transmission is in. If the car can’t verify that the transmission is in Park or Neutral, it won’t start. 

DTC P0101 is another frequent cause of CELs on these late-model Versas, indicating an issue with the Mass Air Flow (MAF) sensor. Expect to pay between $170 and $300 to have this repaired by a mechanic. 

If DTC P0420 lights up, it’s time to replace the catalytic converter. This can run as high as $2,000 at a shop, so consult our DTC P0420 DIY guide if you want to save money and handle the work yourself. 

Further burnishing the reliability of these Versas is the low recall count. There was just 1 issued for the 2019 model due to a malfunctioning backup camera display image. Of the 2 recalls in 2020, the most significant was for front turn signal bulbs not illuminating, affecting about 31,000 vehicles. 

Any Nissan dealership should repair recall-related work free of charge on a Nissan vehicle up to 15 years old. You can use this NHTSA VIN tool to determine if your Versa has any outstanding recalls. 


Nissan Tsuru on the left and  2016 Nissan Versa on the right, taxi vehicles at a busy city street


FIXD App Engine Reliability: 10/10

Owner-Reported Reliability: 8/10

KBB Value: $5,203

Fuel Economy: 31 mpg

Annual Maintenance/Repair: $944

Safety Rating: 3.8/5 

The 2016 Nissan Versa is the only model year, aside from 2019 and 2020, that posted a perfect 10/10 FIXD Reliability Score. It was a 3-point increase over 2015, and the Owner Reliability Score remained steady at 8/10. Those figures and an average fuel economy of 31 mpg help the 2016 Versa earn a spot on our list of best model years. 

That strong fuel efficiency may play a part in the 60% of owners who report using their Versa primarily for long drives. Certainly, the well-liked seat comfort, per 2016 owner surveys, helps on this front. 

Market values do nose down slightly this year, and annual maintenance costs push higher, but safety scores also slightly improved for 2016. The 2016 Versa is the only model between 2007 and 2020 to have 0 recalls from the NHTSA.

DTC P0420 and P0101 are common causes of Check Engine Lights on all Nissan Versas and show up on the 2016 model with the most frequency. P0420 can lead to a pricey catalytic converter replacement, as discussed in this DTC P0420 explainer video. P0101 usually means the MAF sensor is on its way out, a repair that shouldn’t cost more than $300.

If you see DTC P0171, it means that cylinder bank 1 is either receiving too much air or insufficient fuel, a problem normally rectified with a new fuel pump. We dive into this $450-$500 repair job with our DTC P0171 explainer video.

2014 Motor car Nissan Versa in the city street.

FIXD App Engine Reliability: 8/10

Owner-Reported Reliability: 6-7/10

KBB Value: $3,392-$4,676

Fuel Economy: 32 mpg

Annual Maintenance/Repair: $750-$1,250

Safety Rating: 3.6/5 

For the 2013 Versa, Nissan offered a new fuel economy package on CVT-equipped models. It included low rolling-resistance tires, a revised air intake tract, a rear spoiler, and special air deflectors to achieve 40 mpg on the highway. It boosted the average fuel economy for that year to 32 mpg and is part of the reason we give these Versas a thumbs-up. 

Additionally, the FIXD Reliability Score stepped up 2 points from 2012, the Owner Reliability Score began a steady upward trajectory after dipping in 2013, and the safety rating moved up from 3/5 in 2012 to 3.6/5 in 2013, where it remained for the next few years. 

Market values and annual repair bill tallies were up and down over this period, but in both cases, the trend line began moving in the right direction by 2014.

The 2013 Versa earns some of the highest praise for outward driver visibility, with 33% of owners noting they approve. And 17% of these owners think the entertainment system is easy to use versus the average of just 6% of owners who feel this way across all model years. Both of these metrics correlate to the all-new second-gen Versa that arrived the year before with an airier cabin and newly optional touchscreen infotainment interface. 

Once again, problems with the MAF sensor, indicated by DTC P0101, and the catalytic converter, indicated by DTC P0420, were a couple of the most frequently seen trouble codes on these 10-year-old Versas. 

If the MAF sensor needs to be replaced, expect to pay between $170 and $300 at a shop. For you DIYers out there, our DTC P0420 guide walks through how to diagnose and fix a catalytic converter on the fritz, which is worth considering as a shop will likely charge between $1,500 and $2,000 to do it for you.

