2009 Nissan Versa

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$2,885–$8,473 Inventory Prices
Key Specs
Our Take
Road Test
Photos
Reviews
Safety & Recalls
Warranty & CPO
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Key Specs

of the 2009 Nissan Versa. Base trim shown.

  • Body Type:
  • Combined MPG:
    28-30 Combined MPG
  • Engine:
    107-hp, 1.6-liter I-4 (regular gas)
  • Drivetrain:
    Front-wheel Drive
  • Transmission:
    5-speed manual w/OD
  • View more specs

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Front-seat comfort
  • Big backseat for a small car
  • Ride quality
  • Nimbleness
  • Gas mileage
  • Visibility

The Bad

  • Smallish liftgate opening
  • Backseat doesn't fold flat
  • Steering wheel doesn't telescope
  • ABS is optional
  • Creaky interior in cool weather
  • No ultra-cheap hatchback version
2009 Nissan Versa exterior side view

Notable Features of the 2009 Nissan Versa

  • Hatchback or sedan
  • Choice of four-cylinder engines
  • Manual or automatic
  • Side curtain airbags
  • Optional Bluetooth connectivity

2009 Nissan Versa Road Test

Mike Hanley

The Nissan Versa hatchback body-type was among the wave of affordable new small cars that hit the U.S. a few years ago. I tested a 2009 hatchback (a sedan is also available), and it's clearly aged pretty well. It offers some of the best interior space in its class, features decent performance and gas mileage, and has a low starting price. The Versa does have a few quirks when it comes to hitting the utility threshold that hatchbacks are expected to cross, but on the whole the Versa's positives outweigh its negatives, making it an appealing choice for practical-minded small-car shoppers.

 

The Driving Experience
The Nissan Versa isn't exceptional in any way, but it's acceptable in most regards. My test model featured the optional continuously variable automatic transmission (a manual and a conventional auto are also available), and it gives the hatchback the best estimated gas mileage of the three transmissions, with a rating of 27/33 mpg city/highway.


It might take some time to get used to the characteristics of the CVT, which doesn't have the defined shift points of a conventional auto. However, the transmission is responsive and can increase engine rpm quickly when more power is needed, or keep engine speed down when cruising at a constant speed for better efficiency and less engine noise.

The 
Nissan Versa's small size is really an asset if you regularly drive on congested roads. You can make quick lane changes when a spot opens up in traffic, and the car ...

The Nissan Versa hatchback body-type was among the wave of affordable new small cars that hit the U.S. a few years ago. I tested a 2009 hatchback (a sedan is also available), and it's clearly aged pretty well. It offers some of the best interior space in its class, features decent performance and gas mileage, and has a low starting price. The Versa does have a few quirks when it comes to hitting the utility threshold that hatchbacks are expected to cross, but on the whole the Versa's positives outweigh its negatives, making it an appealing choice for practical-minded small-car shoppers.

 

The Driving Experience
The Nissan Versa isn't exceptional in any way, but it's acceptable in most regards. My test model featured the optional continuously variable automatic transmission (a manual and a conventional auto are also available), and it gives the hatchback the best estimated gas mileage of the three transmissions, with a rating of 27/33 mpg city/highway.


It might take some time to get used to the characteristics of the CVT, which doesn't have the defined shift points of a conventional auto. However, the transmission is responsive and can increase engine rpm quickly when more power is needed, or keep engine speed down when cruising at a constant speed for better efficiency and less engine noise.

The 
Nissan Versa's small size is really an asset if you regularly drive on congested roads. You can make quick lane changes when a spot opens up in traffic, and the car offers good over-the-shoulder visibility in addition to wide-open forward views.


Like a lot of front-wheel small cars, this 
Nissan's suspension has a firm ride, but it's more forgiving on rougher roads than a Honda Fit Sport. Because more focus is on fuel economy, they tend to have smaller wheel and tire sizes with a higher tire-pressure, which can stiffen up the ride. When the pavement smoothes out, it cruises quite comfortably; its body motions mimic those of a larger car, and body roll is kept in check. While the steering is responsive, it's not as dialed-in as the Fit's. That's fine if you're considering the Versa as your commuter car, but what's not so good is that the steering wheel doesn't telescope.


To be sure, many other small hatchbacks don't offer a telescoping wheel either, but if you're a taller driver you may find yourself wanting one in this car; when positioned at a comfortable arm's length from the steering wheel, I was too close to the pedals. When I was far enough away from the pedals, I had to reach forward for the steering wheel. With a telescoping wheel, my odds of finding a happy medium would've been much better.

There's also something not quite right with the 
Nissan Versa's braking response. When coming to a slow stop, the brakes provide linear performance, but under hard braking they're a little grabby and you end up making stops that aren't as smooth as you'd like.

Cabin Space & Comfort
The Nissan Versa is a good example of efficient packaging. Looking at its small exterior, you might think it wouldn't be suitable for adults to ride in the front, let alone the back, but that's not the case. It's notably longer than the Toyota Yaris four-door hatchback and Fit, and Nissan puts the extra size to use by offering a lot more backseat legroom than either of those models. Kia's new boxy Soul, however, offers even more backseat space even though it's significantly shorter than the Versa.

