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2008 Nissan Versa MPG Review

Nissan Versa MPG-o-Matic Nissan Versa Review Summary: With solid real-world mileage results and a comfortable ride, the Nissan Versa is a worthy contender. After a 700 mile review, it’s clear that a 40 miles per gallon (MPG) average is well within range for light-footed drivers under the right conditions.

The Nissan Versa competes with the Honda Fit, Toyota Yaris, and Chevy Aveo, among others in the subcompact market. Available as both a four door sedan and a five-door liftback, the Versa slots in under the Sentra as the entry-level model in Nissan’s lineup.




Under the hood, the Versa is fitted with 1.8 liter DOHC four cylinder engine, producing 122 horsepower (HP) and 127 foot pounds of torque.

The official gas mileage estimates for the 2008 Versa are 27 city/33 highway MPG with the Xtronic CVT (continuously variable transmission) and 26/31 with the 6-speed manual transmission.

In over seven hundred miles of driving, we trumped the official estimates with our Magnetic Gray Charcoal five-door hatchback test unit, scoring an average of 38.9 MPG on the Interstate highway, with 34.3 MPG combined. Temperatures ranged from the sixties through seventies, with freeway speeds between 65 and 70 miles per hour (MPH).

The Versa takes well to a light foot. We easily achieved a good number of 40 MPG loops while driving at speeds of 55 and under. Put your foot in it, and the Versa will oblige, with an obligatory drop in mileage.

Unfortunately, the 2008 Versa lacks both an average fuel economy and a real-time MPG display. While the omission is puzzling in an economy car, Nissan is not alone in this respect. These mileage displays are a fantastic means to optimal fuel efficiency with a minimum of investment, yet too many vehicles lack the gauges.

As we often do when presented with a shortcoming in information display, we plugged a ScanGauge II into the Versa’s OBDII port before rolling up the miles. Note that we always verify the digital results with tank fills, to take any inconsistencies into account.

ScanGauge Hint: Driving with an eye on the real-time MPG and throttle position sensor (TPS) displays allow you to fine-tune your technique while applying the lightest pressure on the accelerator pedal.

The Versa provides iPod integration via an in-dash input jack, with a power plug on the center console, next to the handbrake. While you might be tempted to simply leave your iPod on the console, it’s a good idea to stow your music player in the the flip down center armrest’s cubby to prevent it from flying about the cabin.

Given the time and ingenuity, you’ll want to snake a cable through the console for a cleaner installation.

All-in-all, we found the Nissan Versa SL to be quite capable, with a slew of standard features, including tilt wheel, cruise control, 6-speaker audio with 6-disc in-dash, micro-filtered A/C, rear wiper, and power locks and windows.

Our Versa SL’s $650 convenience package rounded things out nicely, with keyless entry, and a leather-wrapped steering providing Bluetooth phone and audio controls.

Although our road tests showed the Versa’s gas mileage results to fall short of the segment topping Toyota Yaris, the Versa’s remarkably roomy and comfortable interior and supportive seating are bound to put it at the top of many a short list.

The Versa earns a well-deserved thumbs up.

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7 comments ↓

#1 Nissan Versa Gas Mileage on 10.28.08 at 7:39 am

[…] We recently spent a week with the Versa and found it to be quite comfortable for a compact car. Check out our Nissan Versa review: […]

#2 Nissan Sentra MPG Review on 02.03.09 at 9:46 pm

[…] Nissan Sentra Review Summary: . The Sentra slots in between the entry-level Versa and more stylish Altima in Nissan’s lineup. The Sentra is a well-proven commuter that takes it […]

#3 robert on 07.29.09 at 1:45 pm

excellent review. The versa is way under appreciated in the sub compact segment. Check out nissanversaforums.com to see what real owners of this fine automobile think. I got my 1.6 for under 12k brand new and I get 40mpg. No toyota or honda can touch that. Not to mention I can fit 5 adults comfortably.

#4 Richard on 02.19.10 at 3:33 am

I get over 40 mpg hiway (keep hiway speeds to about 60) in my 2001 Sentra w/ 1.8 & 5 sp. Have gotten over 45 mpg on western mountain up-n-down cruises. Would consider the Versa. Thanks for confirming my experience that the Nissans do much better than EPA when driven carefully. I am not sure but think this Versa is mechanically similar to the 2000-?07 Sentra. Same disp. engine., about the same curb weight, torsion beam suspension in back looks the same (took a quick look).

#5 Ron on 01.30.11 at 11:41 pm

My daughter drove a Versa rental and fell in love with it after wrecking her Hyundai. The visibility, roominess and ease of driving are amazing. She liked it so well she bought one last week. I drove it for the weekend and I am very impressed with the car. It is uber quiet for a little car. No wind noise whatsoever and a very quiet engine. Smooth as silk shifting. A very nice little car. I could happily drive one for normal around town driving. I wouldn’t really want to take one on a cross country marathon because the ride is just a bit choppy on rough roads, but on the highway it is amazingly smooth. You can do much worse than this car.

#6 gary on 09.05.11 at 3:46 pm

i enjoyed the review on the 2008 nissan versa but when you reviewed the interior, the only thing you reviewed was the bluetooth phone. you spent the entire video on it an nothing on the interior of the car–like do the rear seats spilt and fold flat you know suff people can really use… all you need to mention about the bluetooth is it has that capabilitiy. we know the rest.

#7 mpg-o-editor on 09.05.11 at 5:24 pm

@Gary – Many thanks for the feedback! All of our recent review go into more depth on interior features, including rear seat splits and fold-down. We’ve learned a bit in the years since the Versa review was shot (back in 2008). 🙂

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