DTC P0705 is triggered when the Transmission Control Module (TCM) cannot determine what gear the transmission is in. Another common cause of CELs on the 2013 and 2014 Versa is a problem if the TCM can’t verify when you’re in Park or Neutral, as it will cause the car not to start. 

There was just 1 recall on the 2013 Versa for a lower center console trim panel coming undone and interfering with pedal operation, impacting about 299,000 vehicles. Of the 4 recalls for the 2014 Versa, an engine start/stop button sticking issue was the most significant, as it affected 14,000 vehicles. 

the logo of the Japanese automobile company NISSAN on the boot lid

FIXD App Engine Reliability: 7/10

Owner-Reported Reliability: 9/10

KBB Value: $2,661

Fuel Economy: 28 mpg

Annual Maintenance/Repair: $625

Safety Rating: 4.0/5

One year after Nissan introduced the Versa, the 2008 model year saw a dramatic 6-point increase in the FIXD Reliability Score. The owner-reported score was also high this year, and the fuel economy is a respectable 28 mpg on average. 

There’s nothing obvious to explain why, but the safety score dropped from 2007 into 2008, though the 4/5 rating is relatively good. Annual maintenance costs tick just past the $596 average for these Versas, but considering the 15-year age and average of 162,000 miles, that’s not too shabby. The same can be said for the roughly 1 day per year owners report their Versas spend in the shop. 

Anyone who appreciates the simplicity of older vehicles will surely agree with the relatively high percentage of owners of 2008 Versas who think the entertainment system is easy to use. Simple buttons, a small digital readout, and maybe a CD player were the extent of it. No touchscreens here, thank you very much. 

The other side of that coin is that a far larger group of owners think the stereo is the pits, which is unsurprising as the four standard speakers are likely quite worn out. As for primary usage, owners are evenly split on their 2008 Versas serving as family vehicles or road warriors. 

DTC P0420 is the most commonly seen code for these 2008 Versas, triggered by a malfunctioning catalytic converter. If you see DTC P2A00, it may be time for a new oxygen (O2) sensor, a job we cover with this O2 sensor replacement article.  

DTC P0171 is another common CEL cause that typically results in replacing the fuel pump. This particular DTC correlates with the 2008 Versa having a 17% chance – 4 times higher than average – of an expensive repair related to the fuel system.

Of the 8 recalls the NHTSA issued for the 2008 Nissan Versa, 6 of them were airbag-related, as these model years were caught up in the Takata airbag mess that impacted millions of cars across the auto industry. 

2010 Nissan Versa at the street, aerial view
This AI-generated image may not accurately represent all aspects of the intended subjects whether a person or object.


FIXD App Engine Reliability: 7-8/10

Owner-Reported Reliability: 7-8/10

KBB Value: $2,959-$3,318

Fuel Economy: 28 mpg

Annual Maintenance/Repair: $550

Safety Rating: 2.6-4.0/5

The 2010 and 2011 Nissan Versa are at the bottom of our best model year rankings because reliability scores are high in both categories, but the safety score goes off the rails in 2011. Granted, this was the year that the NHTSA changed how they ran the test, which caused scores to drop across the industry, but the 2011 Versa fared exceptionally poorly. 

And though market values move up strongly into 2010 and annual repair costs come in below average for both years, the 2010 Versa has a 40% chance of an expensive repair being transmission-related – the highest of any year. So, potential buyers need to weigh solid reliability against the possibility of transmission work. 

In good news, about 30% of owners of both the 2010 and 2011 Versa expect their car to go past 200,000 miles, and a higher percentage than average say repairs are inexpensive. 

When those repairs arise, look to the usual suspects – a faulty catalytic converter or a fuel pump approaching the end of its useful life. The catalytic converter issue is indicated by DTC P0420, while DTC P0171 pops when it’s the fuel pump. A new catalytic converter can run as high as $2,000, and replacing the fuel pump costs between $450 and $600. 

DTC P0455 is triggered by a leak in the Evaporative Emission Control (EVAP) system. Frequently seen on these Versas, it is fortunately an issue often remedied by tightening the gas cap. 

There were 8 recalls on the 2010 Versa and 7 recalls on the 2011 model. For both years, 6 of those recalls are related to the Takata industry-wide airbag problem. 