Compact Hatchbacks Compared*
  Honda Fit Kia Soul Nissan Versa Toyota Yaris four-door
Base price $14,750 $13,300 $13,110 $13,305
Length 161.6 161.6 169.1 150.6
Width 66.7 70.3 66.7 66.7
Height 60 63.4 60.4 60.2
Front legroom 41.3 42.1 41.4 40.3
Front headroom 40.4 40.2 40.6 39.4
Rear legroom 34.5 39 38 33.8
Rear headroom 39 39.6 38.3 37.9
Cargo volume, seats up (cu. ft.) 20.6 23.7** 17.8 9.3
Cargo volume, seats down (cu. ft.) 57.3 53.4 50.4 25.7
Max. mpg (city/highway) 28/35 26/31 27/33 29/36
*All measurements in inches, except where noted.
**Without cargo tray; 19.3 cubic feet with it.

 

The Versa's manually adjustable driver's seat includes a height adjustment in more expensive SL trim levels, a worthwhile feature that can't be found in all cars in this class, and the bucket-style cloth seats offer soft cushioning. The two hatchback trim options are the Nissan Versa S and the Nissan Versa SL, which both come with a 1.8-L.

As the numbers above show, backseat legroom is generous — it's similar to what the 2009 Toyota Camry offers — and your back will like the reclined seatback. This little Nissan's bench seat isn't adjustable like those in the Fit and Yaris, but the Versa's backseat comfort ranks higher overall thanks to its extra legroom.

 

Cargo
The Nissan Versa has generous cargo room; it measures 17.8 cubic feet behind the backseat, and that figure grows to 50.4 cubic feet when you fold it down. People looking for maximum utility, however, might be disappointed by a few things.


The first is the size of the hatch opening. The lower part between the taillights isn't very wide, and that might make it difficult to load wide items in the back of this Nissan hatchback. The Fit, in comparison, has a large, low opening that's ideal for loading.

The other issue with the 
Nissan Versa's cargo space becomes evident when you fold down the backseat. Both the Fit and Yaris are available with flat-folding backseats, which allows you to slide long boxes, for instance, into the cargo area. In the Versa, meanwhile, there's a large ledge (it's about 6 inches high) when the backseat is folded. Though that's likely not a deal-breaker for everyone, it's significant when you take into account what competing models offer.

Versa in the Market
With its low starting price, good gas mileage and room for a small family, the Nissan Versa hatchback, without a doubt, is a good value. If you're willing to sacrifice some utility of the up-trim SL model for even greater affordability, the base version of the Nissan Versa sedan comes in just under $10,000. For a new car these days, that's unreal.

Send Mike an email  

 


2009 Versa Video

Cars.com's Mike Hanley takes a look at the 2009 Nissan Versa. It competes with the Toyota Yaris and Honda Fit.

Latest 2009 Versa Stories

What Drivers Are Saying

Exterior Styling
(4.2)
Performance
(4.1)
Interior Design
(4.0)
Comfort
(4.3)
Reliability
(4.3)
Value For The Money
(4.5)

Latest Reviews

(4.0)

Great daily driver

by Dsc1596 from Norwich, NY on April 10, 2018

This car is inexpensive, but reliable. It won't win any speed contests, but it will get one from point a to point b. I have the standard transmission version, and couldn't be happier with it, as it is... Read full review

(4.0)

Nice car for the money

by Coopman from Racine, WI on April 5, 2018

This car is very basic, just what my son needed. I test drove it for him and was impressed on how fun it was (5 speed manual trans.). It is a plain car, not very many options on the one I drove, but ... Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2009 Nissan Versa currently has 6 recalls

IIHS Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2009 Nissan Versa 1.6 Base

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
good
Overall Rear
good
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
good

Moderate overlap front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
acceptable
Left Leg/Foot
good
Overall Front
good
Restraints
good
Right Leg/Foot
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Side

Driver Head Protection
good
Driver Head and Neck
good
Driver Pelvis/Leg
acceptable
Driver Torso
acceptable
Overall Side
good
Rear Passenger Head Protection
good
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
good
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
good
Rear Passenger Torso
good
Structure/safety cage
acceptable
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

Manufacturer Warranty

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    36 months / 36,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    60 months / 60,000 miles

CPO Program & Warranty

Certified Pre-Owned by Nissan

Program Benefits

24 Hour Emergency Roadside Assistance, Towing Assistance, Trip Interruption Benefits, 3-month free subscription to SiriusXM Satellite Radio on properly equipped vehicles, Complimentary CARFAX® Vehicle History Report™ and 3-Year CARFAX® Buy Back Guarantee

  • Limited Warranty

    7 years / 100,000 miles

    7-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty from original in-service date; $50 deductible
  • Eligibility

    Under 6 years / 80,000 miles

    Vehicles receive a 167 point inspection and reconditioning.

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Versa received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker