2021 Nissan Versa Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Brakes & windshield issues are among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

The Nissan Versa, launched in the U.S. in 2006 (as the 2007 model) is one of the most affordable cars available today. It is also one of only a few subcompact cars that are manufactured for the North American market. Since those early days, it has remained a popular option for young car buyers.

Known as the Nissan Pulsar and Tilda in other markets, it was named Versa in the U.S. because Nissan wanted to emphasize the versatile space it provides. While compact, it has a relatively spacious interior and a range of cargo configurations. But there are problems.

The original 2007 model was tested by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for safety. These tests involve measuring the risk of rollover as well as frontal and side crashes. Of these, only the side crash tests got a full 5-star rating. The two frontal crash and rollover tests only received 4 stars. These ratings remain the same for the 2021 Versa.

According to public figures, sales of the Versa peaked in 2015 at 144,528. But since then they have been declining, and the 2021 figures (at $60,913) are a lot lower than the 2006/2007 figures (22,044 + 79,443). It is interesting to note that the safety ratings for the 2015 model are worse than the 2007 and 2015 models. The rollover and overall side crash rating is 4 stars, while the overall frontal crash rating is only 3 stars.

Click on other model year to view more problems: 2019   2020


With 6 complaints so far to NHTSA about the 2021 Versa, we had a look at the NHTSA records from 2007 and 2015. There are 347 complaints on file for the original model. Of these, 20 were submitted from October 2006, when the first model was launched, through 2007. There have been 8 recalls and 2 NHTSA investigations, one of which is still open.

A total of 154 complaints are on file for the highest-selling 2015 model, 19 made in 2015 and 4 in 2014. There is 1 recall and 2 investigations, one (still open) is the same as that pending for the 2007 model.

Another way of assessing potential problems is to look at manufacturer communications and technical service bulletins. These are sent to manufacturers to warn and advise about problems, faults, malfunctions, and so on. By law, they must provide copies to NHTSA.

There are 68 manufacturer communications lodged with NHTSA for the 2007 model and 129 for the 2015 model. There are already 31 on file with NHTSA for the new 2021 model.

Airbag problems top the list of communications for 2007, while there are more electrical system issues for the 2015 and 2021 models.

Most Common Problems

When car owners lodge complaints they state which of the NHTSA categories or affected components their problems relate to. The complaints made so far for the 2021 Nissa Versa are in 6 categories, but 2 of them, Visibility/Wiper and Airbags are referenced by 2 complaints. The other categories are Engine, Service Brakes, Steering, and Unknown or Other.

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2021 Nissan Versa Complaint Summary

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Air Bags
Unknown Or Other
Power Train
Service Brakes
Air Bags:side/window
Electrical System
Electrical System:adas

Brake Problems

There is only 1 complaint that refers to brake problems. But it is a serious one that resulted in a crash and injuries to the driver.

The Nissan Versa was a rental vehicle and the driver stated, “I almost lost my life.” And he was charged an extra rental day because “I was told to await a call.” At the time of the complaint, he was stuck in Florida and unable to get home.

While driving, he had noticed a car in front that didn’t have brake lights on, had stopped, and wasn’t moving. He wanted to brake, but “I had no brakes. I pushed (the brakes) again and turned right.” He was within inches from hitting a gas pump when he stopped. He says “thankfully” he only had “bumps and bruises.”

There is no certainty what the problem was, but the complaint states it may be “a master cylinder problem or (a) bolt in steering.”

Problems with the Windshield

Both visibility complaints relate to the windshield. One reports that on a very frosty morning, the driver started the 2021 Versa “to defrost the windshield and warm up before work. After finishing up inside, I hopped into my car and noticed a crack RIGHT AWAY!!! IT STARTED AT THE VERY TOP WHERE THE DEFROST STARTS and has now traveled through the middle towards the bottom.”

The dealership identified this as “a stress fracture.”

As a result, the complaint calls for a recall and says that there “needs to be a recall on the windshields of other models too… like my daughter’s 2020 Rogue. Hers did the same thing!”

The other visibility complaint and another both relate to windshield tinting.

One states that the dealer-installed tinting, “Causes severe distortion/refraction on rear windshield during night driving, making it impossible to determine where the cars are behind me.”

The other reports that the night after taking delivery of the vehicle, and driving at night, there was “severe rear windshield refraction/distortion.” There were “multiple headlight reflections for every car behind” and the driver was “unable to safely determine where cars are behind my vehicle.”

The response from the dealership was that it is “a manufacturer’s defect and I would just have to get used to it. No one can safely drive at night when their rear view looks like this.”

The service manager’s solution is “to remove the dealer-installed tint today to see if that fixes this problem.” This, the complaint states, is clearly “a manufacturer defect.”

Engine Problems

The engine problem is that a “pretty new” car with less than 6,000 miles on the clock is losing coolant.

“It was near the ‘max’ mark on the reservoir when I purchased brand new, and now it is riding on the ‘min’ mark. I have been checking my fluids and such, occasionally, since the day I bought it, and have watched it progressively go lower. In comparison, I have a 20-year-old pickup truck that I personally replaced a head gasket on over a year ago and it holds coolant better than this brand new Versa. I wouldn’t be surprised if other new Versa owners are experiencing the same issue. I’m doubtful the dealership will do anything quick to fix it.”

What to do if your 2021 Nissan Versa is a lemon? Your Lemon Rights

Complaints don’t necessarily indicate that a car is a lemon. But if you experience persistent problems that cannot be resolved, you may have bought a lemon. If so, contact Lemberg Law and we will assess your problems.

We are experienced lemon law attorneys and negotiated many settlements for car owners. If you do have a lemon, legal action won’t cost you anything because the law says Nissan must pay.


Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 30 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

See more posts from Brian Jones
  • Sarah B

    During rain and drizzle, water enters the vehicle even when the windows are closed. The front and rear passenger side footwells are wet, wet, wet. My 2017 Nissan Versa Note is among many Nissan Versas whose owners have experienced the same problem, and whose stories appear online. The water that flows down the windshield enters a “gutter” that is not draining properly. Several mechanics were unwilling to begin to address the problem. The mechanic currently working on the car is encountering many challenges. Then there is the problem of getting ALL the water out of the footwells.

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