The Worst Years of the Nissan Versa

2009 Nissan Versa parked diagonally at a small street

Working with the same information to determine the best Nissan Versas, we’ve compiled a list of model years to avoid. You can expect more issues with reliability, higher maintenance bills, and sometimes lower safety ratings with these poor-performing Versas. We are starting from the absolute worst and progressing to the “best of the worst”.

Taxi car  2007 Nissan Versa in the city street.

FIXD App Engine Reliability: 1/10

Owner-Reported Reliability: 9/10

KBB Value: $2,932

Fuel Economy: 28 mpg

Annual Maintenance/Repair: $250

Safety Rating: 4.4/5 

There’s no more sure-fire wire to land at the bottom of the model year rankings than with a score of 1 for the FIXD Reliability Score. This lowest possible figure is what the 2007 Nissan Versa comes in at, and even though the safety rating is solid and the owner-reported reliability is on the high side, it doesn’t outweigh the objectively poor reliability. 

The 8-point gap seen on the reliability chart at the top of this article between the FIXD and Owner Reliability Score is the most dramatic of any model year. It illustrates the importance of potential buyers weighing a data-driven metric against one calculated by owner sentiment. 

This data reveals that in 2007, 100% of Versa owners were confident their car could go at least 500 miles without a problem, with some feeling ready for a cross-country road trip. This information comes from survey questions posed to these owners to gauge how reliable they think their car is. It is then used to determine the Owner Reliability Score, which is 9/10 in this case.

To calculate the FIXD Reliability Score, we tally up the total number of diagnostic trouble codes (DTC) recorded by FIXD devices installed in customer’s cars for a given model year. The 2007 Versa DTC tally is 33% higher than average, which results in a FIXD Reliability Score of 1/10. 

It’s possible that owners, in this case, have owned their Versas for a long time and are no longer bothered when issues pop up, as it’s simply part of owning the car. Whatever the reasoning, these first-year Nissan Versas are not reliable, so potential buyers should be aware. 

Also, be aware that 50% of owners think the seats are uncomfortable and there’s not enough storage, which is more than twice the typical percentage for this metric. Interestingly, even though these Versas are over 15 years old, they average just 108,000 miles, which could mean they’re not driven all that much due to reliability concerns.

The most likely cause of a repair on the 2007 Versa is related to DTC P0420, which is triggered when the catalytic converter is malfunctioning. A shop will charge between $1,500 and $2,000 for a new catalytic converter, or you can consult our DTC P0420 guide and learn how to diagnose the issue on your own. 

DTC P2A00 shows up when the O2 sensor is operating outside its normal voltage range, which in layman’s terms, means it’s time for a new oxygen sensor. Fortunately, if you see DTC P0455 for a leak in the EVAP system, it can often be corrected by simply tightening the gas cap. 

That latter issue does correlate with the 2007 Versa having a four times higher-than-average chance of an expensive repair being related to the fuel system. So if the gas cap isn’t loose, you may be looking at a $500+ shop visit. 

There were 9 recalls issued on the 2007 Nissan Versa, with the majority airbag-related as these model years were part of the Takata debacle. There was also one for an issue with prematurely corroding coil springs that impacted some 218,000 vehicles. 

2009 Nissan Versa hatchback parked diagonally at a small street

FIXD App Engine Reliability: 4/10

Owner-Reported Reliability: 7/10

KBB Value: $1,346

Fuel Economy: 29 mpg

Annual Maintenance/Repair: $375

Safety Rating: 4.0/5 

Two years after the Versa debuted, Nissan added an additional 1.6L inline-4 powertrain offering to the lineup. It’s not unusual for reliability to suffer when powertrain changes are made, which is what happened with the 2009 Versa. The FIXD Reliability Score declined by 3 points, and the owner-reported score dropped by 2 points. 

Fuel efficiency does tick up by 1 mpg with the new, thriftier engine option, and annual maintenance costs are well below average, but take a look at the Value vs. Cost of Repair chart at the top of this article to see why owning a 2009 Verssa is a recipe for losing money. The KBB value fell by $1,300 this year, which is relatively huge. 

