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Dwindling numbers in the subcompact sedan segment indicate that potential buyers are moving toward crossovers. However, the smallest vehicle category is the right one for starting MSRPs well below $20,000. This year, the Nissan Versa is the cheapest subcompact sedan on sale, beginning just under the $16,000 mark. But will it be a reliable car, or will the bills start to add up down the road?

2023 Nissan Versa specs

Despite its low price, the Versa isn’t a bare-bones car. The base Versa S—for $15,830 without destination fees—is stocked with an intuitive seven-inch infotainment touchscreen but doesn’t feature Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity, per Nissan. However, it does have voice recognition with a hands-free text message assistant.

The 1.6-liter four-cylinder under the hood won’t impress anyone with just 122 horsepower and 114 pounds-feet of torque. Yet, Nissan includes a welcome hill start assist for pulling out of a parking spot on an incline or decline. That’s excellent news for those living in cities relegated to parallel parking and picking the cheapest subcompact sedans because of higher rent prices. On the safety side, the base Versa boasts forward collision warning, lane departure warning, and others.

Is the cheapest subcompact sedan reliable?

Most believe the cheaper the car, the less one gets in reliability. But drivers will likely spend much less time at the mechanic with Versa over a Lamborghini. Excessive comparisons aside, the 2023 Nissan Versa is likely the most reliable of the subcompact sedan bunch.

J.D. Power gives the 2023 Nissan Versa a quality and reliability rating of 82 out of 100. It’s rated four points lower than this year’s Kia Rio. However, owner reports show that potential buyers may be able to hedge their bets with problems down the road. CarComplaints tracks more issues over the past five production years with the Rio than 2023’s cheapest subcompact sedan.

The Versa has been devoid of owner complaints for the past three model years. Going back to 2017, only minor issues plague the car. For instance, the speedometer being slightly off, phone connectivity issues, and loose hub caps.

What’s the average repair bill for a Nissan Versa?

Fortunately, on the rare occasion the Versa needs to go into the shop, it’s inexpensive. RepairPal says the annual repair cost for the current third-generation Versa is $456. That’s bang-on average for subcompact cars and nearly $200 less compared to the median for all vehicle models. Subsequently, the auto repair analytics outlet gives the cheapest subcompact sedan four out of five stars for reliability.

Should you buy a Nissan Versa?

The 2023 Nissan Versa is a reliable car and the cheapest subcompact sedan
2023 Nissan Versa SR | Nissan

Capable of 40 mpg combined and a fairly roomy 15 cubic-foot trunk, the Versa packages practicality in a small footprint. The NHTSA (National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration) gave Nissan’s cheapest subcompact sedan a five-star crash safety rating, albeit four stars in a few areas. Nevertheless, the Versa’s bevy of standard safety features will help quell concerns.

Even if potential buyers want to spec up their Versa, three trim levels are available. The mid-range SV and top-tier SR succeed the base S, but neither top $20,000 before Nissan adds the destination fee.


Is the 2023 Nissan Versa Really the Best Car for the Money?