Skip to main content

Before you even entertain a test drive of a used model Nissan Versa, you should know about some of the problems past Versa owners experienced. One of the best sources to find actual ownership issues of any vehicle is According to the reports collected, there is one model year for the Nissan Versa that should be avoided altogether.

Of course, every car has a problem or two here and there. But for this year, the Nissan Versa had some pretty significant complaints, most of which involved a particular problem that surfaced well before the 100,000-mile mark.

A new Nissan Versa might be best

Before you finalize the deal and pull the trigger on buying a used Nissan Versa, it’s worth considering a new 2020 model. New this year, the Versa has been completely redesigned and offers an improved interior and a new exterior style.

The engine is slightly more powerful than configurations past, and more safety features come standard for 2020. The hatchback variety is discontinued, but you’ll have plenty of extensive trunk space in the sedan.

The fuel economy is great, and Edmunds featured the Nissan Versa in its “Cheapest New Cars” article. Base, manual transmission models start just under $15,000 and auto transmission versions around $16,400, making the new Versa pretty affordable.

The model year with the highest number of complaints

If you’re set on finding a used model Nissan Versa, you might want to avoid a 2009 model. According to, 2009 logs the highest number of Versa owner complaints. There were several suspension related issues, involving broken coil springs and popping noises emitting from the front end.

The more prominent volume of reports concerns the defective Takata airbags, actually present on Nissan Versa models from 2007 through 2011. Nissan issued recalls for replacements of these faulty and potentially deadly airbags, but vehicle owners shared incidents of scheduling problems and repair at the dealership level, due to parts shortages. Despite the high numbers of reports for 2009, it’s still not the worst model year for the Versa.

The worst Nissan Versa model year of all

If you find a great little 2012 Nissan Versa, you may instead want to turn tail and reconsider. After weighing all the model years and numbers of complaints, it’s the model year that calls the worst of all.

Transmission failure reports are prevalent, and the only real solution meant replacing the CVT unit altogether. It was such a common issue that a class action lawsuit was brought against Nissan just late last year. It’s important to note that these CVT failures happened to owners of 2012 through 2017 model Versa cars too.

What makes this problem so severe?

What makes this transmission failure so severe is that it was occurring on average, around the 70,000-mile mark. Additionally, the cost of complete rebuild or replacement, according to Nissan Versa owners, is around $3,500.

Some people ended up scrapping their cars altogether. Even those who sought the assistance of relief provided by the class action lawsuit, filed in 2019, were left high and dry since their vehicles were older or had higher mileage than the benchmarks outlined in the suit. Limitations of seven years post-purchase and 84,000-miles disqualified many from seeking financial relief.

Buying a used car, especially a Nissan Versa, is generally a smart move. For the most part, they are great cars offering low cost of ownership and affordable purchase prices. But before you sign, be mindful of these past transmission troubles and even airbag recalls.

Or better yet, avoid those hassles altogether and go test drive a new Versa. You could save yourself thousands in potential repair costs and avoid the headaches of dealing with major maintenance issues.


Popular Cars That Lack Standard Safety Features