That aforementioned low-cost maintenance is noted by owners, with a relatively high percentage agreeing their car is cheap to repair. But only 7% of those same owners think their 2009 Versa will crack 200,000 miles, which doesn’t exactly paint a picture of optimism about reliability. To drive that point home, 33% don’t think their Versa will go 200,000 miles, which is more than two times higher than the typical percentage for this metric.  

One reason for the low repair bills is that two of the three most common causes of a CEL on the 2009 Versa is DTC P1421, which is triggered when the Engine Control Module detects a problem. Typically, it can be solved by tightening the gas cap. 

However, if DTC P0420 is behind the CEL, get out your checkbook. This code means it’s probably time for a new catalytic converter, a job that can cost up to $2,000 at a shop.

As with the 2007 model, the majority of the 8 recalls for the 2009 Versa are related to the Takata airbag problem, while one particularly concerning recall is for corroded coil springs that affected over 200,000 vehicles. 

Nissan brand logo on a red car background, emblem, symbol close-up

FIXD App Engine Reliability: 6/10

Owner-Reported Reliability: 7/10

KBB Value: $3,385

Fuel Economy: 30 mpg

Annual Maintenance/Repair: $765

Safety Rating: 3.0/5

Another example of issues with revised powertrains is the 2012 Nissan Versa, a model that marked the launch of the second-generation Versa. The previous 1.8L engine and 4-speed automatic were both discontinued, which reduced overall powertrain complexity for the Versa lineup. But updates to the 1.6L unit still managed to put a dent in reliability.

Both the objective FIXD and subjective Owner Reliability Scores posted declines for 2012, annual maintenance moved higher, market values are flat, and the safety score – though up marginally versus 2011 – was still abysmal at just 3 out of 5. In good news, fuel economy increased by 2 mpg on average, thanks in part to the second-generation Versa weighing less than the prior model, an unusual occurrence. 

Something worth noting for anyone who likes music is that Nissan applied its cost-cutting sword with prejudice to the stereo system in 2012. Normally, a new model brings with it the latest and greatest technology and audio equipment. Instead, the Versa saw the standard speaker count drop from 4 in 2011 to just 2 in 2012. 

And while 2011 owners could enjoy the sound coming from up to 6 speakers, the max count dropped to 4 in 2012. Clearly, a method to keep the Versa’s reputation for being one of the cheapest new cars on the block alive, owners noticed, with 19% saying the sound system stinks and 14% noting the entertainment system as a whole doesn’t work very well. 

Over at the service department, look out for DTC P0420, which is one of the most common pain points on nearly every model year Versa. It’s triggered when the catalytic converter is gasping on the exhaust fumes it’s responsible for managing and will likely lead to a $2,000 bill for a new one. Our DTC P0420 DIY guide is worth consulting to save some money on a new catalytic converter

If the TCM is having trouble figuring out what gear the transmission is in, expect to see DTC P0705. This problem with a transmission sensor can lead to the engine not starting if the system cannot verify the car is in Park or Neutral. If the gas cap is loose, you may encounter DTC P0455, which is usually fixed by tightening that cap. 

The prevalence of DTC P0705 correlates with the 2012 Versa having a relatively high chance – 11% – of an expensive repair being transmission-related. It also aligns with a recall that year for the transmission unexpectedly shifting into gear without the brake pedal being depressed. 

It is one of 11 recalls issued for the 2012 Nissan Versa, a year that also saw 7 investigations by the NHTSA. Both of these figures are very high, which is another reason we don’t recommend buying this car.

2015 Nissan Versa Note on display at a showroom

FIXD App Engine Reliability: 7/10

Owner-Reported Reliability: 8/10

KBB Value: $5,507

Fuel Economy: 31 mpg

Annual Maintenance/Repair: $558

Safety Rating: 3.6/5

There’s no obvious reason why the 2015 Nissan Versa posted a decline in the FIXD Reliability Score and fuel economy. But it did, and combined with the relatively poor safety rating, it is enough to land the 2015 Versa on our “worst of” model year rankings. 

Below-average annual repair costs are cited by 2015 Versa owners as a positive, but 26% of them are pessimistic about the audio system—no surprise as these models continued to come standard with just 2 stereo speakers. Audiophiles would shudder in horror at the tinny noise coming out of those cheap cardboard-coned components. 

But on the infotainment side of things, these Versas were offered with a 5.8” central touchscreen, voice recognition, built-in navigation, NissanConnect with mobile apps, and SiriusXM satellite radio with live traffic data. It correlates with 5% of 2015 owners using their Versa primarily as an office on wheels. That may not sound like much, but it is higher than average for this metric. 

The most commonly tallied DTCs for the 2015 Versa are P0101, P0456, and P0705. DTC P0101 is related to a problem with the MAF sensor, which can lead to a repair bill in the range of $170 to $300. If DTC P0456 shows up, it means there is a small leak in the EVAP system. Before going to the shop for this one, check for a loose gas cap. 

DTC P0705 is triggered when there is an issue with the transmission range sensor circuit, which means the system can’t figure out the current transmission gear. If that system can’t verify the car is in Park or Neutral, it will prevent the engine from starting. 

Only 1 recall was issued for the 2015 Nissan Versa. It has to do with a lower trim panel on the center console coming loose and potentially interfering with pedal operation. Nearly 300,000 vehicles were affected. 

2017 Nissan Versa against a white background
This AI-generated image may not accurately represent all aspects of the intended subjects whether a person or object.


FIXD App Engine Reliability: 8-9/10

Owner-Reported Reliability: 8-9/10

KBB Value: $6,878-$8,283

Fuel Economy: 31 mpg

Annual Maintenance/Repair: $417-$650

Safety Rating: 3.7-3.8/5

This spot on our ranking of best and worst Versa model years is defined as the “best of the worst”. It’s an okay place to be, but not great. The 2017 and 2018 Nissan Versas land here because of a troubling decline in the FIXD Reliability Score. That figure was a perfect 10 in 2016 but slipped to 9 in 2017 and 8 in 2018. Though still relatively high, it’s not the kind of trend you want to see when it comes to reliability. 

As well, the Owner Reliability Score during and around this period is up and down, and safety ratings are unimpressive. Yes, the average safety score improved by 0.2 points in 2018, but the overall score stayed under 4 in both years and was well below the industry average. 

Being the best of the worst means there are bright points for the 2017-2018 Versa, like an average fuel efficiency of 31 mpg, KBB values that move up with authority, and annual maintenance costs that move down. 

Plus, owners have nice things to say about seat comfort, and an above-average contingent of them expect their Versa to go more than 200,000 miles even though the odometers average 75,000 miles or less. But man, the stereo cannot get a break, with 40% of 2017 owners saying it’s “trash”.

The catalytic converter is the most likely cause of CEL pain on these Versas, as evidenced by the frequency of DTC P0420. We dive into the details of this problem in our DTC P0420 explainer video but expect a bill between $1,500 and $2,000 to have a new catalytic converter installed.

DTC P0101 is another common cause of CELs on the 2017 and 2018 Versa. It’s triggered by a malfunctioning MAF sensor, and if a new one is needed, except to pay between $170 and $300 at a shop. If an O2 sensor starts acting up, you may see DTC P2096. A new oxygen sensor should cost you $300 or less to have a mechanic fix it for you, or you can read our article on how to replace the O2 sensor yourself. 

The 2017 Nissan Versa has 3 recalls, while the 2018 model only saw 2 recalls. An issue with the ignition switch unexpectedly turning off was the most significant for both model years, impacting about 153,000 vehicles.


Watch out for engine problems on the 2017 Nissan Versa, as there is a 25% likelihood of an expensive ($500 or more) repair being engine-related. It’s one of the reasons we don’t recommend these model-year Versas.

As for transmission trouble, the 2010 Versa has a 40% chance of an expensive day at the shop being transmission-related. So although the overall reliability of these Versas is high, be sure to stay on top of automatic transmission service intervals with these model years.

According to customer data that covers 14 model years of the Nissan Versa, the average odometer reading for these subcompacts is 118,000 miles. The 2008 models have the highest average reading of 162,500 miles, and the 2011 Versa is the only other model that averages more than 150,000 miles.

With that said, 112,500 miles could be considered high mileage for a Nissan Versa. That should give you 50,000 miles of wiggle room on the powertrain’s usable life before it calls it quits. Remember that the model year Versa you buy may impact whether you can afford to drive those extra miles as you could spend more money on repairs than you saved buying a high-mileage Versa.

The subcompact car segment has dwindled of late, but some good used alternatives to the Nissan Versa include the Ford Fiesta, Chevy Sonic, Toyota Prius C, Mitsubishi Mirage, and Hyundai Accent. If you need something a bit larger, check out the Nissan Sentra, Honda Civic, or Toyota Corolla.

What owners of the Nissan Versa like to use their car for:

Frequent Use Categories: How Useful? (Out of 5 Stars)
Family Vehicle *****
Lots of Driving (travel/long commute) *****
Hauling/Towing *
Office on Wheels *
Sport/Fast Driving *
Luxurious Driving *
Outdoor/Off-Road *

A Note About Data and Information Sources

This article has many details about the Nissan Versa’s reliability; here’s what we used for our assumptions and recommendations.

  • FIXD Reliability Score & Data: Engine reliability information is captured via the FIXD App

The FIXD Reliability Score is calculated using the number of DTCs per year, weighted by mileage. This is then turned into a scale of 1-10 for easy graphing. 

This is an objective score.

  • Owner Reliability Score & Data: This data is the result of surveying Nissan Versa owners who use FIXD. 

The Owner Reliability Score comes straight from owners of the Nissan Versa.  

This is a subjective score.

To determine the Owner Reliability Score we ask each car owner:

How reliable would you say your Nissan Versa is?

a. Just point A to point B driving

b. A Daily Commuter

c. Good for a 100-mile road trip

d. Good for a 500-mile road trip

e. I could take a cross-country road trip, no problem

From here we translate their answers into the Owner Reliability Score:

a. = 2

b. = 4

c. = 6

d. = 8

e. = 10

Keep in mind, owners may think their car is more or less reliable than it actually is. 

One potential problem is that people often buy the same make or model they are used to when they go car shopping, just a newer year.

Ford, for instance, has a number of consumer loyalty awards for the Ford F-Series, Ford Mustang, and Ford Expedition.

Car owners may be so loyal to the make or model they currently own that they would have trouble accurately comparing their cars’ reliability to others. 

It’s for this reason that we ask car owners a question that is relative to mileage rather than relative to other cars. 

Still, be mindful of the accuracy of these Owner Reliability Scores, people’s perceptions and unconscious blindspots can skew data. 

We suggest looking at both the FIXD Reliability Score and the Owner Reliability Score for this reason.

  • KBB Value: Average private-seller valuations as supplied by Kelley Blue Book (KBB), based on a Nissan Versa with typical mileage for that respective model year.
  • Fuel Economy: Mileage-per-gallon estimates according to the EPA MPG on Fueleconomy.gov
  • Annual Maintenance/Repair: Upkeep expenses as reported by surveyed Nissan Versa owners
  • Safety Rating: Crash test data collected and reported by NHTSA. We average all ratings for each year to come up with a simplified, average safety score. This makes it easier to look at on a graph.


  1. Nissan Versa model-specific information. Retrieved August 29, 2023, from https://www.edmunds.com/  
  2. Nissan Versa model-specific recall information. Retrieved August 29, 2023, from https://www.nhtsa.gov/recalls    
  3. Nissan Versa model-specific information. Retrieved August 29, 2023, from https://www.auto-brochures.com   
  4. Nissan Versa model-specific information. Retrieved August 29, 2023, from https://usa.nissannews.com/en-US 
Profile Picture of Niel Stender

Niel Stender grew up doing replacement work on his old Cherokee and sweet Mitsubishi Starion, which led to a degree in mechanical engineering and a job at Ford as a vehicle dynamics engineer. His writing infuses that automotive background with sales and marketing experience. Writing about cars for close to a decade now, he enjoys digging into some of the more technical mechanical systems under the hood and throughout a vehicle.

We’re here to help you simplify car care and save, so this post may contain affiliate links to help you do just that. If you click on a link and take action, we may earn a commission. However, the analysis and opinions expressed are our own.


About the Author

Niel Stender

Niel Stender

Niel Stender grew up doing replacement work on his old Cherokee and sweet Mitsubishi Starion, which led to a degree in mechanical engineering and a job at Ford as a vehicle dynamics engineer. His writing infuses that automotive background with sales and marketing experience. Writing about cars for close to a decade now, he enjoys digging into some of the more technical mechanical systems under the hood and throughout a vehicle.

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